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Importance of Daily Practice

Importance of Daily Practice

June 7, 2017

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Anthony Davis

The power of daily practice is profound. Even a 5 minute daily practice can reshape your mind and ultimately change your life, and consciousness itself.

I took this picture on Block Island. This is where I began waking up every morning before the sunrise, so I could practice Ashtanga Yoga during sun rise, building heat as the earth around me did the same. This magical pathway into the abyss vanished beneath the rising tide when I rode my bike by a few hours later. I thought I was in a dream. Personal daily practice made me feel that I was immune to suffering of any kind. I felt whole. I felt powerful, and confident, and the voice in my head telling me I couldn't change my life, and that I didn't have the discipline or ability, or that I didn't deserve to be happy had finally shut the fuck up. In its wake was silence, stillness, and space to breathe.

Practice. All is Coming.

Sadhana is a personal daily practice. This can be anything, and will depend entirely on your lineage and goals. Sadhana may consist of a daily asana (yoga postures) practice, meditation, devotion (bhakti), or even just helping other people and being of service. Whatever your practice may be, it is critical to develop stability and balance through daily practice. When you are having struggles in life, your practice can give you strength and clarity. When you are absolutely over-the-moon with joy, your practice can amplify your gratitude. By maintaining a daily practice of some sort, you will develop the ability to carry on with a commitment in times of laziness, happiness, fear, depression, and bliss. In other words, you develop the discipline to carry on with the practices of personal growth no matter how you feel. You begin to see the temporary nature of any feeling or experience, and also begin to find a connection to the one thing which is truly unchanging and infinite - your awareness/consciousness.

For teachers, daily practice is even more important. Personal devotion to the practice, and the ongoing study of oneself is necessary if one is to share these teachings with others. If your personal practice ever begins to suffer, slow down and recenter yourself. To put it quite bluntly, when a teacher is not practicing or does not practice what they are teaching, they are a charlatan and a fraud, and directly violating yogic ethical principles (satya, truthfulness). Many teachers complain of feeling burnt out and drained when they take on more than they have space for. The most common complaint is they feel their personal practice has begun to suffer, and that they are teaching more than they are practicing. This inevitably leads to frustration for both teacher and students. You and your students will feel it when you have burnt the candle at both ends. Be mindful of which things tend to take your energy away, and which things charge you up. Your cup must be always filling up in order to fill the hearts and minds of others.

SIMPLE PRACTICES ANYONE CAN DO

Whether you are a student or a teacher, or you have no affiliation with any sort of practice currently, here are some very simple things you can do as a personal daily practice, and they aren't even secular:

1) Sit on a cushion for 5 minutes. Don't move. Don't get up. You don't have to think in a particular way, or visualize anything. There is no goal other than not to move, and not to get up. This is much more powerful than you'd expect.

2) Wash Your Dishes By Hand. BONUS: Wash every single dish immediately upon using it.

3) While eating, put down your utensil during every bite.

Don't get obsessed with the results, just DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING! Pick something and do it every day for a month, see what happens. It doesn't even have to be a meditative or mindfulness practice - if you're a musician, take 5 minutes to practice scales. If you're an artist, take 5 minutes to make three fast sketches of still life of body forms. If you'd like to be more fit, just take a 5 minute walk, get outside!

Do. Something.

ANYTHING.

Minneapolis, MN, USA

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