Practice Makes Perfect

(photo taken by Hansel)

Yoga Sutra 1: With humility (an open heart and mind) we embrace the sacred study of Yoga.
–translation: Nischala Joy Devi
from The Secret Power of Yoga

“Now begins the practice of Yoga.” I tell myself this numerous times a day. I spilled a bowl of soup on the floor (“Now begins the practice of Yoga.”). The goofball in the Hummer tried to run me down as I crossed the street with my dog (“Now begins the practice of Yoga.”). I step into the shower and its a bit too hot (“Now begins the practice of Yoga.”). Hansel came home from a rough day at work and wants to vent (“Now begins the practice of Yoga.”). This first, extremely simple sutra in the Yoga Sutras, asks us to notice how each aspect of our life can be transformed into a sacred study of Yoga–transformed into an opportunity to manifest joy and connect with the Divine within ourselves.

I find myself saying this mantra more often the past few days. School, or in other words, “work” has already begun in a sense. I’ve spent hours working on lesson plans and trying to get a head start on paperwork. I’ve started to check my “work” email, and that’s usually when I have to remind myself that now begins the practice of Yoga. Because, that’s what it is. Every uncomfortable, upsetting, negative situation that presents itself is simply an opportunity to PRACTICE Yoga. I don’t mean jumping into a warrior pose or triangle. Just practice connecting with that same peace and sense of bliss I connect with sitting in meditation, standing in tree pose, or especially laying with my legs up the wall (if you haven’t tried it, you must…especially before going to bed.) That sense of joy we experience in whatever it is we do—creating, cooking, writing, making love, it never leaves us…it’s always there. We are that joy, that divine bliss. It’s just not until we settle our minds, quiet the stories, closet up our demons for awhile that we can touch it so purely.

In all truth, saying Now begins the practice of Yoga doesn’t always keep me from feeding into the negative or toxic situation, but it does keep me centered in the present. It helps me realize that I can make a decision–to keep perpetuating suffering, or to practice Yoga and connect with the Divine part of myself. To choose love.

Erica says the same thing in her life, just in the words: “Inhale…exhale.” Whatever it is, that little mantra or affirmation we say that keeps us centered, it is sacred. It is our compass pointing us back to the joy that is our true nature…our Soul.

Peace & Love.
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