goals vs. obligation

At the beginning of the month, I set out a few goals for myself.  I wanted to do this for a few reasons:

1. To take my meditation practice more seriously

2. To experiment with monthly goals

3. To give myself a 30-day yoga challenge and keep up my practice during a 10-day vacation

I’m almost to the end of the month, and I feel good about how I’ve done.  I’ve only missed a few days of meditation and yoga, and these were days with hectic or strange schedules.

I thought that having a reason to practice yoga every day would deepen my practice.  I sort of thought it would bring me to a whole different level of enlightenment, drastically improve my yoga practice, and make me the most badass yogi ever.  But….none of that really happened. 

In reality, yoga began to feel like more of a chore than a gift.  Since I already practiced between 5 and 7 times per week, I realize now that I didn’t need this “challenge”.  While there were many times that I feel like I definitely would have skipped my practice had it not been for my monthly goal, and it was a helpful tool to keep my practice up during vacation, it simply turned yoga into one more obligation.

This past tuesday, I had a really difficult Ashtanga practice.  The kind of practice where your mind and your body want to quit the whole. damn. time.  I couldn’t figure out why something I loved so much had become so difficult.  And then, at some point during the day, I read the following quote:

“Let your heart move you to participation”

I realized then that yoga should be something I do because I want to do it.  I would rather skip a few classes each month than feel like yoga is an obligation.

This morning, I went back to Ashtanga.  I had overslept my alarm, so I only had about an hour and ten minutes to practice.  But I went in there with no expectations, and kept repeating to myself, “Life is good.”  I realized that I wanted to be there.  I was grateful for my practice.  And I was there on my own accord.

I think that goal setting is a fantastic tool.  Meditating daily has been difficult, but I am so happy that I set it as a goal.  And it’s nice to have ways to track your progress and reward yourself for accomplishments on a monthly basis.  For now, however, the number of times per week that I practice is going to stay off that list.

I love it when you write to me.

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