Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Just Show Up

I’ll admit it, I watch, and enjoy “Celebrity Rehab.”  Without going into any of the details (so that VH1 does not get their suing pen ready), one counselor said, describing recovery: “You’ve just got to show up.”

Just showing up is a measure of success.  Making and honoring the commitment to practice.  Showing up even when there are no signs of progress, and a million little reasons to be somewhere else.  Show up and you have won.

Patanjali states that “The suspension of these fluctuations [ie Yoga, cf. I.2] is through practice and detachment.” (PYS 1.12, Gregor Maehle, tr.) We succeed in our practice by repeatedly doing those things which still the fluctuations of the mind and repeatedly avoid doing things which cause these fluctuations.    Repeatedly = showing up again and again.

For most of us, showing up in our yoga practice translates into unrolling the mat. This simple act is often the most difficult part of the practice.  Try something.  Unroll your mat at home:  in your room, in the living room, or where ever you spend most of your time.  Unroll that 12 square feet of colored and textured pvc and let it stare at you.  Do you keep peeking over at it even though you are trying to do something else?  Do you purposefully avoid looking at it due to guilt?  Are you tempted to just do one teeny pose? 
No, this is not a paid advertisement for Manduka, but buy one! It will be the last mat you ever buy, they have a lifetime guarantee!

Every time we show up, we create an impression.  A vibration.  Consistent practice creates stronger vibrations where we practice—we are actually perpetuating our own motivation the more we practice.  That is why our mats command so much of our attention.  Unroll it and you will be drawn like a magnet.  To keep these vibrations contained, Swami Sivananda recommends “Have a separate meditation room and keep it under lock and key.” (#5 of his 20 Important Spiritual Instructions).  This may not be practical for all of us, but don’t we create a separate 12 square foot room every time we unroll our mats? Don’t we cringe if someone carelessly steps on our mat at the studio?  Haven’t you noticed a difference in your practice when using a community mat (how could I forget that?!! Well, we all do from time to time) or when breaking in a new mat?

Unroll your mat.  Do one teensy pose, do two hours of poses, sit still, breathe consciously.  I don’t care what you do.  Show up and unroll your mat.  That is a complete practice.  Let it sit open and try not to be motivated. 

Need some motivation to get to the mat?  Session 1 of my Student Training Program is coming soon!

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