“We’re talking about practice.” – Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson’s quote about is best listened to. His tone is disdainful and dismissive of practice. After all, people didn’t pay to see Allen Iverson practice.
I just estimated that over the last nine years when I began to practice yoga in earnest that I have completed 2,700 practices. But when I wrote that figure in my journal, I didn’t believe it. I’m sitting here now and I am tying to work out why I doubt my own math.
I’m in the middle of my staycation week. The time found me to write that down because I am not going to work today. But if I were, I would do a five to eight minute yoga practice beforehand. The morning practice, the short one is focused more on creating energy, utilizing quicker core based asanas. I do this five days a week.
Yesterday evening, I did evening practice in my garage, my sacred space. I did my “relax and release” practice. It is a 20 minute session mainly of asanas that are held a breathe or two longer and performed with the intention of letting go of the day. I did this practice simply to help me unwind after a busy staycation day.
Sundays I will go nuts and do my self guided 40-50 minute practice, also in my garage space. I do this if I haven’t gone to the hour long yoga class at my fitness center on Saturday.
All this to say that I practice yoga daily. I do take one day off a week though. Even something as beneficial as yoga is best served when put aside.
I’m sitting here now, still in the process of not getting ready for work and I am tying to work out why I still doubt my own math. Math was never my strong suit but nine times three hundred is fairly approachable stuff.
But yoga isn’t about getting ready for the game, or any certain defined destination. And its not about adding them up your practices to see what the total is.
But It strikes me that if you did anything else that many times, you’d have something to show for it. But then my yoga practice is not something that is not performed with intention of showing it to others.
Also, yoga isn’t set up to get right, finish or complete. It is one continuous practice, broken down each day. You don’t accumulate anything along the way. It is maintenance free. If you accumulate, buy or own something, you have to maintain it. Even after 2,700 practices, yoga doesn’t require any maintenance.
That isn’t enough justification to keep practicing something that many times. I’m sure Allen Iverson practiced at least that many times on his way to the NBA. I’m not going to the NBA by practicing yoga. Heck, I’m not even going to work later.
In just a few minutes I will find my way to my mat for practice 2,701. I can’t put my finger on exactly why. I do feel I have gotten better over the years. Like I said, I am capable of guiding myself for about an hour on the mat. I recognize all the benefits post practice, both physical and mental. If anything, all the practices allow me to access those benefits in a shorter time period these days.
Even that does not lend itself to a clear jumping off point. I realize I’m using a very narrow definition of yoga here. It is the exercise flow yoga we have come to know in the west. The attempt to understand that small part of what yoga is has beaten me today.
I never will beat yoga, no matter how many times I practice. I am relieved to know that however. Not sure I want to even try.
Maybe that is all I needed to know to get me back on my mat today, where I can continue my practice. I was never any good at math anyway.
Such a beautiful post. I see the practice as rent I have to pay each day, even though there may be nothing to show for it. Sisyphus’s rock comes to mind, but in a good way.
For me, that’s writing and exercise. Those are things I do every day only for the practice, without having something to show for it, because other than the odd manuscript or two, I can’t really ‘show’ my writing. I don’t even know if I’ve even improved.
Anyway, thanks for this food for thought!