My 80% rule

February 13, 2012 / Aaron

Let me introduce you to my 80% rule: On the first practice after a longer than usual break from yoga because of [enter life altering event(s) here] only give it 80%. The last two weeks I've traveled for work, gotten sick (twice!), and worked way more hours in my day job than normal. I haven't practiced much. Turns out for me there's been more than one 80% practice.

It's unlikely that on the first practice back I'll be able to pick right back up where I left off. So I bend my knees a lot. Sometimes I drop a knee and take an easier alternative for poses. I'll skip any arm balances or inversions that feel like a stretch. I focus on the breath.

These are some of my favorite practices. There's so much freedom in only going 80%. Don't get me wrong, 80% with a lot of vinyasa and core work can still be sweaty. It can still be a good workout. But if I flop around in balance poses I give myself the benefit of the doubt. There's no ego. There's no expectation. There's so much joy and fun in spending time back on the map that nothing else matters.

It's unfortunate that every practice isn't an 80% practice, but life is too short to cruise through it at 80% speed. Sometimes it's time to go full bore; sometimes it's time to rest. But when that practice is over I simply try and hold on to the joy and fun as long as possible.