As If Today Were Yesterday

Leftover soup and cheesy omelette

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.

17 thoughts on “As If Today Were Yesterday

  1. Guilty of this.
    All. the. time.

    You consistently make me want to take up yoga because I think it would do my body and my brain a favor. I think maybe I’ll finally look into it. You win.

  2. One thing that drives me absolutely mad is the differences in both sides of my body in tree pose. My right ride is so much more organic and open – I’m able to comfortably place my foot on my inner thigh. But my left side? Ugh. I have to force my foot up there and 9 times out of 10, the foot ends up on my calf. It’s frustrating. But, you’re right, I have to take it for what it’s worth, appreciate myself for what I did do, and move forward. It’s just so easy to get caught up in the ‘game’ as you called it.

    • same. pigeon on my right side is frigging fantastic. i slide into that sucker like buttah. left side? agony. my reaction (which is the opposite of the solution) is to avoid it on the left side. this, of course, only makes it worse. so i have to be really intentional about spending time with my janky left side.

  3. Love this post/ your blog in general! I don’t comment often, but I really relate to you and I always love your insightful posts

  4. loving this. that’s the thing about ashtanga that i love and struggle with the most. always different, sometimes beautiful. sometimes shitty. often reflecting things i don’t necessarily want to see. But your point rings so true. hope you get some rest after this TT weekend!

  5. Oh my gosh! I had a ridiculously good practice today (for me) and tomorrow night it could go that way, or I could be screwed up in the most simple pose. Just need to learn to accept it, BUT it’s hard sometimes! Thanks lady for writing this!

  6. Thank you for this post girl! I am so guilty of living in the past, I am a nostalgia-addict and need to be reminded that today is today and that is a good thing.

  7. “But I just took the practice for what it was.”

    I need to insert anything for ‘practice’ and start living this out.

  8. Pingback: Eleven things « alli learns life

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