In this world of needing to do and achieve more, we are driven to measure everything. Workouts and health goals are now translated to trackable data – calories in, calories burned, pounds lost. The competitive nature in us wants to set goals and track them. This can be positive; I love my smartwatch and the accountability it offers. The hourly ping reminds me to keep moving throughout my workday and I have been known to walk around the house right up until the moment I climb into bed in order to meet my step goal.
However, in my effort to track every step and chart my health goals, my yoga practice became less of a priority. I love a slow, restorative practice but that doesn’t offer much in the way of steps. I eventually stopped my beloved yoga sessions.
I have come to realize that not everything in life can be measured, but it is important to do it anyway.
With the new year came a new intention. In my search for CLARITY (my guiding theme for the year), I knew I needed to recommit to my yoga practice. Though the benefits don’t necessarily pump up my daily step or calorie count, the reward of this daily practice is much deeper – it is good for my spirit. It is a time to quiet my mind, close my eyes and connect. It allows the outside world to disappear.
Though I had been away from yoga for nearly a year, I was reminded why I love it as soon as I rolled out my mat. Yoga meets you where you are. Somedays it is child’s pose and a few gentle stretches as my entire practice. Other days include more flow and movement. I am learning to listen to my body and trust what it needs that particular day. Whatever I end up doing physically, it always leaves me feeling refreshed spiritually.
Our bodies are miraculously resilient. It is amazing what happens when we treat ourselves well, with kindness and intention. Adding a gentle, daily yoga practice into my hectic, busy days has made an enormous impact on the way I feel in a short amount of time. I am gaining strength and reclaiming my flexibility; I am beginning to feel like myself again.
While I will continue to measure my steps and other physical activity on my smart watch, I will also hold fast to the knowledge of the restorative power yoga offers me. And it doesn’t have to be a formal practice. There are many mornings that I drop down on my kitchen floor and hold child’s pose as I allow my body to wake up for the day. Similarly, after a long time sitting at my desk, a few stretches allow me to ease the tension that has built up during my workday.
Perhaps you can learn from my experience, that it is okay not to measure every possible thing. Life is a rich, complex experience. The movement and accountability towards better health are good; however, they are not everything. Remember to make time for the work that speaks to your soul – whatever that is: reading, painting, walks in nature – anything that allows you to forget the world and tune into your true self.