I used to get completely out of sorts if I missed my daily yoga practice. If I found out last minute that we had dinner plans when I was planning to do yoga, I would get into a funk for the rest of the day and consider myself a failure.
Having that kind of weight on my shoulders, especially about an activity I loved, was no fun. It made exercise a harmful addiction in the sense that if I didn’t have it, the potential for ruining other things in my life was there. While I'm an advocate of exercising daily and going out of your way to make it part of your routine, there has to be a little leeway for flexibility and change, and you can’t take it so darn seriously. Let's face it: life isn’t all that serious. Yoga is all about giving and taking, yin and yang, ebb and flow.
Missing a day or two of exercise a week is OK. You won't get out of shape because of it — you'll just be bent out of shape if you don't take the advice in this article! I don’t like to get out of an exercise habit for more than a few days per week, because then I feel like it's easy to slip into the habit of not moving your body at all.
Work hard on the days you do yoga, make the most of your practice, and relish the accomplishment, giving thanks to your amazing body. When you miss a day, it probably means some amazing, irresistible plans have come up, or you're simply exhausted from other activities in life. Honor that. Don't let the idea of doing yoga seem like a boring, unpleasant chore instead of something you love to do. Don't force yourself and endanger your relationship with exercise. I never want to feel like it's something I'm doing begrudgingly.
If it's one of those days when you're on the fence about practicing, get on the mat and see what happens. It's gone both ways for me — sometimes I’ll quit after 10 minutes (because that 10 minutes felt like an hour), and other times my body will surprise me and I’ll have a liberating wonderful practice. Learn to listen to those cues from your body and surrender to them.
Whatever your physical passion may be — yoga, running, biking, kayaking — you're lucky to have found a physical activity that you love to do. Just like a fragile relationship, don’t force it! Most people stop exercising because they can’t find something they enjoy, something that speaks to them — don’t make your passion start to feel like that!
It's perfectly OK to spend an evening on the couch with your favorite book and a glass of wine instead of sweating through rounds of sun salutations. Simply recognize it for what it is, and get back on the horse the following day!