Friday, April 20, 2007

Detaching from Practice Expectations

In my last entry, I described my practice and the fact that I do something up to four times every day. How do I do it? Frankly, because I don’t have high expectations. It took my years to let go of my high practice expectations. Before kids, I had time for a leisurely practice with a lot of asanas (and time to work into the challenging ones) and hours of quiet for Pranayama and meditation. My life is very different now. Once I had my daughter, I kept waiting to “get back” to my practice. I defined practice as the hours of quiet and uninterrupted focus, quiet and focus that were no longer a part of my life. I put off any type of practice because I felt I needed the “old version” to “count”.

I had to let go of my original expectations and reevaluate what a practice was to me. How did I define it if it wasn’t about time? I realized my practice was about what I was doing to help myself spiritually and vibrationally. I wanted it to lift me up and help me live from a better place. I realized that not doing anything was robbing me of that experience.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I don’t have high expectations. You may have giggled at that statement, as if four practices each day aren’t high expectations. What I mean is I don’t expect perfection in any of my practices. I am okay with not doing some of my practices during the day (and occasionally an entire day goes by with nothing). I don’t expect to fit in all four. I can flow with our family life, with what is happening. In fact, that is one reason I have so many practices, I have options. If we are busy one morning, I can easily skip the meditation because I know I will do something before bed.

I also have low expectations for each practice. I often get my mat out and do a Tadasana and then find myself needed elsewhere, never getting back to my mat. I let myself be grateful for that Tadasana, not the 15 other poses I didn’t get to. If I am interrupted by my children during my meditation, I use the time as an opportunity to practice love and compassion, the point of meditation, not as a source of irritation because my meditation wasn’t perfect. Anything you do, one conscious breath a day, is taking you closer to calm and peace.

I frequently speak to my students about the importance of just doing something, even if it is a single pose. One pose can be considered a practice. Really. It all depends on your attitude around it. Remember why you are doing a practice. Whatever your reasons, I doubt you could argue that even one pose is a waste of time. Once you let go of your expectations, you would be amazed at what opens up for you.