Is My Practice Working?

by Karina Guthrie.

Life is full of peaks and troughs, struggles and moments of integration. Practice is like that too. Sometimes it flows easily, other times it’s a challenge. I often wonder about that; what takes it across the threshold from ‘it’s really going well, thanks’ to ‘actually, it’s a bit of a grind’.

When I first started practicing, everything in my life changed. The way I ate (I became vegetarian), what I drank (less coffee) and l started asking bigger questions too (what would life look like if I made braver choices?). My on-the-mat practice wasn’t easy (nothing new is) but my life transformed in such a big way that I didn’t care.

Like anything, that changed. My mat practice began to feel good and those big life changes became my status quo. And because my off-the-mat life was no longer evolving as fast, the measure of my practice became how flexible I was or whether I could land that new pose which feels a bit superficial.

It never occurred to me that my practice might need an update (it did). It’s kind of like school; learning the alphabet is important but we don’t keep that lesson on repeat. We master the basics and keep going. Yoga is like that too.

If our life plateaus for any length of time, it’s a nice opportunity to ask, ‘Is my practice supporting my growth or reinforcing my status quo?’. To answer this question well it’s helpful to have a method of practice that can keep us honest and a teacher who, when the time is right, can unveil the next stage of the journey.

I hope my practice stays gritty and my life improves, always. l hope the same for you too.