Joyful Practice

When I was back in high school playing sports, I had the unfortunate habit of cursing, in the most unflattering and ungraceful way.  If I missed a three point shot, I very often found “Mother f*#cker” emerging from my sweet lips, by default.  Now, where did that start?  I’m not sure when it became habit for me to dive into fancy-free-cussing mode when missing a shot, but sure enough, the refs became aware of it, and I received a handful of warnings.

A habit has to start somewhere, and they are a biatch to break.  Once those habits are set in stone within the mind, they are there for good.  UNLESS you choose to go back in, chisel away, and restructure the workings of your mind.  It’s possible, but it requires a lot of work.

While I’ve broken the unfortunate habit of cursing when I mess up, it shows up every once in awhile when I least expect it.  Sometimes it rears its head in improvisation class when the teacher calls me out on something, and then I catch myself doing it again.  Oh f*ck!  I go from sweet to…whatever the hell that is, in less than five seconds.  I flash a smile immediately after to remind everyone I am, indeed, sweet, despite the outburst.

The physical practice of yoga, asana, can be a looked at as a microcosm of the way in which we move about life.  When a difficult pose shows up in class, how do you approach it?  Do you curse when you fall out of it?  Do you dread its approach?  Do you find yourself in the posture thinking of everything else, trying to distract yourself from the actual pose?  The way in which you approach a posture, carries into life.  Very often the response you have in a difficult posture is the response you have during difficult situations in life (only magnified).

If you find yourself in a difficult posture, why not sit with it and observe.  Don’t run from it, curse it’s existence, or be too hard on yourself.  It can only get easier.  How frustrating was it learning the alphabet when we were young? And then learning how to spell?  We forget how difficult those were to engrain in ourselves, and now they are part of our everyday existence.

If you practice joyfully, or at least attempt it, it’ll eventually become habit.  Joy will become the default mode vs. struggle.  Don’t curse it.  Invite it as a lesson, learn from it, and move forward…with a smile.

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