Practice Makes Practice


by Sandra Bark

Spare Some Change? - Practice Makes Practice - Sandra BarkA friend of mine is pregnant. Another is contemplating a divorce. A third wants to quit her job to seek her happiness.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been thinking about change. Or maybe it’s because of all the “new year, new you” resolutions I hear around me. Or because other people’s shifts seem to be altering the course of my own life.

Whether we choose change or it is handed to us; whether we jump off the precipice or we are shoved; change is unavoidable.

Perhaps this is why I seek a semblance of sameness in my yoga practice. The mat is there; the poses are there; I am there. And yet, even in class, I am different every day. My practice is always changing, whether I ask it to or not. A pose that used to be easy is suddenly elusive. A posture that was impossible is suddenly accessible.

Yoga classes often open with the suggestion that we take note of where we are, today. We can’t assume we are the same as yesterday even if the changes are subtle. Pains that plagued us yesterday evaporate. Aches that were not there yesterday appear.

Change can be an invited guest or a frightening intruder, but it will still enter our homes. It can arrive quietly or announce its presence by screaming in our ears, but it will still sit at our table.

Should my friend have a child or not? Should my friend stay in her marriage or go? Should my friend leave her successful career to walk an uncertain path? There is no right answer, one of them told me. There are also no wrong answers.

Sometimes we get a choice. Sometimes we don’t.

Still, change is coming.

A path that feels like a groove can start to feel like a rut. Something scary can become something joyous. A backache gets worse, or it gets better. Cancer goes away, or it spreads. Someone we love may say they are leaving us. Or we may realize that we have to leave someone we love.

This new year, you may want to be new, or you may want to hang on to the old. Either way, change is coming. It’s inevitable. If we try to hold on too tightly to the now, we’ll find our fingers grasping nothing, our hands clenched into fists.

All we can do is reach our arms out and feel our way through the dark, managing what comes, moment by moment, until the new is the now, until we change again.

And remember that even if you’ve never been able to do a headstand, if you keep trying, you may suddenly find yourself balanced on the triangle of your forearms, feet angling towards the sky.

Sandra Bark is a writer who lives in Brooklyn and practices at Mala. PRACTICE MAKES PRACTICE offers a student’s perspective of the yoga experience, on the mat and off.



About The Mala Yoga Blog

We are a Brooklyn-based studio that focuses on alignment, balance and community. Have a read, try one of our Practice Podcasts, or come in and say "hi" in person!
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2 Responses to Practice Makes Practice

  1. Laura says:

    As always beautiful; you speak so eloquently. You have a wonderful talent and insight. Thank you.
    Wishing you a happy and healthy 2012, filled with magical adventures and good friends to share them with.

  2. Pingback: Practice Makes Practice | MALA YOGA

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