“I never have enough time to meditate, I can only fit in yoga once or twice a week or there is no way to find peace and harmony at home, my house is complete chaos!” These are a few of the many justifications for procrastinating or altogether skipping our meditation and yoga practice. For some (like me) over scheduling ourselves is the main reason for self neglect. I sometimes think, ‘What might happen if I had a free moment to just be?’ Then out of fear of the unknown, I quickly schedule yet another “thing” or another hobby to occupy my time.
At a yoga workshop I recently attended, the instructor mentioned her hobbies were getting in the way of living life fully. I resonated with her comment and looked at the many hobbies which fill my life through a different lens. A question I asked myself and urge others to ask, ‘What hobbies are contributing to a sense of happiness and well being? What hobbies are distracting me from achieving a sense of happiness and well being?’ The answers may be revealing.
Over scheduling can lead us to over commit ourselves. It can happen at work, home, or in our social lives. Saying, ‘yes’ to yet another committee, or enrolling a child in track while basketball practice overlaps for four weeks happens to a lot of us. It isn’t until we find ourselves tired, sick, and emotionally and physically drained before we realize we’ve been going 100 mph for weeks and weeks (or possibly months and months). For our bodies and minds to stay in balance, our bodies surrender and all-but shut down. We become sick in bed for three or more days or worse, sick and at work, zombie-like staring into our computer screens hoping it will bring us a bed, a pillow, and a shorter to-do list.
For others, putting off the act of looking inward during a daily practice is reduced down to one short phrase, “I’ll do it later”. But when we put ourselves last on the priority list, later doesn’t usually come. Procrastination leads to stress which leads to self-sabotage and often unhappiness.
In my own life, I have fallen victim to both and sometimes in the same day! After each occurrence I have noticed that I am more irritable, reactive and snappy to those I love. I am also much more likely to make impulsive decisions.
A few years ago I was caught in life’s strong current. I ended up over worked and less in-control than I prefer to be. After day-dreaming of the life I would have liked to be living, I decided I needed a dog. I wanted to be the type of person who left work for lunch to walk their dog or left work early to tend to their dog’s needs. That day after work I went straight to the animal shelter and promptly adopted a dog. With nothing more than a freebie leash from the shelter and a day and a half worth of food, I took the dog home. As one might have guessed, just because I had a dog at home didn’t magically give me more time or help me create the life I wanted. I was still me, with the same job and same commitments, except now I had a dog which sat home alone for 10-12 hours a day. Not exactly the best impulsive choice.
So, how do we end this cycle of justification and begin to practice daily? A good dose of perseverance and steadiness will aid us in our efforts in becoming awakened individuals while getting us to a place in our lives where we can achieve our goals. Stop with the excuses, the “I don’t have time” and the “I’ll do it later” and as Nike put it in the 90’s, “Just Do It’. Just do it and do it everyday- On the daily.
This doesn’t mean one has to do a 90 minute practice every day or wake up at 4:30 am to ensure enough time is spent meditating. Start with seven minutes a day. Stretch for three minutes, breath for four minutes, and repeat the following day. Then, after feeling comfortable with the amount of time, build to 10 minutes, then 14 minutes (for more ideas on creating an at-home practice click here).
Recently, a friend of mine told me she likes to meditate in bed when she wakes up in the morning. Under the warm covers is a wonderful place to tap into the present moment while focusing on the movement of the breath and stillness of the body. Whatever way one finds works best, go with it. There is only one rule to practicing yoga and meditation, JUST DO IT!
Want to share how you practice every day? Leave a comment. When do you practice? Where do you practice? How much time do you spend practicing?
Also, friend me on the Insight Timer App to see how and when I practice (usually every day from 6:30-7:00 am)
Caitlin in Hailey, Idaho
Slogan: We are all one.
*The dog was only with me for eight months. She was adopted by a newly retired couple who hike and bike each day with her. I still see her every once in awhile on a popular in-town hiking trail.