To become an expert or professional in any field it is estimated you need to do 10 thousand hours practice. That’s about 2-3 hours a day for 10 years. So it seems to ‘get anywhere’ we need to do a lot of practice.
“Ashtanga yoga is 99 percent practice, one percent theory.” ~ Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
What are we practicing for and where are we trying to get to though? In Western yoga maybe we are fueled by achievement. Achievement of the poses, promotion at work, perfecting or controlling your body in some way, winning the race or getting the top score.
In the East maybe it is more about transcendence? Going beyond the boundaries and limitations of our popcorn minds to a higher state of peace and enlightenment. Many Zen communities practice seated mediation in grueling positions for hours to surpass themselves and prove their strength.
When I try to measure my success of getting there it is all very tangible. The mortgage is slowly getting paid off, my yoga is getting ‘better’, things that seem to be changing for the better. The only problem with measuring success like this is it is a slow dance. A big bill may come in ( our oven blew up) or suddenly my yoga goes backwards, ( I have a gammy left side). Two steps forward and then one back it’s a slow waltz.
My thought lately is that we are here on this world to progress and transform, not to stagnate and consume. We also want to leave the moment, person, situation a better place after we go on a day to day basis. So maybe the things that are difficult to measure is where we should be looking first? So I would like to give you an example of how I think I have progressed in the last few years.
My partner told me to stop whining about something. Instead of reacting I sat in my chair for at least half an hour without doing anything. It was a pretty difficult half hour. Oh the places I went! My usual habitual pattern would be to leave the room and calculate the ways in which I was right. But I stayed. Progress. Today I feel a lot closer to where I want to be. Only another 9000 hours to go.
Practice for today: How is it that you want to show up in your life, for yourself, your partner and those you are in relationship with. Where do your values lie? How can you move slowly and steadily to that place and measure your progress? The biggest transformation or progress in your life can come from the littlest shifts. Go towards those.