Updated: Mar 14, 2022
I have always loved routines and rituals, I love monitoring things and doing them everyday, I love writing them down and watching unbroken threads grow longer. This may come as a shock to some - Yoga teachers as a rule don't have a reputation for being the worlds most organised bunch - but despite the trope of not maintaining regular careers, not wanting to live in one spot for too long and communing to live in sunny climates yogi's still love routine. But during the pandemic, like for so many, my routine wasn't lost so much as it was taken out back and shot in the head.
I was put on furlough, I was made redundant, I was a freelancer who was super busy, I was then back in lockdown. It seemed like every time I came up with a new plan and a new schedule something happened that threw everything up in the air again, making a regular routine an impossibility.
Though many wellness gurus, parents and friends told me to 'embrace the chaos', my little body-mind was not a happy one. So when the new year rolled around I was ready for one of my favourite rituals, the New Years Resolution!
Contentious among many, I have always loved resolutions as a perfect starting point to decide what I want and where I want to go. Though for many New Years Resolutions are synonymous with 'making war on your body to fit into a socially constructed standard' my resolutions are so many and so myriad that they tend to defy tangible results. As it's 2021 I came up with 21 resolutions; things that I wanted to do, achieve, think about, meditate on and eat. And one of those things was 'do yoga everyday for 100 days in a row'.
All went well for the first fifty days or so, which you may be surprised at. Fifty days is nothing to be sniffed at after all and my sessions varied from a bedtime twenty minutes to a full morning hour. However, the real challenge came around day 80 and that was the day that I didn't manage to do my practise. A combination of a hectic work schedule where I had to work from about 5:30AM to 10PM and the total exhaustion that followed meant I couldn't do more than touch my toes all day. Some may have thought this would be understandable and not really a big deal. But this was a huge blow for me. I think my expectation was that I would have a clean slate and without that the venture wasn't worth completing. But after a good 24 hour mope and a few phone calls I did manage to see that this was actually what 100 days of yoga is about. Failure. Because the old adage is true: you learn more from failure that success.
And what did I learn? Well, I kept going for the other 29 days and then added on an extra day to make up. But I also learned that I get demoralised by perfectionism. Still to this day I look back on those 100 days with a hint of sadness rather than pride, because, I feel like I didn't manage it, that somehow I failed because I couldn't control absolutely everything.
Problems are not 2D, they are 3D, so when you examine this a little closer you see the insanity behind that belief. One day does not wipe out 99 days. If someone else came to me and told me they had failed because they hadn't achieved a perfect 100 on a test then I would argue that 99 is still A*. And maybe that's what I need to see, maybe that's what I need to let go of.
Luckily for me I know I am not alone in this feeling. You have one bad day on a diet and you're off the bandwagon. Why be sober when you can fall off the wagon completely? I wonder where this came from and why it's so embedded in the human psyche? Why do we struggle for Step-ford Wives when true beauty can be seen in human struggle? Aren't our favourite stories about those who overcame?
I guess it's an ongoing learning curve. I still love goals. I still love novelty of trying new things. I am trying to play a new game though, can I let go of expectation whilst accepting whatever comes? And I also wonder, can you?