Practice Makes Imperfection.

Via on Nov 8, 2010

“Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.” ~ Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois

Spiritual practice requires practice.

Matilde Zacchigna

This practice takes on a different shape and form for all of us.

Hatha yoga, sitting meditation, walking, eating mindfully, painting, traveling to unexplored places, running, knitting, and listening to music, for example.

No matter what your practice is, you must practice. The potent practice of mindfulness can occur in any moment; it only requires plain attention. It asks us to drop plans, projections, ideas and simply witness, perceive, and breathe.

Spiritual practice is more than the sum of its yoga, meditation, prayer, chanting, bowing, confessing or kneeling. It is developing greater mindfulness in every activity. It is developing mindfulness in every moment.

Although a daily sitting meditation habit is essential, ultimately, “spiritual practice” involves becoming mindful and equanimous when sitting alone in silence as well as in partnerships and groups.

Ultimately, everything is done with total presence and spacious awareness.

Presence is the oil that keeps our engines running. Truly, mere moments of meditation can make a world of difference on a hectic day. Be gentle with yourself, but continue to cultivate a committed spiritual practice. In time, with practice and perseverance, your life will be transformed.

What’s that you say? You don’t have time? You’re too busy?

I beg to differ.

You have nothing but time, and you choose how to spend that time. Habits can be broken or created.

If spiritual practice (also known as “being present”) enriches our lives and is the essence and the meaning of life — why is it so often inconsistent?

Like the moon, spiritual practice moves through phases. We experience greater and lesser strength and stamina depending on the year, day or moment. Time spent on activities stamped “spiritual” will, of course, vary week to week, month to month and year to year. Deepening your spiritual practice means becoming mindful and compassionate toward yourself during solitary meditation and compassionate toward all beings in all your interactions with them.

Breathe.

The breath is the most important thing. Deep, complete breaths. Full lungs, relaxed bellies. Natural exhalations. Breathing this way centers you, and it’s always good to be centered.

Yoga teaches our bodies to breathe more deeply as a habit. Without even thinking about it, we may begin to sigh or breathe more deeply throughout the day. Breathing with acute awareness of the breath and a pervading sense of gratitude for each inhale and exhale transforms your attitude and sense of well being.

Michelle Fajkus founded Yoga Freedom in November 2001 in Austin, Texas. She is blessed to have practiced yoga schmoga since 1993. A former advertising copywriter, she is now a freelance writer, international school teacher and mindfulness teacher. Michelle aims to make yoga a moving meditation that is accessible to people of all ages and body types. She currently lives and teaches in Guatemala City with her fierce Chihuahua, Lucy.

About Michelle Margaret

Michelle Margaret is an avid reader, writer, poetess, blogger: a longtime lover of words and languages, especially English and Spanish. She is an author and a yoga teacher. Her writing appears on elephant journal, Rebelle Society, Be You Media Group and her own blog. Michelle is an American expat living in Guatemala with her life partner and daughter. Connect with her on Google+ and Facebook.

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3 Responses to “Practice Makes Imperfection.”

  1. timful says:

    That has been one of the greatest lessons from yoga for me, that change happens in tiny steps if we persist. I used to imagine that my body was like a car, and I was behind the wheel. Now, I think it is more like riding a horse. I can guide it with my will, but it has a mind of its own and capabilities that are outside my direct control or understanding. With practice, these abilities change in ways that I cannot directly foresee or will to happen immediately. One day I find that horse can do a new trick. But only with practice.

    • yogafreedomfoundation says:

      What a wonderful metaphor. Thanks for reading and sharing this thoughtful comment. We can achieve so much, but "…only with practice."
      Namaste,
      Michelle

  2. Don says:

    One of the best lessons I learned from my yoga teacher was when someone asked her how often she practices yoga and her response was, "I am always practicing yoga, it just isn't always in the form of matwork." Now as I sit at work, remembering to breathe fully and sit up straight, I realize I too, am practicing yoga.

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