Pathway to Practice
By Anna Delury
Practice is all about getting started. Set aside the other cares in life with awareness. Surrender. Begin.
Let practice be practice. It won’t feel like class. The buzz of the group, the words of the teacher aren’t there. Practice is a journey you take by yourself.
“Deserving” is a hidden barrier for many of us. The story goes like this: “I have so much to do, so many pressing obligations. Others are depending on me.“ But… what about your health, your balance, your growth? You deserve a practice, one that is just about you, for you.
Plan ahead. Use your planner, calendar, computer schedule, phone alarms: make an appointment with your practice. Scheduling practice times makes them do-able. Be realistic. In the natural rhythm of the day, look for 10 to 15 minutes that can be consistently yours. Hold these times as sacred. Now, during the fury of the week, the time you need is already there, waiting for you. Gradually curiosity and desire will increase the time.
Find a space. It can be small, a corridor beside your bed; it might be large, a room. Just make it pleasant so it invites you in. Keep your books, notes, props there, all encouraging you to come close.
Create a ritual. Try this: Start every practice the same way -- with the invocation or the same pose -- so that a clear demarcation between the world and practice exists. Let it be a threshold you pass through.
Start small. If you are just learning to practice, begin with one or two poses you like, with a short sequence from your teacher. It takes time to build physical as well as psychological stamina. Practice evolves and grows. Be patient.
Focus on what you gain: stability, balance, strength, endurance, flexibility, pain management, clear-headedness, well-being. Be with it.
Mix it up. If you always practice only what you “feel” like, switch it up and do a sequence from Light On Yoga or a recent class. If you only do what you are told to do, stop. Listen to what your inner world is requesting.
Get honest. Some of us practice only when things are bad; others only when all is going well. Practice regardless. Little by little, faith will replace fear. Confidence arrives one step at a time.
If you miss your practice don’t beat yourself up. Don’t punish yourself with shame and recrimination. It’ll backfire on you. Instead, Pause… take a breath, or two. Let go… and then confirm your next scheduled practice time. We all get thrown; the important thing is to get back on track.
Take a day off, the same day every week. Even if you had to miss another day, keep your day off. In the hustle and bustle of modern life we forget to rest. This day builds an inclination for more practice that nourishes the coming week’s yoga.
Live inside your practice, and let your practice live inside of you. That way you aren’t just a visitor and yoga is not just a casual acquaintance.
Be kind... to yourself.
Just start. Now.
Copyright © Anna Delury 2017. All Rights Reserved.
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