Over the last several months or so, I have been learning why people say that they “practice” yoga and meditation rather than a more action-like “do.”
Could Michael Jordan hit that beautiful fadeaway jumper the first time he picked up a basketball? How about the first time you sat behind the wheel of a car, turned the key, shifted into drive and gingerly pressed ever so slightly on the gas? Could you drive as well as you can today? Think about what you do for a living. What do you do all day – raise your children? Tend to patients? Deliver international news? Shoot photography? I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that you do whatever you do significantly better now than you did the first time through.
I attended my favorite Tuesday afternoon Yin yoga session this afternoon following a smooth-ish morning in the office and what would normally have been a stressful and crunched 45 minutes between leaving work, stopping through the grocery store, getting home and changing out of scrubs and into yoga clothes (practically the same level of comfort), getting back in the car, finding parking, and making my way to the place waiting for me to stop and be still, my mat. *exhaaaaaaaale*
I arranged my mat and props for beginning meditation and set myself into Supta Baddha Konasana, which is my preferred opener. My knees were relaxed on the blocks, my chin in a neutral position, slightly tucked under and I began to breathe. Inhale 1, Exhale 1. Inhale 2, OMG! I left the office in a hurry, did I forward the phones? Did I even clock out? Stop. Acknowledge the thought. You can come back to it later. Inhale 1, Exhale 1. Inhale 2, Exhale 2. InAck! My allergies are making me batty! Can’t forget to go to CVS on the way home. But what if it rains? I wore my mocs, not my flip flops! WAIT! Stop! You didn’t fret about getting here, you even made it before the instructor. Stop. Acknowledge. Come back later.
I managed to get in a few solid moments of meditation and then had an amazing practice. Certainly, Savasana and I would have a wonderful few moments. Nope. All those things I pushed aside earlier came back to remind me not to forget them. Instead of getting frustrated, I opted to surrender rather than fight it, thus continuing to practice.
Everything we do in our lives is practice, always improving. Sometimes improving involves some stumbling blocks so that we continue to develop rather than becoming stagnant. Sometimes practice is easy and sometimes it’s not so easy. From either experience, we grow. The art of practicing is part grow and part stumble with the key component being the words, “continue to” in front of grow and stumble. Namaste