Often when people find out that I have a serious Ashtanga yoga and meditation practice, they say things like, “Wow, you’re so good!”, “That’s impressive, that’s a lot of exercise!”, “You have so much discipline, I could never do that.”
These are nice sentiments, and so I politely respond with some words of gratitude mingled with a touch of self-deprecation (can’t seem to help myself.)
But, I don’t practice yoga because I am good or disciplined.
I don’t practice because I am righteous or virtuous. I certainly don’t practice because I am perfect or peaceful. Nor do I practice to impress you or to prove some inane point about my wonderful brilliant sparkly shininess. I practice because without practice I am a mess.
I practice because it helps me see myself more clearly and it gives me the push I need to try harder and to love more.
I practice because it makes me feel incredibly strong and pathetically weak—both of which I am. My practice shows me how powerful I am, and how completely powerless I am in the grand scheme of things.
I practice because, if I don’t, I’m even more reactive and distracted. Because I can be cruel and mean, Scorpio-stinging vicious actually, and that’s not cool. I don’t want to be like that—and so I practice.
I practice because I love the challenge and I love the grace.
I practice because I never want to stop learning or stop growing.
I practice because it helps me learn when to strive and when to surrender.
I practice because it puts things in perspective—it gives me a sense of humor and a sense of gravity.
I practice because I don’t want to sleep-walk through my life without a real authentic relationship with myself and my soul.
I practice because it keeps me sober, it keeps me real, it keeps me honest—brutally so.
I practice because it shows me just how far I have to go and it gives me the tools to keep going with faith and perseverance.
I practice because I need to. No one’s going to do it for me, no one can “fix” me or heal me except for myself and so I practice . . . every day. My practice is a choice. But it’s not a pretty one.
It’s simply sink or swim, and I’m too stubborn to drown.