Take Me To Church

Memoirs of a Downward Facing Dog

There are times when I forget to practice. It’s not that I forget, rather, because every day there is an opportunity to choose to step on my mat. And for some of you, this is not a choice. It’s like brushing your teeth or wiping your butt after you poo. So let me refine—for those of you with good hygiene—practice is not a choice.

But for me, a regular yoga practice ebbs and flows. More often than not, it ebbs. Like the back-sucking of the waters’ edge right before a tsunami.

If I am teaching, I take class, yes. But taking class and practicing are two different things. Taking class implies going through the motions, finding proper alignment, breathing at the appropriate times, gaining glimpses of stillness, or at least, appearing to do so, but probably you are wondering why the instructor has to talk so much or if only you could tell the person next to you to soften their shoulders a little bit more, or does my belly look fat or goddammit why can’t I stick this handstand?!

Practice, however is moving inquisition. An investigation stimulated through form, but entirely independent of form. Practice is curiosity without judgment. Practice is paying attention. The ability to acknowledge the limitations and then to sit with them. The clarity to be able to see ourselves with authenticity and to recognize where we might be able to edit, refine and change. To seek the resources we need to sustain and to stop habituating the patterns that are a waste of our time and energy. Practice is a willingness to grow.

And lately, I suck at practice.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the distractions. To prioritize the emails, the details, the flirtations and the frustrations over the moments that afford you the ability to listen. To the birds. To the frogs in the middle of a rainstorm. To your intuition. To your heartbeat pulsing in your eardrums.

I forget to practice until I remember: that space is always there. That voice is always audible, the inquisition is worth your time and the relationship with yourself matters…..

And when I make the choice. When I remember, when I listen…it’s like an altar, a choir, a enormous room full of stained glass and reverberating light…



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tanis D.
    Mar 23, 2015 @ 16:32:30

    I’ll be honest, there are many times I get the e-mail notification that your new blog entry is out, and I delete it. I’ve hidden from my practice for a long time and not reading your blog is one those symptoms of hiding. But today I opened it. I know practice ebbs and flows and I too lean more towards the ebb. It gives me peace and reassurance to know I am not the only one that does this. I hide from practice because I know it’s the one thing that will quiet the ego, and let my soul shine. Because I don’t want to deal with heaviness in my heart. But today I will practice. I will honor my body and my breath and if things come up, they come up.

    Thank you. Namaste. _/\_


  2. Jennifer Reed
    Mar 23, 2015 @ 17:17:52

    Tanis–I hope that today’s practice leaves your heart light and full of space. Thank you for writing. Thank you for reading.


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