Lessons from a Yoga Rookie - A weekly column by Catherine Richardson.
We all have them. Those days where you step onto your mat and all of a sudden realize that something is off. Your body isn’t moving the way you expected it to. You are less spry, less flexible. You are off balance.
Off days can be some of the most frustrating experiences of my yoga practice. So, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to handle them.
Recognizing Bad Days
It is important to be able to recognise and acknowledge a bad day when you are having one. Acceptance really is the first step. Once you admit that you are not flawed or weak, but simply having a bad day, it is easier to accept your practice for what it is at that moment. You are more likely to keep yourself from getting frustrated and remain calm.
The truth is, there is nothing wrong with a bad day. They are a normal part of a healthy yoga practice. The sooner we realize this, the sooner we can let go and move on. We can breathe and make the most of our practice.
Overcoming Bad Days
We can overcome our bad days! Once we’ve recognised it, a bad day can be dealt in one very simple way: by breathing. I have found that if truly connect with my breath, my practice can be just as good - if not better - than any other practice on any other day. I can breathe louder than my negative thoughts. I can really root in and focus on all of the wonderful movements and sensations that make yoga so amazing.
The bottom line is, good day or bad day, yoga is yoga. Appreciate the practice for the joy it brings you and stop stressing about whether you stumble out of Tree pose now and again.
Learning from Bad Days
We can learn a lot from a bad day in our yoga practice. These days can help us to realize where unknown weaknesses may lie. Maybe make us realize that our core is not as strong as it could be or that we could spend some more time opening up our hips. We should be grateful for bad days for the growth opportunity they present.
Don’t beat yourself up for having a bad day. They are normal and do not make you any less perfect or strong or beautiful. They are an important part of any yoga practice make us appreciate our “good days” all the more. At the end of the day, they make us better yogis and yoginis, and isn’t that what it’s all about?