Practice. That is often how we talk about yoga or yoga therapy. How is your yoga practice going? What does your yoga practice look like? What does practice mean? In the literal sense, it means “the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method, as opposed to theories relating to it” or “perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly to improve or maintain one’s proficiency” (Definitions from Oxford Languages)
I see yoga, not as just an exercise but a practice I want to apply to all the areas of my life, and so often, this is so challenging on so many levels. Have you ever taken a yoga class and been so “zen” and relaxed and calm? And 5 minutes after class, you lose patience with your partner or your child or customer service representative who is not helping you with your issue?
I will be honest with you; I want yoga to be a romance movie with a happy ending so often. I want to mediate and “hold space of people.” I love my yoga therapist – yes, I have my own yoga therapist. He keeps it real. “Drop all that yoga mumbo jumbo! What do you mean ‘hold space’ for someone – what does that really mean, what does that look like?” He reminds me that yoga from the yoga sutras is mostly for ordinary yogis. For everyday life. It’s a guide to help me navigate my daily life. Yoga off the mat. What does that look like? It means ahimsa “respect for all living things and avoidance of violence toward others.” (Definitions from Oxford Languages) How does it play out in PRACTICE, and why is this so hard? It means not lashing out at your partner or kids when you have nothing left in your tank, and they are pinging you. It means finding a way to walk away and regroup and find a way to express how you feel in a way that is “without violence” – dare you even share your frustration with kindness. It’s also not stuffing down your anger and being violent to yourself. It is having boundaries and not allowing others to needless hurt you.
Off the mat yoga is the hardest yoga I have ever done or will ever do. It might be hard to do a handstand or other fancy inversions but finding the strength to respond in kindness when you are hurt or scared or red hot with anger requires a lot of yoga PRACTICE.
What is your practice today? Mine is asking for what I need with kindness and detaching in love no matter what happens. I will be practicing this for the rest of my life, and I will also only practice this just for today. A lifetime comes one day at a time. I will do my practice one day at a time. How about you? What can do you do just for today?
Just for today:
I choose kindness
I choose calmness
I choose love
I choose to PRACTICE
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