Excuses, Excuses

You probably think that all yoga teachers are active yoga practitioners; that we all do 2 hours daily, kick off our mornings with headstands, and put our feet behind our head whenever the mood hits us. Not really. We, just like you, need a little extra motivation sometimes. We, just like you, make excuses.

And I’m no exception. So let’s just come clean: in the last couple of months, I’ve made more excuses to avoid doing my own regular yoga practice than I care to think about. Things like, “I’ve got too much to do,” “I need to focus on my clients,” “the classes don’t fit my schedule/are too long/cost too much,” “I don’t know if I’ll like the teacher, music, etc.” or, how about this novelty: “I am exhausted.”

In other words, I’d made a decision about my resources: conserve instead of use. Save my money for other things, save those hours, sleep longer instead of sweat more (sometimes necessary, but on a regular basis, not helpful). Even worse, I rationalized away the real reasons, like entrepreneur financial fears, inefficient time-management, and staying up stupidly late because I just had to multitask paperwork and Grey’s Anatomy. Well, you know the end result of letting fatigue – or anything else – be your excuse for not taking care of your temple? In a word: nothing.

Nothing happens. Nothing changes. Nothing gets better.  The truth is that excuses only excuse progress – as in, they serve as a [lackluster] explanation for why we haven’t made any. They don’t support us, or help us, or take care of us. They’re like that friend who drinks with you, making you feel a little better, but then sticks you with the bill.

Isn’t it time to stop paying?

Having examined my own excuses recently, I found that they were leading to expensive consequences, and not like you might think. Investing less in my own yoga training wasn’t costing me extra money, but it was costing me energy, strength, my beloved bikini-ready belly, and, perhaps most importantly, inspiration.  I didn’t have a bigger bank account, I didn’t feel more rested — I didn’t even seem to have that precious “extra” time.  In fact, I noticed that, instead, it was all going the other way. I ended up spending the money on other things, sleeping irregularly because my body wasn’t in tune, and burning up all of those saved hours because my professional fuel was running dry and I was, accordingly, less productive.

In trying to conserve my resources, I was actually spending them exponentially.

You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to know that, in order to thrive, you have to invest in your business. It’s the same with life.  You have to invest in yourself.

So, I reviewed and resumed my yoga class budget, checked out different disciplines for some variety, and calendared classes for a stupendously better exercise schedule. I felt a difference after the first class. No, actually, I felt a difference after the first sun salutation. That’s all it took – that small, actionable step – to begin reconnecting me with my own business mantra of self-care, all excuses aside.

The moral of May’s blog post, then, is to honestly:

  • Examine excuses
  • Consider the causes
  • Act as soon as possible (i.e., within 24 hours).
  • Do it daily.

In determining the action, do what you can.  And do it, or something related to it, consistently. Make a to-do list, recite a mantra, complete one part of the task, or knock the whole thing out. Whatever you do, do something.

Some things can add up to big things.

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6 Responses to Excuses, Excuses

  1. Autumn Sharp says:

    Love this! I had a similar conversation with my mom yesterday. You must invest in yourself. I’ll think of you tonight in my Bikram class, one of my newer ways to invest in myself. 🙂

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks Autumn 🙂 Definitely channel me when you are looking for an excuse to get out of that second set of camel pose tonight…

  2. Kale says:

    Love this.
    I made cost an excuse for why I stopped doing yoga but someone told me about Yoga to the People.
    Their classes in NYC range from donation only to $5 a class.
    You can’t beat that!
    there is an additional price for renting a mat and water but even still, it’s a lot cheaper than anything else.

    • Kelly says:

      Awesome comment, Kale — and thanks for mentioning Yoga to the People. Definitely a great option for any NYC folks who want to experience donation yoga. I love the concept, and it was actually recently featured in a recent NYT article. Check it out if you haven’t already… http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/25/fashion/25yoga.html Also check out the community and discount classes around (seniors, artists, students, etc.). Sonic Yoga in Midtown West — my old studio — has some worthwhile options! http://www.sonicyoga.com/locations/ Namaste

  3. Leigh Ellen says:

    Oh, I so relate to this!! Thanks for the reinforcement. 🙂 Relating to your previous post, how lucky are we that can make these observations AND choices?…

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