212: How to deepen your practice ( whatever your practice is)

Most of us enter yoga through Asana. Asana is another word for postures or poses. Maybe someone tells us to try yoga for our back or stress and we give it a go. To start with it is all physical. We are grasping with technique and alignment, the learning curve is high. We fumble through our first few classes usually at the back in case someone sees us. We make furtive glances at others and in the mirror to check we look ok. It is all very external.

yoga practiceBut then what happens? We can now make the shift to take our practice deeper or we can keep it as a form of hamstring lengthening. Our choice. Here are some suggestions to take your practice further whatever you do. In your job, in your relationships, playing sport or doing yoga.

Practice: There is no avoiding this as obvious as it may sound. We can’t learn to play the piano by listening to others or reading books. We can’t get better at anything that we just dabble in. A weekend warrior. No, we have to practice and by that I mean everyday. And we have to fail. Alot. And then we have to get back on the horse and practice again. Some of it is going to be shocking some of it great. Nothing should deter you. If you are writing you need to sit down and do it. Or even turn on your computer and type I must practice every day over and over again. If it is yoga you need to roll out your mat every day. Studies were done on those who did 10 thousand hours practice and it was found that the brain actually changes after this amount of practice. Whatever you are doing becomes more fluid and ingrained within you.

Teachers: Find a good teacher one that resonates with you. You can do all the home practice you like but if you don’t get feedback or new perspective then you flatline. We need others to see us for who we are and to take us to the next level. We need teachers for encouragement and support. We need them to give us suggestions and keep us on the path. If your teacher is not working for you find a new one.

Read: Widely. Get everything you can on your subject and  research it well. Think about ideas and take notes. Encourage your brain to feed and want more. Read around the subject. If it is yoga maybe read philosophy. If it is tennis read about psychology. Get the information but remember it is only knowledge unless you practice it. Try to integrate what you learn into your practice.

Internalise: Take time to self study. Be with yourself and try to understand what it is about you that makes this unique to you. Be a pilgrim. Travel on your path and make changes to aspects of yourself that need refining. Discover what your blocks to your greatness are. Be really in tune with what motivates and inspires you. Use these cues to commit to your practice .When the practice becomes harder or you fall a bit off the track know why that has happened and what you need to do to keep going.

Practice for today: Find ways to deepen what you love. When your hamstring blows or your hips pop maybe you won’t be able to do the poses but you will have so much more to turn to. When we deepen our practice we take ourselves to new levels of understanding and growth.

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