Some Words from Kate
November 26, 2012
Some Words from Lisa T.
December 11, 2012

Practice is Freeing

But it can also be a frustrating and tiring process at times.  When we embark on challenges we often create expectations that bind deeply to our reasons for practice.  Expectations can be motivating, but they can also obscure insight and self growth.  Learning is not always buoyed by expectation because the value of the endeavour is already inherently implied by the expectation you have of it.  If you practice Yoga to get physically strong, what happens on days where you feel weak?  Be conscious of what you are asking of yourself and why you are asking it.  What do you expect from your practice?  This is such an important question.

Yoga is not responsible to you, or to your life.  Yoga practice should not be a refuge from unpleasant experiences nor the cause to have joyous ones.  Yoga is not required to teach or change you in any distinct way.  Yoga teaches always, it changes always.  The quality of Yoga practice is tuned sharply to the quality of listening that is taking place.  Most of the time, feelings of frustration or fatigue in practice arise from a friction that comes from feeling differently then how we want to.  How you feel is not nearly as important as listening to how you feel.  I am always amazed, in my own practice, at the vast amounts of time I spend trying not to feel exactly what I am already feeling in each pose, especially when that runs contrary to the expectations I have of myself that day.  That’s a hard thing to admit.  But this kind of listening requires a heaping dose of self honesty.

As you step into your fourth week of consistent practice, try not to feel differently.  Try not to try – just for a week.  Trying is not part of Yoga and it is not inherent to learning either.  You cannot try to do Yoga.  Yoga is effortless, even when effort is implied in the course of action.  When you walk or ride a bike, you do not try to walk or try to ride – though once you did try to do these things.  When you learned how to walk or how to ride, the trying stopped even though the effort to do either continues.  So to it is with Yoga.  Yoga is not a struggle; it requires no effort – though the pursuit of yoga can often feel effortful.

You do not learn Yoga – no matter how you try.  That is impossible.  You learn about yourself and this learning is called Yoga.  Attempting to learn Yoga without involving yourself – all of you – is like attempting to ride a bike by looking at it or attempting to walk by sitting down.  Learning or Yoga occurs when doing a thing becomes the same as not doing it.  This is not indifference it is freedom from expectation.  Freedom is a practice that is not responsible to you to meet certain standards and to which you are not responsible to meet certain standards.  As Vanda Scarvelli says, ‘it’s nothing more than a timely appointment for the mind and body to converge on the breath.’ The real irony is that you would probably be shocked at where such a philosophy lands you. Un-expect the expected.

Enjoy your practice this week.