To practice or not to practice…

We all have days that we just don’t feel up to an asana practice. We’re tired, overwhelmed, have a headache, too busy, etc. Sometimes we just need to honor our bodies, respect our busy schedules and spend that time doing something else. On these days, we find our yoga practice in deep breaths, mindfulness, and compassionate thoughts for ourselves and those around us.

I have a hard time determining these days from the regular old “blah” days. I came very close to skipping my yoga class Monday night. I felt bad and wanted to veg out on the couch instead. In fact, the only reason I ended up going is because I don’t have much of a home practice these days, and I didn’t want to wait an entire extra week to get some quality practice in.

On Mondays I only have about 45 minutes between getting home from work and leaving for yoga, and in that time I have to change clothes, make and eat some semblance of a meal, and take out my dogs.

So Monday night, once I resolved that I would not skip class, I carved out 20 minutes of my getting ready time to recline on the couch and close my eyes. It wasn’t extremely relaxing what with the dogs chasing each other around the house and the neighbor mowing his yard. But it was as close to meditation as I get. Amazingly, once the 20 minutes was up, I felt much better. Refreshed, and ready for class.

I was happy that I went to class on Monday, but the night could have just as easily gone the other way. In fact, if it weren’t for my stubborn pride, I might have skipped yoga in favor of the couch and a book. Would I have felt guilty? Perhaps, but maybe not.

I try to avoid practicing out of a sense of “duty”, and I don’t ever want to guilt myself onto the mat. I feel that’s a great way to start resenting yoga. But it’s hard to distinguish between being too tired for a practice and being so tired I need to practice.

Any tips?



4 responses to “To practice or not to practice…

  1. I’m not sure about tips, but I definitely know the feeling of dragging yourself to class when you could just sit at home being lazy and vegging out. (Like, this morning). But, I have never dragged myself to class and thought to myself during it, “Damn I wish I was at home lazing on my couch”. I always forget the inward struggle I had once I get there.

  2. I often feel that way when I get up to do my morning practice. My general rule is to get on my mat and start to practice – usually after a few minutes I feel better. However on the rare occasion when I feel worse, then I switch to a restorative practice or stop practicing.

    I find the trick is to let my body tell me what’s right, not my mind!

  3. I don’t really know how to distinguish, I just feel it, mind vs body really. Example: I have yoga classes on Tuesday, right after work, the studio is 10 mns away from the office. Sometimes I don’t feel like going, after a hard day, but I go and usually feel better, because I can feel it would just be laziness speaking.
    Then yesterday evening I wanted to practice at home, but I’d had a headache all day and I could feel I just needed some rest and I didn’t force. I know I did what was best for me at the time and I don’t feel guilty at all.

  4. Unless I’m actually sick or having a major fibro flare up I get on my mat. Within a few minutes I know whether I need the practice or not. If it’s a “not” day or a fibro flare up day I practice Yoga Nidra or meditation instead. I am always surprised at how much Yoga Nidra helps pain. Although I probably shouldn’t be surprised, it’s pretty amazing!!!

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