Yesterday’s yoga practice started slowly. I was a bit tired. My day had started before 5am and I taught two yoga classes, running on coffee and the energy from the students in front of me. When I got on my mat for my own practice after that, I was slightly limp. The prospect of pushing through 90 minutes of intense practice, even though I have done this hundreds of times before, was not very appealing, and I very much felt like taking a nap instead! But I didn’t want to miss practice, so I soldiered on.
Charlie Hubbard was teaching. As we went from pranayama to half-moon pose I tried to kick-start myself. I was still dragging at awkward pose. Then my energy started to lift—just a little, like how a child raises their head when they’ve just woken up from sleep. I felt a bit brighter, a bit more alert, a bit sharper.
It just so happened that at that same point Charlie went to have a few words with a student, a regular at our studio. He told her that if she wanted to improve her practice, just showing up to class wasn’t enough. She needed to work harder in class, be more determined and not give up too easily. I was standing right behind them and overheard this.
Charlie wasn’t saying this to me, but it worked for me. Into standing head to knee pose I was awake again, ready to go, focused, strong and loving it. I am getting better at this posture, and that class I touched my head to my knee on BOTH sides (often I touch on one and fall out on the other; it’s like my brain can’t handle doing both sides well in one go). The rest of the class was great. I enjoyed it, was satisfied and recharged.
I didn’t need that nap after all.
The teacher’s motivational words helped—and I love Charlie’s classes—but the point is yoga picks you up. It has that effect. Especially yoga that is intense. It generates energy; it moves you and it can make you well. And this effect doesn’t plateau out, even after years of consistent practice. It doesn’t wear out; it just keeps giving. As long as you keep trying.
Why You Shouldn't Skip Yoga Class When You Are Tired