“When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.” -Five Sutras of the Aquarian Age, Yogi Bhajan

I’m writing to get honest with you (and with myself).  I’m not practicing what I preach.  I post, tweet, and read about yoga and meditation daily.  I live and breathe it.  But my own practice hasn’t been very regular lately.  And my body and mind know it.

I’m sure you can relate: you’re exhausted and decide to take the night off from the gym and two months later you look at your sneakers and realize that you’ve fallen off the wagon.  Or after months of healthy eating you have one bite of cake which leads to one piece which leads to all sugar, all the time.

It can sometimes seem impossible to find time for yoga or meditation.  I need to work on my blog, do the dishes, put away my laundry, Criminal Minds is on, I should go to bed…

But the thing is, a daily yoga and meditation practice is not only important to me but my body needs it.  Lately I’ve been feeling more stressed than usual, uncomfortable, and barely sleeping.  I took a mental survey to identify the issue.  Drinking enough water?  Check.  Eating a balanced diet with a lot of vegetables?  Check.  Any coffee?  No!  What is it, what am I missing?  And then my new yoga mat was delivered and it finally hit me.  Yoga and meditation are what’s missing.

I’ve been stressing myself out with the shoulds lately: “I should have done yoga last night.”  “I should go meditate now.”  And the pressure I’m putting on myself is actually preventing me from doing the thing I think I “should” do!

I went back to my notes from Kripalu this summer.  I wrote “progress, not perfection” during one of the sessions with Gabby.  Perfection is not the goal – the ideal is not real.  One step forward is a step in the right direction.  And hitting the pause button will happen from time to time.  Progress is about real-life.  Progress is about tiny steps.  One minute of daily meditation.  Ten minutes of yoga.  Drinking more water.  It’s not about doing it all and doing it perfectly.  Progress is recognizing when you’ve fallen off, forgiving yourself, and getting right back in there.

The Yogi Bhajan quote at the beginning of this post helps me remember that as soon as I start, the pressure I feel will be released.  I can sit around stressed out and upset with myself for falling off the mat or I can roll out the mat, put on meditation music, and do some sun salutations.

So I’m going to do that…now.