A few days agao, we attended an event with family, (our Florida In-law stand ins, specifically.) Running behind, I had 15 minutes to dress and get out the door. Maybe that works for you, but not for me anymore. Something happened in my early thirties. I went from needing 15 minutes or less to get ready for just about anything to requiring a solid 20 to 25 always.

Maybe it’s the Yoga. I am placing more importance on not rushing these days. This requires better time management, sure, but I like that discipline. It also makes me nicer to be around, a benefit for myself, since I am around me a LOT. 🙂

Anyway, clock ticking, I was working really hard to put together an outfit requiring zero nail polish application, in other words, closed toed shoes. Thankfully, my husband learned somewhere along the way  NEVER to enter the bedroom during such a time. He’s in and out, God love him, leaving me space to fret. I finally gave up, threw the open toed shoes on, and the outfit was complete.

Except..

my toes. I hate going out with naked toes. Something is stuck my head: “Exposed toes should be painted at all times.” Where did it come from? Vogue, my old roommate Susan who always looks fabulous, I don’t know. But it is hard to argue with this notion before an evening with your for-all-intents-and-purposes-Mother-in-law.

What to do? Being late with this part of the family is worse than wearing jeans to the Country Club Sunday morning buffet, (where strangely enough horrible plaid shorts seem to be just fine.) So, I took a hard look at my feet. I could really only see three toes on each foot, and they were kind of obscured by my pants. I made the executive decision then and there, and painted just the three you could see. Six toes is quicker than ten, AND I skipped the base coat! You know what? No one knew. It was good enough.

What the heck does this have to do with Yoga? Only this. We battle the notion of what we we should be doing all the time on the mat. Extreme examples include our ego telling us we “should” be able to move into Upward Facing Dog during Vinyasa every time. We “should” be able to hold Plank pose without dropping the knees at any point. We “should” stick it out in a flow, even when our body is crying out for Child’s pose.

A more subtle assumption is the idea that real Yoga should physically kick our butts every class. This type of thinking can be a powerful barrier to practice. Who wants to get beat up whenever we roll out the mat? It’s time to get gentle with ourselves. This may seem a contradiction, but “getting gentle” is an intentional action. We must re-engineer our relationship with our Self, the being who lives inside our amazing body. If we beat up on that Self every time we go to the mat, why the heck would our Self want to keep practicing? Also, if that negative self talk is on a reel in your head all day long, what do you think is coming out of your mouth? And who wants to be around that?

But, that’s another post. The point is that it’s okay to go to Child. It’s okay to find your knees in a prone pose. And, it’s okay if you only have time to paint three toes. (It’s really okay if you don’t paint any of them Shae.)

Gentle out.

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