Reality check

One day last week, I promised myself that at the end of a very long workday, I would roll out my yoga mat and practice online with one of my favorite teachers from afar. 

The class started at 6pm. At 6:12pm, I was still writing emails. Did I mention the thing about the workday? Yeah, a doozy. 

I know that any practice is better than no practice, though, so I persisted in my goal to make it happen.

This month, I’m filling in for a colleague in my “day job”, and basically doing two full-time jobs with one body, one brain, and only 24 hours in a day. If you’re thinking that the math doesn’t add up, you’d be correct. Math has never been my forté, though. 

Because the class was online and therefore there’s no such thing as “late,” I logged off of email and onto the mat, and spent the remaining 48 minutes (math!! Seeee, self-doubt is a liar…) of class in somewhat this fashion:

— stretch, bathroom break
— warrior 1, warrior 2, respond to child who can’t find her water bottle
— tree pose, check on dinner in oven when timer goes off
— deep breath, now where’s my water bottle???

You get the idea. It was a far cry from the zen-drenched “happy hour” I had promised myself 12 hours prior. At first, I was so irritated. It wasn’t how I wanted things to be. I wanted a different yoga practice. Then, I came to terms with a fact:

This is the practice I got today. 

We have a choice in moments like that. One, we can silently fume while engaging in a mental feud with reality, enjoying zero moments of zen along the way. Or, we can silently repeat the words of meditation teacher Tara Brach to yourself – “This is how it is right now,” – and find a drizzle of zen despite being on a mat that feels more like a pogo stick than a magic carpet of peaceful bliss. 

You know when they say that yoga is a practice on and off the mat? It’s moments like this on the mat that infuse those later moments off of it. 

“This is how it is right now.” Understanding the power of that “radical acceptance” (Tara’s words) isn’t the same as liking it. But if you want to change it, you’ll have lots more energy for doing that if you aren’t debating whether it should exist or not. 

It just does — right now, at least, 

Just when you think you’re not really having a “real practice,” it hits you that there isn’t a practice that isn’t real. On top of that, you always get exactly the one that you need — right now. 

Photo credit: Michelle Azevedo

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