“we learn by practice, whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing, or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same, in each, it is the performance of a dedicated, precise set of acts, physical or intellectual from which come the shape of achievement, the sense of one’s being, the satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area, an athlete of God. Practice means to perform over and over again, in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire.”
– Martha Graham
I have been incredibly inspired by the dedicated community of yogis here at Lila as the studio fills day in and out with crowds of folks ready to move and be in their bodies. Though the summer days and evenings in Maine are quite remarkable and worth striving to sip in every last moment en plien air, many of you still have carved the time and space in your schedules to commit to your own practice, on your mats and in community at Lila.
A crew of folks joined Brett and I on a glorious sunny Saturday to practice inversions. For two hours we did just that, practiced. Brett and I shared techniques and tools to help folks deepen their understanding and strengthen their confidence to play in handstand, headstand, forearm stand, and tripod headstand. Even after a full 2 hours of play and incredibly focused practice, folks were still yearning and eager to “give it just one more go.”
We were so inspired by the showing and engagement during the offering, that we have decided to continue to offer mini workshop clinics on how to take your asana practice to the next level. Check out Brett’s workshop this August on Backbends and stay tuned for more joint offerings from Genell & Brett this fall as well as a plethora of other workshops this fall and winter that will continue to guide you deeper into your own asana practice.
Through dedicated practice we all evolve, individually and collectively. We feel stronger, more stable, and more connected to ourselves and to what is really important.
The more I practice the asana practice and connect with my breath, challenge myself to step to the threshold of openings to find space and listen to the honest and truth of my body, mind, and heart, I believe I become a better person. My time on my mat keeps me connected to a feeling of being whole, being steady, practicing patience, and listening to the truth of how I am experiencing the moment. I find myself off my mat using these tools of deep presence and listening in situations such as heated conversations where my small self knows “I am right,” or when the situation arises where my master plan of how the world should flow, act, and behave does not do as I would assumed it should have. My awareness and understanding of my self has expanded from my small self to include a bigger self that is more aware of the vastness of the universe and the fluid nature that we all have to grapple with to maintain freedom from suffering, anger, angst, and gross behavior. Just like we pause in our asana practice and breathe when places are tight, the same thing is true in life off the mat, practicing a simple pause, deep breath, and space in these situations can shift the perspective that all of a sudden what seemed to be the end of the world is actually not such a big problem after all. This certainly takes practice.
Be it yoga asana (poses), training for a marathon, the way you communicate with your loved ones, simple tasks such as the practice of flossing your teeth, or making your bed, or more personal, the practice of truly being kind to your self, whatever it be, what you commit to practicing begins to form your reality. So, why not practice with kindness, vigor, compassion, steadfast determination, and love for the things you truly desire to have present in your reality, in your life.