Approach and Utilization of the Practice

by on August 28, 2019 · 0 comments

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It has been some time since I have posted anything. Most of my work has been one on one with some of my students as of late.

I did have a student that inquired about a subject that resonated with me and, through my response, I had obviously thought of this in depth without realizing it since I have encountered this many times in my own life.

The Question:

“Even though I have experienced amazing moments in yoga, I find lately that I’m reluctant to enter my practice because it seems like there’s too much pain and avoidance of pain in my life. Why is it like this and is yoga like this for others?”

I think that for many of us, we sometimes have the attitude of “I’m just not doing yoga today!” 

I encounter this, and sometimes I KNOW that yoga, or meditation is EXACTLY the solution to what I’m dealing with. I’m not sure why this reluctance is there, but sometimes it just is. For most of us, There’s always something that can, if allowed, easily take precedence over our practice. Family, Work, School, Laundry, etc. So, we place an importance on our practice. We assign it a time, and a space. Many of my students even say, the reason they pay for a studio practice is so they are obligated to do the yoga since it will not happen amidst all the chores at home that need to be taken care of.  So even then, sometimes that reluctance creeps in.

I’ve found that I utilize my practice in about three different ways. The abhyasa aspect of my practice often has roughly three intentions. Therapy, Maintenance and Embodiment.


Most of my daily life involves sitting at a desk, deeply consumed with coding. I get so hyper-focused with coding and projects that it is necessary to have a break timer that locks my screen every hour for 5 minutes. A chronically tense Psoas major called for this ritual of pushing things to the side and taking a break, and even stretching a few times out of the day. Besides being confined to a screen, I fly sailplanes on the weekend, which involves even more sitting, and meticulously getting into and out of an extremely cramped cockpit. And to ensure that I keep what strength I have left, I lift weights three days a week, and get in some cardio to keep my Doctor happy with my blood pressure.  I realize these things are not that physically demanding, but surprisingly, these activities sometimes cause tension, or some soreness, and in the case of the psoas, some intense lower back discomfort.

Often, my approach to my practice is to just work on these aches and pains. Sometimes I can spend 30 minutes foam rolling, or in some yin poses. For lower pack tension, I can work on decompressing the spine or working on core muscle groups. If you viewed from a distance, these practices may often look nothing like yoga.


I approached the physical side of practice over 12 years ago. I kind of approached this whole yoga thing in reverse. My meditation practice began in 1994, became a big center point in my life and only cultivated more questions. This path eventually led me to yoga. I fell in love with it immediately. I had gone several years with extreme focus on my career and took my physical health for granted. After one class of moving my body through it’s full range of motion, I was ecstatic to realize that experiencing the bliss of being could come through making a series of shapes with the body. Thought I knew right away that I felt different, other people in my life began to notice as time passed, that something was just different. I had regained health. Yoga teaches us that the absence of dis-ease is not an indicator of health.  My new indication of healthiness was a lightness in my step, and ease of movement and a feeling of being at home in my own skin.

In realizing how valuable this mode of living can be, and knowing the alternative is just feeling “icky” without yoga in my life, I maintain a practice to maintain health. And, yes, Sometimes I just want to get the practice over with and tackle the next item on my to-do list. But honestly, in knowing that this is how I approach the practice at times. I’ve made peace with suffering through my go-to vinyasa series.


Ahhhh… The good stuff. The ecstasy of yoga. The high. The flow. The Ikigai. Sunyata, Satori. Shiva, Shakti. All that goodness of prana flowing through the body. Perseverance? Grace? Equanimity? Yes, we can weave those qualities into our intention and experience the transcendental in our physicality. This is the cloth from which the Yoga Evangelical is born.

“OMG! You’ve got to try Yoga!”

We all know one. Maybe some of us were one at one point. This is how I got hooked. This is also why I still read everything I Can get my hands on that involves yoga. The history, culture, practice and anything involving all limbs of yoga.

Sometimes I come to the mat because I need to be ok. I need to remember that just being alive and having a body CAN (albeit I try to use the word should sparingly) Should Feel Good. This can be found in just 10 minutes of seated meditation. Occasionally, I find it in the playfulness of inversions. Other times just moving my body and listening to the information I receive is all that I need to reset my attitude and perception.

So, maybe you have more than 3 ways you approach your practice. I realize there could be many. But my utilization of yoga over the years has morphed into these three tools.

What are yours?

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