This is Why I Practice.

Via Frances Harjeet
on Mar 25, 2013
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Often when people find out that I have a serious Ashtanga yoga and meditation practice, they say things like, “Wow, you’re so good!”, “That’s impressive, that’s a lot of exercise!”, “You have so much discipline, I could never do that.”

These are nice sentiments, and so I politely respond with some words of gratitude mingled with a touch of self-deprecation (can’t seem to help myself.)

But, I don’t practice yoga because I am good or disciplined.

I don’t practice because I am righteous or virtuous. I certainly don’t practice because I am perfect or peaceful. Nor do I practice to impress you or to prove some inane point about my wonderful brilliant sparkly shininess.

I practice because without practice I am a mess.

I practice because it helps me see myself more clearly and it gives me the push I need to try harder and to love more.

I practice because it makes me feel incredibly strong and pathetically weak—both of which I am.

My practice shows me how powerful I am, and how completely powerless I am in the grand scheme of things.

I practice because, if I don’t, I’m even more reactive and distracted. Because I can be cruel and mean, Scorpio-stinging vicious actually,swami vishnu scorpion and that’s not cool. I don’t want to be like that—and so I practice.

I practice because I love the challenge and I love the grace.

I practice because I never want to stop learning or stop growing.

I practice because it helps me learn when to strive and when to surrender.

I practice because it puts things in perspective—it gives me a sense of humor and a sense of gravity.

I practice because I don’t want to sleep-walk through my life without a real authentic relationship with myself and my soul.

I practice because it keeps me sober, it keeps me real, it keeps me honest—brutally so.

I practice because it shows me just how far I have to go and it gives me the tools to keep going with faith and perseverance.

I practice because I need to. No one’s going to do it for me, no one can “fix” me or heal me except for myself and so I practice . . . every day.

My practice is a choice. But it’s not a pretty one.

It’s simply sink or swim, and I’m too stubborn to drown.


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About Frances Harjeet

Frances Harjeet was raised by a yoga mother and Republican father in a yuppie-hippie home and has spent most of her recent growing-up years adventuring around this beautiful world, engaging in various yoga, meditation and spiritual practices. Firmly rooted now in both Ashtanga and Kundalini Yoga, she values every day as an opportunity to delve deeper into these awe-inspiring traditions. A massage therapist, yoga instructor, musician and general admirer of all things beautiful, she loves sharing her passion for yoga, health and creative living with others through her blog Lila. here.


21 Responses to “This is Why I Practice.”

  1. Jess says:

    The most important reason to practice for me ,is the mental clarity you can achieve. Sometimes is the only way to deal with stressfull days.

  2. Jay says:

    GREAT article! Parallels this ashtangi's, albeit a newbie to the practice, sentiments. Thanks for writing!

  3. Michael says:

    For me it is like brushing my teeth. I don't brush my teeth regularly because I am disciplined, or because scientific studies demonstrate the health benefits. I just can't imagine not doing it.

  4. Frances says:

    thanks for reading jay! 🙂

  5. Frances says:

    Totally Michael…that's how I feel too. Sometimes I imagine what life would be like if I just up and quit my practice, honestly sometimes when it gets tough I wish I could, but I know that without some kind of a practice, life wouldn't be worth it. Plus, wouldn't it feel odd to never (metaphorically) brush my teeth again? 🙂

  6. allison says:

    This is fucking awesome

  7. Joe says:

    Well said. Thank you.

  8. Pete says:

    Yes. Very nice.
    We practice, not only for positive results, but to avoid becoming miserable.
    Not becoming unhappy can be very hard work.
    But the rewards are immeasurable.
    Thanks for sharing, your honesty has touched my heart.

  9. Frances says:

    Thanks Pete. Right you are! I fell over on my head this morning in practice and felt like a klutz, but I'm smiling now.
    I appreciate your comment.

  10. Tes says:

    Amazingly well said – Thank you for making my day

  11. Lalana says:

    Great article!!!

  12. Nick says:

    So wonderfully true. Thank you!

  13. Beautifully said and very true!

  14. Jodeen says:

    I love this post. Wish I had written it, but I will share it with all of my students. This rang loud and true for me on every level. I must practice or I am a mess, and I am still a hot mess much of the time anyway. Praise be for the yoga. Much love to you on your yoga/life/journey. Look forward to reading more of your offerings.

  15. athayoganusasanam says:

    Thanks Jodeen. So happy to share this with my community and I thank you for sharing it with your students.

  16. Darren [Australia] says:

    Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow – I couldn't have expressed why I do yoga and my own daily practice, any better myself. Thanks so much – Great article!!!!

  17. athayoganusasanam says:

    thanks darren! grateful for your kind words and support.

  18. Sybil says:

    So true. Will be printing this one out. Thanks.

  19. C hall says:

    I practice because it brings me peace

  20. sallympaul says:

    Spot on! I love this. 🙂