Practice is Everything

It’s called a practice because it’s not perfect.

yoga pic, practice not perfect

 

The other day I put up a photo of my meal prep Sunday. My caption said, “If I can do it, you can do it.”

Some friends of mine made fun of me. That I was nuts to not only think this, but to write it in a post. But what they don’t realize is that I literally couldn’t do many of of these postures. I owe it to writers and photographers who have captured others’ practice and made books and articles available so we can continue to learn from each other. I owe it to teachers who are fearless in putting new and exciting challenges together that are outside the yoga practice box. And lastly, I owe it to my will for pushing my body & my mind for listening and the trusting the bond between the three.         Mind Body Exchange, Baby.

The goal:

Hold Downward Dog and try to grab a hold of and bind alternate hand and foot. It seems utterly impossible at this moment. But, just like anything else.        You give it effort and it gives in.

 

 

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Me as a Yoga Teacher

Yoga: Connecting our Dots.

 Image result for yoga peaceWe empower this art with practice and intention.

Practice: We join each of our dots to become whole. 

Intention: We create what that whole image looks like.

We use the the body to still the mind.

I start at the scheduled time, what about you? We do not begin yoga cold, start deep breathing the minute you arrive- suck in the navel to activate the core in any way you feel is good for you to warm-up. Don’t know how? Just start by contracting your muscles, first your butt, then the muscles on the front of the legs, etc. Close your eyes and feel what’s under your skin. This is self-induced trance. Take it seriously.

I will not ask you to move fast, so don’t start racing with yourself or others around you.

This is the antithesis of yoga. Think like tortoise. Move like a tortoise. You will always take at least one full inhale and one full exhale for each posture before you transition out of it.

Vinyasa: to move. I will teach you how to trust Asana, as in the holding of one position and vinyasa the movement from one asana into another. This is only 1/8 of the Yoga Experience.

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Three tips to make your Yoga Transformation successful:

  • Common sense: This is not a “no-pain-no-gain” movement. This is ancient play. You are to be having fun – even in the most uncomfortable.

Do not force yourself into a pose. Asana is designed to dissolve emotional blockages trapped in your tissues. This is something that requires grace and patience. Think of it as loving yourself. We do not have the same body nor do we give or take love in the same way. None of us do. Postures may look very differently for each of us but the benefit is the same. If this is where your learning about yoga begins, welcome. I am happy to share this experience with you.

  • Commitment: This is a real place inside. You must make a decision to be here or there, wherever, and while yoga is about freedom. All freedom comes with great responsibility. You must listen to the ways that your body wants to move. You must balance intensity with sustainability. Transformational energy is already within you and yoga is about quieting the distractions that take you away from that commitment to yourself.

I will ask you to look around and make eye contact with someone. I will ask you to smile and celebrate their beauty and presence, in class- or the subway- wherever-whenever. Now look back at your own gaze and celebrate your presence. Sometimes we can get far from even the most enjoyable parts of ourselves.

  • Courtesy: Be courteous to your practice. It is called a practice because it is not perfect. Some days you notice what is going on in each pose, and some days you have to work for that awareness. Be courteous with each breath, but also with me as your guide.

We are constantly exchanging energy. Be courteous with every single person here.Do not sit and complain about your life’s struggles. No one can help you, but you. There is no talking in a yoga room/studio. Even if you and your immediate neighbor are happy to share, others are here for stillness. This is a time for them as much as it is for you. Let us grow together.

What Kind of Lifter am I?

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See Training Styles, How to Build a 6-week Program, High Intensity Variations, & Rep Schemes.

Each person has a different goal in mind when they train. While we are working with somewhat the same materials, we are not built the same, we do not have the same genetics, and we will not have the same results.

What works for one person may never work for you. You must be clear about what you want and if you have what it takes to work for that goal. 

Words to know: Load, Volume, Intensity, Strength, Power, Speed, Endurance.

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Training Modes:

Training is certainly not limited to these four. And as much as I have categorized them for you, on any given day all four of these modes of training can be exercise in the same session.

Task-Oriented Training:

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This is to practice, learn, and create muscle memory– aka adapt and become better at something like, balance, jumping rope, pull-ups, handstands, etc.

 



#weightloss

Training for Weight Loss: This is to consistently be working on improving the composition, shape and strength of your muscles, organs and awareness of your body, as well as the general health of your physical form.



#bodybuilderBody-Building:

These are people who are choosing exercises with based on muscle presentation and ‘pop.’ They are sometimes very strong, sometimes have endurance, but upon competing and the traditional usage of the word “body-builder” their training objective is mainly aesthetic. This kind of lifting are not limited to competitors. Many everyday people train this way. They have different goals and body types among this group are all trying to attain a particular look by building muscles and burning fat around this muscle.      



Total Body Conditioning:

These are people who may have been athletes earlier in their life or have found a way to balance fitness and activity into the demands of their work and familial responsibilities. They do not train one muscle group at a time as they are approaching fitness in a holistic way and incorporating all modes of fitness. Maybe it isn’t deliberate, but they just have a very nonchalant attitude towards fitness, or perhaps a short attention span and cannot focus on triceps and shoulders one day, and legs another, etc. Total Body Conditioning is the most flexible in terms of application and acquiring new patterns of movement.Image result for training fitness

 

 

 

Bow to your practice’s imperfections

Great teachers are few and far in between.

Good teachers are what most of us know and while they develop their practice, they share what they have learned on their journey.

They solve problems physically … like they unlock secret chambers of their body. You, for better or worse, have access to these same locks, obstacles, weaknesses and success.

So if you can, find a teacher that looks like she might share your body, your disposition, talk to him or her, ask them questions because you are a mirror for their progress in the journey. No Yoga. No Peace.

We call it a practice because it isn’t perfect.

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For a long time I thought this life was supposed to be complicated, that we’re supposed to build great names for ourselves. But of course that can be done with little effort. Just wake up and be kind. Be kind to yourself as much as you are to others.

And after you get the whole kind thing down, naturally you’ll have to rid yourself from expectation. No one owes you kindness back and so don’t take it personally if you aren’t well received, or they aren’t as giving as you had imagined they would. It is your practice to make healing grounds from what comes up in this life NOT a war story to commiserate and compete with the brutalities experienced by our neighbors. This cooperative intelligence is what we all rely on to pass our days.

Practice the art of not complaining, not about this moment and the pain endured presently, and not of future complications you anticipate, or reflections of memory.

Every moment counts. Time spent complaining is to waste precious moments on moments that have already passed.

 

#gratitude #noyoganopeace #wecallitpractice #namaste