I’m finding it so much harder to practice the yamas and niyamas when I’m run-down.
Translation: It’s hard to not be bitchy when I’m tired.
I’ve always been very aware of my body; I know almost exactly how much sleep I need, what foods make me feel lethargic or those I am intolerant to, and how much physical activity I need to feel good. Part of the reason I pay attention is that I’m quite sensitive to some foods, many medications, sleep deprivation, alcohol and other people’s energy. So to try to feel my best each day, I like to plan. Some friends would call me Type A. Others, like my more spontaneous friends, just roll their eyes at me when I ask them what their “plan” is for the day, the week, or the month. (As Sam would say, “I don’t even know what day of the week it is. How am I supposed to plan tomorrow?”). Although I’ve become a lot more laid back in my later 20’s, allowing myself to be more spontaneous, I also notice that as I age, I’m becoming even more sensitive to certain things.
Usually, I need about nine (yes, I said nine) hours of sleep a night to feel normal. On the two days a week that I teach a 6 a.m. class, I lose two or three of those hours. I feel great all morning long, but come the afternoon, I either need to nap or go to bed really early. When I’m not able to make up that sleep, like yesterday, when I opted instead to spend time with a friend (totally worth it), I feel awful the next day – partly like I have a hangover (which I don’t) and partly like I’m getting sick (which I’m not). When I’m not feeling up to par, I find it difficult to stick to my yogi principles.
I worked at the front desk of my yoga studio today (feeling so yucky that it was apparent to my coworkers) and interacted with many people. While it wasn’t difficult to speak warmly and smile outwardly with clients, I found it difficult to keep negative thoughts out of my mind. Why is it that when I feel tired, I am less accepting and compassionate than when I feel good? On a good day, I can almost always find compassion, even on the freeway (oh Lydia, you’d be so proud), but on a tired day like today, I take out all my yucky-feeling frustration on the Ford Wind Star driving five miles under the speed limit.
Obviously, I need to try harder. On one hand, I want to feel my best each day, and to do that takes some planning. On the other hand, I want to feel like I have the option to be spontaneous with what I eat, who I spend time with, and what my activities are. What is the balance between feeling great, meeting your responsibilities and being spontaneous? I don’t have the answer today. All I can promise is that when I’m tired, I’ll do what I can to keep the mental monsters from finding their way out through my words and actions.
From time to time, I’ll offer some (very) home-made videos on certain sequences or postures I’m working on, are having lots of fun with, or are especially challenging to me. Here, I was playing around with Taraksvasana A in my living room. My back has a long way to go, and I know I need to work on jumping into handstands, but I had fun during this play time.