“A person who does not have one hour of his own each day is not a person.”
(Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav)
We place our yoga practice at the center. Practice is the heart of yoga and therefore we emphasize personal daily practice – a regular time devoted to looking inwards, to searching for our center.
In practice we meet ourselves, our bodies and sensations, our minds and thoughts, our hearts and tangle of emotions. Practice takes us a step back, granting us the space from daily life that we need to look inward, be cleansed of the superfluous, and connect with what is beyond.
Practice improves our technical ability as well as our ability to observe, to be aware. As we see ourselves more clearly over time in the protected framework of practice, we can change our patterns. If we work in an exceedingly strenuous manner to reach a desired result because that is our inclination, we can work more softly. If we escape when we are afraid, we can attempt to face fear and overcome it.
Patanjali in his Yoga Sutra states: “Yoga is restraining the vrittis [activity] of consciousness.” These are “restrained by practice and non-attachment.” He adds: “But this practice becomes firmly grounded when done intensively, properly, and continuously over a long period.” That is why we devote time and space to practice, taking it step by step, with precision and attention.
Our practice has four components:
- Just sitting
- Pranayama (breathing exercises)
- Asana (postures)
- Studying yoga texts
These strands of practice create a complete weave – an integrated practice that works on different levels of the body and mind. In our practice we focus on the seven principles of Vijnana Yoga: relaxation, quieting the mind, intention, rooting, connection, breathing, expanding.
Proper, steady, long-term practice has meaning – the many hours of practice have a cumulative effect. Practice has tremendous power. Japanese Zen Master Dogen says: “Practice is enlightenment.” Thus the most important instruction we can give is simply – Practice!