5 Ways to Handle Practice When it Feels Like a Chore

Posted on July 16, 2013 by

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There you are… come to the mat ready to play. Those days are great where everything flows and it feels easy. You don’t seem to need to find a reason to come to the mat at all because you just want to be there. The practice calls to you and you want to answer. More than that, it feels like the practice answers back because everything falls into place, learning happens, and you walk away feeling accomplished and great.

I relish those days. It’s not everyday and that makes it all the sweeter when it comes.

To balance that out the infinite wisdom of our tools offers a different take on practice. The days where coming to the mat feels heavy, draining, too much because you’re too tired and already spent… And in a very disheartening and real way, like a chore.

I can’t say I quite relish those days though I have noticed I have a keen appreciation of them as I remain in my practice. They aren’t easy which at the core of it is the very gift of those sorts of days.

A measure of our being can be seen in the way we handle the unexpected on the mat. I like to say that Grace is not demonstrated when things are going well, rather when things are not what you expected.

It’s easy to choose to do something when that something is easy and fun to do. It is a celebration and affirmation of that which we love. In contrast, it’s not necessarily easy to choose to practice in the face of an internal dialog pushing you away.

In an effort to help you stay on the mat, I offer these 5 ways to handle those kind of days:

  • One Song Challenge: Choose to get on the mat for a short time rather than burdening yourself with a long practice that feels difficult. Some time on the mat is better than no time at all. Simply trying to work through a single song may very well be the thing you need to be reinspired. Even if you’re not reinspired, you will at least have gotten a single songs with the practice which isn’t too much to sit through even on one of those kind of days.
  • Do a sit instead! I love the benefits of sitting meditation though I often find in excruciating in comparison to reaching for the state through proper manipulation and dance. I find that I can appreciate my practice more after choosing to do a sit instead of a flow meditation. Even if I only sit for five minutes, I find taking the time to come to stillness helps and gives me some sense of accomplishment that supports me but doesn’t necessarily drain me more.
  • Rehabilitate: Some days the body needs rehabilitation more than it needs training. We have built station and healing forward the body the opportunity to integrate previous learnings while preparing for something new. Taking care to rest without taking time off is useful. For example, do deep tissue massage on troublespots instead of practicing the next time you don’t feel like practicing but no you should come to the mat.
  • Be with the resistance: As challenging as it may be to get on the mat and practice, sometimes the richest practice to be had is the one where you work through the internal objections and get on the mat anyway. Breathe through it and be with all the internal objections, allowing yourself to experience the practice as best as you can.
  • Cross train: Do a different yet related practice that is more inspiring in the moment. Yoga is a perfect example or picking up a different prop can also help.

Written by Temple of Poi founder and visionary, GlitterGirl, who has been a full time flow arts coach and instructor since 2002. If you are looking for help reworking your practice or to step up your skills as a student, performer or instructor using personalized coaching with GlitterGirl, email her directly (GlitterGirl <at> TempleOfPoi <daught> com).

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