Monday, October 31, 2005

Practice Your Promise

Listening to the radio this weekend I heard an excerpt from a fascinating project called StoryCorps. Their web page says, "StoryCorps is a national project to instruct and inspire people to record each others' stories in sound."

The story I heard was a conversation between a young woman, Cinema Wood, and her grandmother, Peggy Edwards. Cinema is about to marry and she was asking for advice.

You can hear the story at: .

I liked what Ms. Edwards had to say about her long, strong marriage. She said, "Go slow. It's not a marathon. It's a stroll."

It's a subtle distinction. A marathon implies a race with its inherent urgency to get to the end. While a stroll suggests a comfortable pace at which you can enjoy what you're doing, so much so that you hope it never ends.

What a great way to view marriage. And what a great way to view your yoga practice, too!

Don't get in such a hurry to make progress. Slow down and pay attention along the way so you can enjoy your yoga practice.

The StoryCorps conversation also reminded me of something I wrote about my parents and their marriage back in 2003 when they were celebrating their 50th anniversary.

I'm republishing it here for you today. Enjoy.

"In just a few days my parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. It’s a major milestone. So I hope you’ll permit me this personal indulgence: “Congratulations, Mom & Dad!” I’m proud of them. And I’m amazed by what they’ve done together.

"Extraordinary accomplishments in any area of life are inspiring. Lasting accomplishments—deeds that can’t be done in one fell swoop, particularly encourage me.

"When I began studying yoga years ago I had many opportunities to meet extraordinary yogis. Sometimes what I saw bordered on shocking. What I believed was humanly possible shifted when I witnessed what these people could do. A whole new world of fitness, well-being, and skill opened up to me as I saw what they produced through decades of practice.

"I eventually came to expect a pattern that I’ve now seen many times. Almost every one of these notable teachers would get around to saying that what they do can’t be done without practice. “Practice is the best teacher,” they’d say. Then they’d quote the yoga authority Patanjali, who said, “Practice is firmly established when it is done with reverent devotion, uninterrupted, for a long time.” (YogaSutras 1.12)

"I’d leave these encounters inspired. I was re-armed with this handy-dandy easy-to-memorize guide that told me if I did my yoga for a long time, didn’t take any hiatus, and was fervent and focused, I could do what they did.

"My parents have proven to me the truth of Patanjali’s aphorism. Their marriage wouldn’t have produced what it has, without reverent devotion and unwavering persistence.

"Here’s another truth for me (and I’d bet it’s true for Mom, Dad, and those amazing yogis): some days I don’t feel devoted; I feel like taking a day (or a month) off; I can’t muster a molecule of persistence. On some of those days, rather than being inspired by the amazing feats of others, I’m humbled. I’m discouraged. Their greatness makes me feel weak or inadequate. I don’t want to think of the cool stuff they’ve done because it makes me feel like a gnat.

"Fifty years later, I realize now that my parents were no less married on their first day together than they are now. I can look at their decades together and be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude. Or I can realize that one day, just like any other day, they got out of bed and did ordinary things like brush their teeth, comb their hair, and eat their meals. But in addition to those ordinary things, they got up in front of their families and friends and promised to live together and work together faithfully. They made a commitment to take care of each other even on dark days when the thought of anything longer than a day was unimaginable.

"When I look back over the years, I believe that it was the promise, the commitment, that really counted.

"Maybe you’ll join me today in making a commitment. Make a promise. It might even be a promise to try yoga or practice yoga regularly. Then see what that commitment brings. Maybe decades from now you’ll look back and be shocked and amazed by the fruits of your unwavering persistence and dedication."

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., Happy Halloween to all you spooks out there.

p.p.s., Hello to all you new Daily Yoga Tip readers in Maryland. The word about our Experience Sanskrit workshop in Annapolis (March 4, 2006) is getting around. We're looking forward to seeing you in the New Year.

For those of you who can't wait for the New Year, meet us this weekend in Dallas. We're offering the Experience Sanskrit workshop at the Surya Center for Yoga in Coppell Saturday at 1:30 pm. Find out more at .

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.


Post a Comment

<< Home