One of the most profound bits of wisdom shared with me in a teaching yoga is that procrastination is severely detrimental to one’s development on the spiritual path.
For me the honesty of yoga is that if you practice regularly you will see swift changes mentally, emotionally and physically. And if you step away from your practice chances are inertia takes over and it is epically difficult to get back on the mat again. Or as Jon Kabat Zinn says, “not practicing is a form of practice.”
I am an excellent procrastinator. Truth is that this is part of my constantly recovering perfectionist tendency. However, I have healed myself of procrastination through yoga and by using various spiritual practices to support my yoga.
From experience I have discovered there are generally two kinds of procrastinators:
1) those that have gotten off the couch and attempted
2) those that have never fully tried
Interestingly, just because you might fall into category one of procrastinators doesn’t guarantee you momentum. For that you have to stay engaged.
So whether you’ve tried a little, a lot, or not at all, procrastination in any of its forms will stunt your spiritual development. You will forever stay a spiritual baby and never evolved towards spiritual toddlerhood, adolescence or adulthood. The path is sequential.
Here are 5 Ways to Stop Procrastinating:
• Accept that life is messy. Stop waiting for everything to be perfect to get started because this will only serve to postpone your own happiness.
• Look at life as abundant. Stop focusing on your shortcomings, or what you don’t have. Instead embrace all that you do have, being unafraid of making the necessary mistakes that lead to bigger break-throughs. You are never going to run out chances because you can choose to keep trying again and again.
• Be honest. That’s why something like yoga works, it serves as a truth serum (SATYA Serum). The body doesn’t lie. When you are on one leg balancing and your mind is in a million places you will fall out of that one legged balance for sure. If you are in a warrior pose and your leg is shaking after not practicing yoga for three months well, not doing something has resulted in your muscles responding by shaking.
The law of continuity states that once something is in motion it will continue in that direction. So keep making your best, most honest effort and don’t give-up when it gets hard. Of course it will sometimes be difficult.
• Treat your life as a performance instead of as a dress rehearsal. The perfectionist in you will want to keep rehearsing but that’s not how life works. In life we have this one master performance each day and we cannot get it back so make it count. As John Lennon is famous for saying, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”
• Be part of the team. You are not alone. It’s time to grow up enough to ask for help from the universe. The reason I would often get paralyzed by procrastination was I was afraid of having to do everything by myself, I even felt like I had to always offer my prayers for others but never for me.
“Where did you get that idea you aren’t allowed to petition the universe with prayer? You are part of this universe. You’re a constituent—you have every entitlement to participate in the actions of the universe, and to let your feelings be known. So put your opinion out there. Make your case. Believe me—it will at least be taken into consideration.” —Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love
So start now: reboot your day. No more waiting just ask for what you want! And keep asking, continue the momentum. If you want a really great way to stay truth to your intentions, then keep regular appointments with your yoga mat. Love yourself, love your day, love your life!