You've heard the phrase practice makes perfect. Then, at some point it was probably qualified as perfect practice makes perfect. The simple truth is that practice makes more of whatever we're practicing whether it be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc. To complicate the situation, all of those elements are at play whenever we are practicing anything.
When we practice asana, we are focused on the physical body, but we are also cementing our relationship to the practice, the thoughts in our mind, what we think about how we are doing, and an infinite number of other situations.
Simply put, the practice of yoga should be noticing these patterns and detaching from them. When we practice asana, we first learn to notice something like what postures we love and what postures we hate. If we're able to remove these mental associations, we can make progress without deepening our reactions. Without this crucial piece of the practice, we are deepening the control that the mind has on us, rather than softening it.
As teachers these patterns become more obvious. You start to observe where people put their mat day after day, how they fix their shirt after each standing backbend, how they do a small backbend after Standing Head to Knee, or how they are always thirsty before Triangle. These patterns represent all of the things we've practiced without meaning to. If these are the external patterns, you can imagine how complicated it is on the inside!
As practitioners, we have to do this work ourselves to the best of our ability. We have to notice what we are practicing and adjust accordingly. Otherwise we spend a lot of time working in the wrong direction. Practice makes practice.
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga. This blog is about their experience with yoga practice, study and teaching.
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