Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sense of Urgency--The Need for Creating a Home Practice

“Practice and Detachment are the means to still the fluctuations of the mind…And this practice will become firmly rooted when it is cultivated skillfully and continuously for a long time”
~Yoga Sutras of Patañjali I.12,14

This is a picture of a clock in the kitchen of The French Laundry, one of the top restaurants in the world. (Caveat and apologies-I pulled this image from Google and do not have photo credit info). Every time someone in that kitchen looks at the clock, they are reminded that time is valuable.

Swami Sivananda writes anecdotally that he has known some students who focus totally on asana practice and neglect meditation, saying they will do that when they are older. Swami S. chastises this attitude and encourages students not to wait because there is no guarantee that tomorrow will come.

How many times have you approached your practice and said “I don’t feel like it today, I’ll do it tomorrow?” How many times have you thought “Well, I really should practice,” or “I wish I had practiced?” 

I have been there, too. 

I can say with complete honesty that there are days I did not practice and wished I had, but I have never once come away from practicing thinking “Boy I wish I hadn’t practiced today.”

We have a very short time to do a very large amount of work.  In a restaurant kitchen, especially a 3* Michelin kitchen like the French Laundry, there is so much work to be done.  Perfection is a requirement, not an option, and the guests are waiting.  Every dish must be executed with speed, precision, and finesse. We need to cultivate this mindset with our yogic practices as well.  The main difference though: Cooks know what time service starts. The deadline is well defined.  In yoga, we do not know when ‘time’s up,’ so we need to take advantage of every opportunity to build our practice.

We can make great strides by cultivating a home practice.  A little bit every day will move us much farther along than practicing a lot one day a week, or practicing a lot during one week of yoga vacation then not doing anything for weeks.

Practicing at home, on your own, with no teacher watching or motivating you is the single best thing you can do for your practice.  A little movement—no need to try handstand lotus, Sun Salutations are quick and easy—and a little sitting still; that’s all you need to start with.

I have a great idea.  Why not come to my workshop on Saturday, March 8th and learn how to create a home practice?  We’ll talk, we’ll do, and I’ll make sure you have a nice little tool to take home with you.

How do I know my method works?  Because I do it. I have been practicing at home, near daily, for about 10 years.  The method I’m presenting is what I do, only shorter—this is only a starting point, a seed which will grow with time.   No untested theory, no flavor of the month sequencing, no blind retelling of a celebri-yogi’s dvd.  This workshop is based in my own direct experience which has been cultivated and has evolved over time. My sincere hope is that by creating a habit, you will find enjoyment and the motivation to make this practice a part of your life.

Do not wait! Start to build your home practice today!

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