(words by Nat)
Practice, practice, practice. Yoga everydamnday!
It’s a daily ritual, a daily commitment, a daily practice. Okay maybe not daily 100% of the time but hey at least the intention is 100% there right?! Whether it is daily, weekly, or every now and then, something keeps drawing us back in, captivating us, seducing our bare feet back to the mat. Time and time again we come to breathe, we come to move, we come to practice yoga.
And what is this alluring force that keeps us coming back? Through all the challenges, confrontations, obstacles and setbacks why are we drawn back in again and again to this practice?
Let’s get all textbook like…By one deﬁnition, Practice is doing something over and over again with a determined effort to master that which is being learned. So why are we practicing, what are we trying to master? Is it the perfect pose, the perfect breathe? Is it yoga? Well what is yoga? Have I got your braining ticking yet?!
Perhaps the reason we practice yoga is in the very practice itself…
Perhaps the insights and the answers as to why we continue to return to our mats are revealed to us beneath all that we learn and discover in each moment of each practice. Not in the knowledge of enlightenment or the will to still the mind. Not in the hope of being more ﬂexible or the idea of becoming more spiritual. But in the continual process of moment to moment awareness, attentiveness and presence. Through inquiry, development and understanding. And through the application of understanding. Turning knowledge into wisdom.
It’s not what we practice, it’s not why we practice, it’s HOW we practice. How are we showing up, not just to our yoga practice, but to anything we invest ourselves in throughout life? Commitment, dedication and devotion to each task, each moment, each experience.
Learning to master the very art of practice itself.
In traditional yoga philosophy, (we’re talking real wisdom here, from the ancient masters!), the two wings with which the entire system of yoga rests, are Abhyasa and Vairagya; Practice and Non-attachment. Determined effort in pursuing and mastering a practice without being attached to the result. Rather we learn to cultivate a sense of faith in the future outcome, in the mastery. With a genuine love and devotion to the practice itself, with patience and with contentment for what is now, we can trust we are headed in our intended direction. With this wisdom, this applied knowledge, we neither succeed or fail at any given task. We simply learn, grow and become masters of each moment. Oh yes I like that, say it again! Great mantra guys: “I am a master of this very moment!” Say it, sing it, believe it!
Brain still spinning a little? Okay how about this then… Just as we follow a baby’s (let’s call him Bobby) journey of learning to walk, rather than being focused on his ﬁnal achievement, his mastery of walking, we are intrigued, excited and proud of each new step taken each day. Bobby himself practices over and over again without the slightest idea as to why, as to what the end result may be. This little legend is only interested in the HOW. Bobby simply devotes himself to the practice itself as he inquires into his very ﬁrst step, develops knowledge between each step, and applies knowledge with each new step. Captivated, infused and down right STOKED with each moment just as it is, he continues to master the practice as he walks with wisdom through the rest of his life. Yeah Bobby you know what’s going on!
Ahhh the practice. Let me leave you with some ﬁnal words of wisdom from a great master, a great teacher, a great man - the late Sri.K Pattabhi Jois. When his students often questioned him about life, about yoga, about philosophy. About the whats, the whens and the whys. His simply answer, a response now cherished as great wisdom - “Do your practice, and all is coming”.
Mmm let that sit for a while. And remember… “I am a master of this very moment!” Say it, sing it, believe it!