You Do This Because That's What You Do

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You know how I love my mantras.

They guide me through life:
"Lead with your heart; the rest of you will follow."

They reassure me that I've done enough:
"I did my best today. Tomorrow, I'll do better."

They remind me to take life as it happens:
"You can have it all, just not all at once."

After a recent yoga retreat with Ashtanga master teacher Kino MacGregor (seriously, check out her videos. The human body's capabilities are infinite.)
She led us through what were the most difficult practices I've experienced since I started yoga. By the time Sunday afternoon's Yoga Sutras talk began, I was exhausted.

That morning's practice had been tough. I was in the front row, next to a large window with no shade. It was 10 a.m. As sun rose higher and higher, the 50-plus students in the room breathed and progressed through their practices. The temperature rose by more than 10 degrees. Condensation appeared on water bottles scattered throughout the room, sweat dripped from every inch of my body, and the windows fogged up. Even the hardwood floor was covered in condensation. I lifted my body, stretched it, breathed all the while.

Whereas the previous day's practice had felt exhilarating--I was practicing with an incredible teacher, surrounded by close friends, and basking the energy of so many motivated Ashtanga yogis--today's felt torturous. I felt heavy, weak, defeated.
Ninety minutes later, I made it to the end of my practice. I was exhausted. I had given all I could. My muscles were shaking, my stomach growling, my body soaked in sweat.

It was over.

As I rose from our final relaxation, savasana, my mind started to wander. I was tired, but I knew that there was little break in sight. Tomorrow I would return to my studio in Cincinnati, do my practice as best I could, as I would the next day and the day after that.

When you've committed to a yoga practice, you have to practice. Even when you don't want to. You can do less, but you can't give up. You don't quit, even if you do need to take a day off because life interferes.

But why?

That afternoon Kino explained: "You do this because that's what you do." Not because it has any special qualities.

I took that to heart.

Why do I return to my mat six mornings a week, even when I'm tired, sick, or cranky? Because it's what I do. I practice yoga. It's not something you do once a week, not something you just quit when you feel like it. I committed myself to this path, and I'm going to stick with it. I don't do it so I can have ripped shoulders, so that I can put my foot behind my head or so that I can wear stretchy black pants all the time. I do it because that's what I do.

Why do you drink your 8 cups of water daily? Why do you track your fitness minutes, use your lunch breaks to walk, and skip the snooze button so you'll have time to pack a healthy lunch?

Because you've committed to this path. And that's what you do.
What do YOU do?

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JWINKSLLC 11/14/2020
Thank you. Until my illness, this is what I did. I kept meditating and doing a little asana and vinyasa, but eventually I stopped the physical practice. I was meant to see this. Today I woke up, and did it again. Before I read this. Because it's what I do. Report
BONNIE1552 10/31/2020
You're right. It is what I do. Report
MUSICNUT 4/6/2020
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
Thanks Report
Thank you for the information. Report
I believe I drink now because it is habit. I drink at least 5 - 24ounce cups of water. I don't even think about it, I just do it! Report
I drink my 8 cups of water every day! Report
I teach! Report
sometimes simple truths are the best! Report
I'm so glad to read that other people have this seesawing yoga practice - one day it is exhilerating and another day it feels so forced. Great article! Report
I feel the same way about kettlebell and it didn't really 'hit' me until I read this. Thank you! It all makes a little more sense now. :) Report
I like that a lot.... It is what I do too! It reminds me of what I have started telling people when they offer me something that is not healthy for me. They say, oh, you can't have that, can you? I tell them, Yes, I can have it but I choose not to! :-) Report
Thank you for shearing Report
Excellent - Because it's what I do (and I'm doing it for me!)
Thanks for putting it into words. Report
What an amazing blog, Stepfanie.

People make funny comments about how I choose to wake up at 4:30 am Monday-Friday (6-ish on the weekends) to sweat. They also raise eyebrows about how I also choose to do some sort of exercise every day, as if I elected to stab myself with knives daily.

I'm always a little too embarrassed to say anything back, because I couldn't find the words to describe my feelings.

But after reading this blog, I now know what the words are: "It's just what I do." Simple, yet strikingly accurate.

Thank you! Report
This message really resonates . . . I have arrived! This is who I wanted to be, have been trying to become, who I am. Thank you! Report
Great blog. Thank you, this totally resonates. I'm going to keep this in mind when I'm arguing with myself about going to the gym. Exercise, it's what I do. Report
so simple so true real commitment well said Report
Yes. Well said. Report
This resonates.. thank you. Report
I loved this blog because that is the feeling I'm trying to get back to. I had that at one point in my journey and it was the best feeling in the world. That is what I am striving for and working towards, and that is more important than all my other goals. Report
I dance, because it makes my soul sing!!! Report
I walk. I walk with friends and I walk by myself. I walk on the cruise ship and I walk around the motel on vacation. I walk my sister's neighborhood when we visit. I walk trails, I walk sidewalks, I walk rural roads. My husband is so used to me walking that when he can't find me, he thinks "oh, she must be out on her walk". Report
I get up & move around every day no matter how much it hurts because I know that's what is best for my body.. Report
Thank you so much for this blog! I've saved it to my Spark Favorites, so I can always use this as a reminder for motivation. Report
Excellent blog.

I especially love: "YOu can have it all, but you can't have it all at once."
That's how I view my eating plan.
I also add:
"You can have it all, but you can't have it all the time." Report
I ran regularly because that is what I did and then I ended up with a chronic arthritis disorder. And now I don't know what I do anymore and it's exceedingly frustrating and depressing. So hurray for knowing what it is you do until you literally can not. The let down is amazingly crushing. Report
I thank you for this blog, because I adding this " I do it because it is what I do. I am successful today because I read this blog and it has brighten my day and given me light at the end of the tunnel. Report
I am a teacher who works on "lessons" until late at night. I am a runner who will log more than 20K in a single run, in biting cold...because now I'm also a "distance" runner. I've been in karate for almost 12 years, and can't walk away indefinitely because it's a path.... I eat healthy - aside from my one cheat meal a week - because it fuels the body that takes me through the challenges I keep pursuing...and it's also WHAT I DO...!

I absolutely LOVED this blog. It is SO simple, so accurate, and explains so much of WHAT I DO!! Brilliant. Thank you! Report