Yesterday I had one of the best ashtanga practices of my life. Granted, my life and ashtanga have only crossed paths for the last eight months or so… So let’s just cool it for a hot second on the hyperbole and say I simply felt good, really good. I felt strong and graceful and empowered and humbled and all those great emotions that come up on a really good day of yoga. [On a side note, the night before I consumed an entire bottle of wine and three snickerdoodle blondies. And half a bag of tortilla chips. Noted.]
Today… Ohhh, today. Today I was grumpy. I felt tight and weak and (while I realize nothing could be more obnoxious than a skinny girl complaining about her body…) squishy. I jacked up my right shoulder and had to baby step my way through the series. I couldn’t remember anything, couldn’t get into a groove and, honestly, couldn’t care less about practicing with any ounce of integrity. It was so lame.
The problem with comparing two different yoga practices or two different yoga postures or, hell, the same posture on two different sides of your body is that we start to build connections and draw conclusions from one to the other that simply do not apply. Basically, what happens on one day or in one pose or on one side of our body leads us to create expectations for the next day or the next pose or the next side. And this is a slippery slope because it sets us up for disappointment or, on the other hand, leads us to set the bar too low as a means of self preservation.
If “we operate as if today were yesterday” (this concept is a random quote scribbled in my teacher training journal and I assume it’s from What the Bleep, but I don’t know…) we bring a whole lot of baggage in the form of expectations and assumptions that obstruct our view of what’s really happening right now. (The same can be said about operating as if today were tomorrow. I tend to be more guilty of this than dwelling on the past.) The baggage can be good positive stuff like, “Hell to the yes I had THE best practice yesterday so today will be equally amazing.” But then it it’s not. Or it can be bad stuff like, “I had a shit practice today so tomorrow will be equally as shitty.”
It’s not just yoga either. People play this game all the time…
The last time I was vulnerable I got burned so I’ll just build up walls.
The last time I asked for a promotion I didn’t get it so I won’t ask this time.
The last time I was with him he was completely disinterested so he probably still is.
The last time I tried I failed so I won’t try again.
So what was really happening today was that I didn’t get enough sleep last night. I am fuh-reaking out about a massive microbiology exam I have to study for to the tune of about eight chapters and 300 pages of material. I am all up in my head about a boy. My house is a disaster. My shoulder hurts. Blah blah blah. White girl problems.
The point, though, is that a day like today with silly little non-problems like these doesn’t look so bad in isolation. But when I come at it all, “Yesterday I could do this and yesterday I felt that and yesterday yesterday yesterday” then, yeah, comparatively it kind of sucked.
So stop comparing, right? Stop operating as if today were yesterday. Today is today. This is it. This is everything.
I’m happy to report the day turned around. Perhaps I didn’t point out that this was a teacher training weekend so I was at the studio all night Friday, all day Saturday and all day today. After my shit morning practice, I was grateful for another opportunity on the mat in the afternoon. So happy, in fact, that I started crying the second my forehead hit the ground for our first child’s pose.
Nothing about my day had changed from 8am to 2pm. I still had a bitch of an exam to worry about. My kitchen sink was still full of dishes. I was still all up in my head. My shoulder still hurt. But I just took the practice for what it was. And what it was was gorgeous.