You’ve got to love the word sloth. It can be used as a noun (as in the two-toed or three-toed jungle animal who move only when necessary and even then very slowly) or a verb, to be slothful or disinclined to work or exert.
Last Saturday morning, having set my plans to teach at 8:30 am and to then practice, I heard the call of the sloth whispering in my ear. Just before the start of the 11:00 Flow class that I had “planned” to take, my inner sloth softly chanted to me, “go home, relax, don’t practice… go home, relax, don’t practice”. Being a normal, overly productive and overly distracted person this call of the sloth stopped me in my tracks. I sat with it for a few moments as I stood outside of the doors of Studio 2. Yes, I was kind of tired and I would like to relax and go home. So, feeling abundantly “disinclined to work or exert”, I confessed my slothful state to longtime student and on-staff massage therapist Anne Martin. “I just don’t want to practice right now”, I whimpered. “ME TOO!” she cried out, “I don’t even know why I am here!”
We both had a good laugh at ourselves, high fived, and committed ourselves to crawling through those studio doors and letting it flow. “No pressure” we both agreed as we rolled out our mats.
After class we hugged and laughed again. We both agreed that our practices had been delightfully tension free and simple. We had practiced and that was what counted. We had heard the call of the sloth loud and clear but both recognized how much better we felt post-practice. We had won.
The next morning Anne and I literally crashed into each other again outside of the same doors. We burst out laughing as we recognized the brilliance of the moment. “Do you want to be here?” I asked her timidly knowing that my sloth friend was again whispering in my ear. “Not really” she replied, and we walked into the studio and rolled out our mats. After another high-five and another practice in the books, we smiled and parted.
The truth is that our inner sloths are always ready to over-take our minds with their powerful chants, “go home, relax, don’t practice… go home, relax, don’t practice”. You may think that I run to my yoga mat and my meditation cushion every day with the enthusiasm of a five year old. I definitely don’t. But, I have learned to recognize the call of my inner sloth and he (yes, it is a “he”) doesn’t crash my parties as much as he used to.
So on Monday morning as I was in my pre-practice Down Dog, I saw Anne walk into the studio. I smiled. She did too. No words were needed. It was all too perfect.