Reflections on Practice
This is a video featuring my beloved teacher, Paul Dallaghan, from Samahita Thailand (formerly known as Yoga Thailand), and with whom I did my teacher training with. He is an inspiration, so I'll let his artwork of wise words speak for themselves and touch your heart. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udcqDvq840A]
I still love practice. To date I have not missed a day out of interest, commitment and love. From the early years of discipline practice transforms into a mature relationship--one of clarity and joy--that can only come if you keep it up. All else is mere speculation and empty words. One goes through something that requires regularity over time--a long time.
Practice has changed me for the better. Practice is working on yourself. You must look at yourself, your habits, selfishness and prejudices, your levels of attachment and fear. Pracitce has a purpose--to help you undo conditioned patterns, to be free. It's not easy, but it's worth it.
Opening my day is key to my practice. It is also key to my day. Take time to sit. Offer thanks, feel gratitude. Do you appreciate all in your life? Do you value all in your life? Those close to you? It is easy to take them for granted. Do you value the challenges you face? These shape our learning.
Ask for forgiveness--"I am sorry." Really mean it, so it's from the heart. I'm sorry, forgive me. Feel that in your heart. Likewise offer forgiveness. Heal the space between you and the other. It's time to let go.
Ask for help. When you ask it comes. Be sincere. Your heart speaks. Ask for clarity so you can see what's needed. Ask for that guidance. Ask for inner strength to follow it. Be open and humble. Ask for help. These are the foundations of practice for me.
To do practice is not enough. Practice with awareness, practice with understanding. Do it regularly. Do it diligently. Connect with what you are doing. Feel it. Be in it. It is a relationship with yourself. Practice brings you to you. You get to know yourself. You get comfortable with yourself. But only by taking the time to work on yourself, practice.
Practice is more than asana. Practice is the entire meditative process--one of transformation, real inner development. Asana is an important part of this process. Asana develops and cultivates the base, the space for inner work and change, yet at the same time, asana helps bring about that change. When you do asana, feel it. Be with your breath. It doesn't require thinking, you just need to be present. Then you are in it, you feel it. Reflect on what you are doing. It will help you to understand more. With greater understanding, you can be more in your practice. This goes beyond experience. It's a part of the process. Connection, going within. Asana can open this journey to you. Continue further with sitting practices. Sitting includes pranayama. All of this is part of the meditative process. So what you practice develops over time. Inner change, the meditative process can only develop if you keep it up regularly.
Make a conscious decision today. To do it, to keep at it. For you, for others. Get up, do it. You are not too busy. You have the time. Thirty minutes is better than nothing. Daily offer thanks. Daily ask for forgiveness. Daily ask for help. Daily sit and be with the breath. Some days full asana practice. Some days light asana practice. Then check in with the teacher. This is how practice works and grows. In time pranayama becomes the key. Learn it properly. Then practice it regularly. The Kriyas can support this process, but pranayama transforms you--only if you keep it up.
I wish my experience of practice for you. I DO the practice but it has been shaped by my teacher, wife and kids. Eternal love and gratitude. May you and all be happy and free. Feel love, experience joy. Do it so we can share it :-).