Practice and all is coming – This is a sentence we hear teachers say in class all the time. I always knew what it meant and accepted it, but I never really let it sink and resonate with me. Until today.
I went to an upside down handstand focused workshop with one of my fav’ London based teachers Marcus Veda. Anyone who knows me, knows I love of being upside down and handstands in particular. Marcus started the class with a talk about expectations and how long (years) it has taken him to work up to where he is – an anti-gravity ninja for anyone who hasn’t been to his classes. I agreed with it all. I say it to my students all the time – We are not meant to master all of the poses, there is always somewhere else to take your practice, there is no end result or destination, it’s all in the practice, Abhyasa – slow and steady effort in the direction you want to go, you won’t be any happier when you can handstand the whole shebang. I say it AND MEAN IT in class all the time.
And yet today I realised in my own practice I am often not taking this on board. I have been working, admittedly at times half-heartedly, to press to handstand for over 2 years. And I am still exactly where I was 2 years ago. No progress at all. Today after the workshop I spoke to one of the teachers feeling frustrated about this lack of progress and looking for the quick fix secret to it all.
And then it hit me. I am, like so many of us, always looking for the quick fix for it all. I started looking at decisions I make all the time. Always seeking the quickest way to what I want. Always looking to lose weight fast, to build strength fast, progress my teaching fast, progress poses, have the house, have new skills, the list goes on. I put so much pressure on myself to be everything I want to be now that often I am blinded by the to do list, the quick fix, the need for speed and achievement. Missing the very journey, the very challenge and struggle I bang on about to my students.
One of my teachers in Australia used to speak to this a lot. About how it is the struggle that defines us, not the end result. And today was a good reminder for me that all the best things to happen in my life have always been unplanned, unexpected, unforced. I moved to Australia, with 6 weeks’ notice. I became a Yoga teacher at 28, having only found yoga a couple of years earlier. Often in busy cities like London, we can feel like we have to press on to achieve to compete, to stand out from the crowd. Like there’s a limited number of spots where we want to be. But when we reach whatever goal it is we have set ourselves, we are still exactly the same person we were before. We still feel the same, the goalpost may move but the drive, the pressure never goes away.
Recently I have taken on a lot and my yoga practice has slipped a little as a result. Today has been a great reminder of why I need my practice and what it gives to me. My practice is my constant throughout the crazy. My safe place to unwind. My place to rebalance and express myself. When I focus on being present, and being in whatever my practice is that day – meditation, Yin at home, a class in a studio, all the poses, all the goals don’t matter. All that matters is that breath, that movement, that moment. I now realise, that the phrase PRACTICE AND ALL IS COMING is because when we truly land in our practice we have it all. Its already there. We are able to access this pure calm within where those goals become less important. Where we tune in to ourselves, how we feel what we need and move from a different place.
Keep practicing, keep learning, and keep open to discovering more about yourself and keep giving yourself time for reflection to let things be. Because sometimes the practice is actually in a different direction than where you first imagined it to be, and sometimes you already have all you need. The truth really is PRACTICE AND YOU WILL REALISE YOU ALREADY HAVE IT ALL.