Trust the Practice.

Via Lauren Hanna
on Apr 24, 2012
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“Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.”

~ Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois

Sometimes landing on your yoga mat is less than sightly. You are completely unraveled, having completed a long day, doing whatever you do. Or, perhaps it is the beginning of the day and the first step of your morning is into a little puddle of kitty vomit. You approach the kitchen and are out of coffee. It’s Thursday and you realize you forgot to put the garbage out the night before. As you realize this, you run to the window to see the garbage truck riding away from your neighborhood.

Life is messy.

You had planned to go to yoga but you feel like you have so much work to do that you would be better off not going. You spend a while deliberating what the best thing to do is. In fact, you spend so much time deliberating this that you could have actually been doing something productive…like cleaning up the cat vomit that you just stepped into again.

But by some miracle you scrub your face, brush your teeth, throw some clothes on and drive the 15 minutes to the studio. You’re sorely tempted to find a coffee joint on the way, but you are already pressed for time. When you make it to the studio you have a moment of wishing you hadn’t come at all. You’re just not in the right mood.

Guess what? You’re in the perfect mood.

That’s the yoga.

Yoga is not just a state of asana. Yoga is a state of finding peace in a difficult moment, joy in an unpleasant day, tranquility in a busy atmosphere.

This is yoga.

Sometimes a student will say something at the end of a class to me like, “I was so off balance today, I’m embarrassed. I’ve just been so busy today, and ugh, maybe it’s the weather?”

I tell them with a smile,”That’s just the yoga.”

The yoga is working.

It’s the moment of wobbles and even the moments of supreme delight at mastery of a pose when we must come back to our purpose in yoga.

To find our truth.

Yoga is our way of unraveling all of the layers that keep us from living from our true selves every day. Getting to your mat is hard. Being on the mat is sometimes harder. But the hardest part of yoga of all may be understanding that the good and the bad is yoga. The judgments we make of ourselves, our teachers, our fellow students—this is all a part of the practice. There is a lot of freedom in discovering this aspect of yoga.

Notice the judgements you make on and off of your mat. Good and bad. Smile at them and just know that the process is working. You are unraveling the layers.

Trust the practice.



Editor: Brianna Bemel


About Lauren Hanna

Lauren Hanna, E-RYT 200, MSS Candidate, is a social worker by day and yoga ninja by night. It was in Pittsburgh that she first discovered the thrill of yoga and her love for social welfare and animal rescue work. With her cats Lotus and Calia in tow, Lauren hopes to someday combine her love for yoga and animal welfare with her career as a social worker. Lauren likes to dream a lot about saving the world – one puppy, kitten and human at a time. Lauren also loves cobblestone streets, arts & crafts, action movies and writing books with her Grandmother. If she had a billion dollars she'd probably spend it all here. Follow her @laurenfoste.


15 Responses to “Trust the Practice.”

  1. […] a little bit? Today, one of my favorite yoga teachers had a post on Elephant Journal called “Trust the Practice“: Yoga is our way of unraveling all of the layers that keep us from living from our true […]

  2. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posted to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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  3. Vinataa says:

    Nicely written and so true. Thank you.

  4. Rogelio says:

    Hmmm just an observation, why do you have to run off and go to class and practice yoga? you can save yourself time, energy stress, practice at home what you've learned in class once in a while…
    its like you dont have to go to church to pray, you can pray anywhere any time… same with yoga…

  5. Rajni Tripathi says:

    Awesome read! On those kinds of days, i always say to myself, 'just 5 min on the mat' and it turns out to be much more than those 5 minutes. Thanks for a great piece! 🙂

  6. ValCarruthers says:

    Yes of course that's true, Rogelio. But for some of us (at times myself included), going to class offers a distraction-free space—no kitty vomit to step in, no texting, no siren call of the fridge. Plus spending those 60 or 90 minutes with other yogis creates an energy that doesn't have to be competitive yet catalyzes one's own practice.

  7. ValCarruthers says:

    Fabulous, Lauren!

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Valerie Carruthers
    Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

  8. Hi Rogelio ~ I just meant that as an example 🙂 Not everyone gets their practice in a studio. I surely don't 75% of the time! Be well ~ Lauren.

  9. Thanks Val! 🙂

  10. thirtydaysofyoga says:

    I've just had that revelation recently but you put it far better than I could in my own head; thanks for posting this.

  11. YogiCrystal says:

    I know these feelings well, great post and thank you for the reminder. 🙂

  12. […] If you were able to give your younger self a piece of advice, a morsel of wisdom, what would it be? […]

  13. This article is simply amazing. Thank you 🙂