One year to a four year old seems like a long time, and it is, if you consider it from their perspective it’s a quarter of their life. (1/4) When you get to 30, one year is not as long. (1/30 or 0.033)
A student asked me today if I drink alcohol. I was at first taken back, not because of the taboo of drinking alcohol and having a yoga practice, but because I thought my life outside of the asana room was transparent, I am far from a yoga guru, I am a student figuring this out one day at a time. I told her that yes I do drink occasionally, but inquired as to what direction this question is leading to.
She proceeded to express to me that when she drinks, the next day she feels a tightness in her shoulders and that practice is very difficult.
Well sure it is difficult to practice asana after a few drinks the night before, and ideally it is best not to drink for a ‘better’ asana practice, but this is householder yoga, I said.
She explained further that she hates herself for drinking last night, but hates herself at night if she turns down the drink. She doesn’t drink every night, but what should she do on the odd days when she lived in the moment and had a drink the night before?
To clarify, to improve our asana practice it is best to leave the drinking for Friday night if you take rest on Saturday, or abstain from drinking altogether. Now with that is said, what to do when a drink passes your lips on Monday night and you find yourself at practice Tuesday morning?
My answer is to take it easy. Don’t go so far in your practice. (What are you attached to?) Most importantly forgive yourself, don’t hate today because of last night and don’t despise the night because of tomorrow. That leads to way to much attachment. It is simply an asana practice, it lasts for 2 hours a day, there are another 22 spent out there. Out there shit is equally tough, and hating yourself while practicing is only going to cause hating of yourself later. Let today’s practice go, still take practice, but do half, do standing, do a few breaths, do at the very least take out your mat and stand on it. Be aware of where you are and your intention. Sit.
With time you may pass that drink up and not hate yourself for doing so, maybe you pass less judgement on where today’s practice is and get over yourself faster and enjoy how great you are. Whatever you decide, you, like me, have a long road ahead and many more years on this mat with nowhere else to go but deeper. So forgive today, it is simply 1/365 of this year or 0.0027 and you have better things to do.
Disclaimer: if you have a sickness with alcohol please do seek help.
If you find that drinking is getting in the way of your asana practice, make a decision as to which is more important in your life, and commit to it. There is no judging. They simply do not coexist well and one hinders the other, I know this from firsthand experience.