Patanjali Never Said Practice Is Optional

Alexandria Crow says she owes all of the tools she has to use and teach with today to regular practice. Skipping it is just not an option.
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Alexandria Crow says she owes all of the tools she has to use and teach with today to regular practice. Skipping it is just not an option.
Alexandria Crow Paschimottanasana WristHoldPHOTOCRED

Alexandria Crow says she owes all of the tools she has to use and teach with today to regular practice. That's why skipping it is just not an option.

I often say to myself, my students, my friends, and the teachers I train, “We’re all doing our best with the tools we have at any given moment.”

Until I found yoga, I was working with something like a single hammer and one rusty nail. I would do my very best to fix my problems with those tools and to try to make progress, but let’s face it, it was a crap toolbox.

I had a hard time paying attention, my mind constantly spiraled into waves of terrible anxiety and debilitating fear. I created stories in my head that caused me to be incredibly self-conscious and insecure. I never fit in, I was always seeking someone or something and I didn’t like myself at all.

See also Alexandria Crow’s How Yoga Teacher Training Changed My Life

Discovering Yoga’s Many Tools

Somehow I knew I was missing some really exquisite tools and I wanted to find them. When I signed up for yoga teacher training, I was unaware that my spiritual quest to ease my mind and this physical asana practice would end up being one in the same. On the very first night of teacher training my teacher had said, “yoga is now” and I was introduced to the theory that being in the present moment would alleviate my suffering. I had no idea that I had just found the hardware store and that all my tools were there, ready, waiting.

“Until I found yoga, I was working with something like a single hammer and one rusty nail. I would do my very best to fix my problems with those tools and to try to make progress, but let’s face it, it was a crap toolbox.”

In time I learned my purchasing power was directly related to my practice.At first just seeing all that was available was overwhelming—the philosophy, alignment, sequencing, meditation, and anatomy of the body. It was all incredibly confusing and daunting. So I chose to focus on alignment, anatomy, and sequencing—instead of everything at once. I spent day after day, year after year, focusing on honing those tools on my mat. Life became much better. I could have stopped there, but I knew there was more.

See also Patanjali Never Said Anything About Alignment

AlexandriaCrowUpavisthaKonasana2

Not Practicing Is Not an Option

Patanjali never said that practice is optional. I say it to those I train to be teachers all the time. If you’re going to teach yoga, you must practice it consistently. That does not mean once a week. To me, that means daily. The practice doesn’t have to be an intense 90 minutes of advanced poses, but you have to do something that is considered a practice. And if you’re an asana teacher, it needs to be asana.

I know that’s hard and there are so many things can interfere, but it’s a must. I’ve heard teachers say they’re too busy helping you with your practice to do theirs consistently, but it’s not a good excuse in my books. Without regular practice I wouldn’t have acquired all of the tools I have to use and teach with today. My practice is for myself but also for my students. Skipping my practice is a vast disservice to both of us.

See also Patanjali Never Said Yoga Is Fancy Poses

My Daily Practice

My practice is something I earnestly put effort into doing to quiet my mind and see more clearly. Lately it’s seated meditation, asana, mindful walks, or paying really close attention as I do the dishes. Frankly, I’m trying to practice all day, but a formal meditation and asana practice is a daily priority.

It’s hard work, but it is so worth it. I owe my life—and my career—to my practice. So I owe it to myself and to my students to be consistent.

See also Alexandria Crow’s Meditation for Anxiety

About 

Alexandria Crow

Alexandria Crow yoga teacher

The practice of yoga has taught Alexandria Crow how to approach life with open eyes and a fearless attitude – a discovery she hopes to pass onto her students. She guides her students step by step through creative sequences providing all of the components needed for each individual to feel successful. By teaching not only alignment but also how to pay attention to what is going on in the body and mind in each moment, Alex teaches her students how to bring greater awareness to everything they do.

Catch up with her on:

http://alexandriacrow.com/

 Twitter: @AlexandriaCrow
 Instagram: @alexandriacrowyoga
 Facebook: @alexandria.crow