Practice and All is Coming

Practice and All is Coming ~Pattabhi Jois

He didn’t say “practice anywhere you want and all is coming.” I’m saying that. For the record.

A new teacher training student called this morning. She asked me a question I get asked a lot. She asked if it was ok if she practices at a another local studio because she’s deriving a great deal of benefit over there. And I said yes, which is what I always say.

Students just don’t ask that question. Teachers, especially the newer ones, ask if it’s ok if when they work at Breathe Together, they teach or practice at other studios, lead teacher trainings, run retreats, do all the things that teachers do. And when they ask, I say of course because they are private contractors. The State of California expects them to run their own business. They work with my studio, not for my studio.

I taught yoga for close to fifteen years before I opened Breathe Together. I practiced at studios that supported my growth as a student. I worked at studios that supported my growth as a teacher. The owners of these studios knew that the more I grew as a teacher and as a student, the more people will be interested in my work, and then everyone benefits.

When I stand at the side of any wide road here in Silicon Valley and notice how many cars pass by in a two minute period, I know that maybe 5% of those people are practicing yoga and the other 95% would feel better physically, mentally and/or emotionally if they did practice yoga. Everyone benefits from some form of yoga. So many people have not found yoga yet. The world needs this practice, and that means the world needs more teachers and more studios.

As students, much of the point of practice is to learn how to listen to the “teacher within.” The teachers we choose, at least the great ones, are acting as guides to help us find and sustain an ongoing relationship with ourselves. What is most important is that we’re using our practice to stretch ourselves in every way, to grow.

As a student or a teacher, go where you grow. If the growth feels simultaneously exciting and uncomfortable, you are probably in the right place. Hang out with a teacher long enough to develop a long standing trust because a good teacher and trust is the recipe for transformation. It’s like Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham, although my version would likely be Green Eggs and Vegan Ham:

“I will practice in a box.
I will practice with a fox.
I will practice in a house.
I will practice with a mouse.
I will practice here and there.
I will practice ANYWHERE!”

I promised myself when I was given the opportunity to be a yoga business owner that I would not dive headlong into a tiny bucket of scarcity, because it is not good for one’s health. I promised that I would run a business as close to the principles upon which Classical yoga was founded. One of them is Aparigraha, non-hoarding, letting go, trusting there is more than enough for everyone. I always look forward to teaching and love being a student and being a teacher — but I think its very important to keep the reality of impermanence in our front pocket so we don’t forget. As a student, make the most out of your practice by knowing your motivation for practice. As a student and a teacher, grow yourself because the world needs you.

And most of all, practice.

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