Post image for P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E

April 24, 2012

prac·tice/ˈpraktəs/  Verb: Perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain (or dare I say perfect) one’s proficiency.

Throughout my life, the word “practice” has taken on many meanings and evoked many different emotions. In high school, the practice of track was fun and exhilarating, but not always a picnic. It was a great way to let off steam after school while flexing my competitive spirit. The practice of piano was another story altogether; I not only loathed it, but I lied to my mother and teachers about how long I had done it. Of course, now I’m kicking myself that I did not apply myself to practicing piano, because my repertoire of piano playing consists solely of a crappy version of Chopsticks.

They say practice makes perfect, and to most people I think the word conjures up duty, commitment, hard-work, struggle, and time spent doing something they wish they could master a hell of a lot quicker than all this damn practice is taking. Like me, are you a little guilty of wanting the perfection and wanting it now?

Well, in comes this thing into my life – this yoga thing –  and guess what? It’s affectionately referred to as…

Yoga Practice

I showed up to my first practice with a flimsy mat, crooked back, and curious beginner’s mind and knew immediately that there was no way I was going to perfect this practice. I may have been, oh hell, I’ll admit it, I was definitely the most inflexible student in the class, afraid to try more advanced poses, and was definitely not pushing myself to my edge. But something totally foreign was happening to me on my yoga mat; this yoga stuff never felt like “practicing” to me. I wanted to show up on my mat. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t get my heels to the floor in downward dog; I looked for ways to carve more time in my schedule for it and for more ways to bring its teachings into my life.

Funny how this word “practice,” when mashed up with yoga, takes on a whole new wonderful meaning.

Sirsasana II (tripod headstand) – one of my 2011 Yoga Victories

Every time I come to the mat, I get the gift of practicing yoga. If I had perfected it, how fun would that be? Never having anything new to learn, never that thrill of making it into a pose for the first time, never that satisfaction of holding an extra challenging pose for longer than I thought I could, never reaching that blissed out state I can get to when I really allow myself to let go and be present. I’m addicted to all those small yoga victories and can’t imagine what my yoga journey would be like without them.

I think one of the most important things to remember as students of yoga is this simple fact – Yoga is a practice. You have the rest of your life to practice and grow in it. No need to beat yourself up if you can’t touch your toes or do a handstand. Instead, repeat this mantra: How cool is it that there’s still so much to learn about yoga? I have the rest of my life to go on this amazing yoga journey.

Take your time, learn to breathe, turn off your internal critic, turn up the corners of your mouth, smile, be curious, explore, and embrace your yoga practice.

Piano Photo:  Ben Goerz

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Thais April 24, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Love this and exactly how I feel <3


Becca @ Peace, Love & Bagels April 24, 2012 at 8:54 AM

amazing. I feel like you just read my mind. Practicing yoga for me is a whole different world than lacrosse practice ever was. Isn’t it amazing?


Alissa April 24, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Beautiful post, Maria! That’s what keeps me going – the journey of lots to learn!


Emily April 25, 2012 at 10:40 AM

This is a really great blog! Thank you so much for sharing I will deffinetly be back!


Julia April 26, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Well said! I experience something new, be it tiny or huge, every time I come to the mat. Always something to look forward to. Namaste. 🙂


Maria @dailydownwarddog April 27, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Woo Hoo – feeling the Facebook and blog love today! Thanks to everyone who stopped by and shared the DDD love yesterday – YOU ROCK! Now get out there and practice some yoga 🙂


Terra May 6, 2012 at 11:35 AM

This was great to read today, I needed it. I can sometimes beat myself up for not being great at yoga, yet I adore yoga in my day:-) Take care, Terra


petananda January 19, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Follow your breath as it leads to your inner smile
Let your movements naturally unfold awhile
Until your own unique pattern emerges
Thats where abundant life, love, energy surges.


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