Practice Project 3.0 ~ What Is It?
A year and a half ago, after much thought about all the psychology reading I’d been doing, and in reflecting on my own habits, and those of my loved ones around me, I got to thinking an awful lot about the idea of practice. I developed a workshop series called the Practice Project, which is now in its third iteration: Practice Project 3.0.
At its simple core, it’s about consistency with a yoga practice, and creating a framework that is supportive of real and research-based change for more productive choices and patterns. If you want the 5 W’s, go to the Practice Project page of this site to get an idea of just what that framework is.
But if you want to know the guts of it, and my inner “why am I so passionate about this stuff?” then read on.
Beyond the simple “consistency and support for productive change,” bit from above, the rest is an exploration for each individual practitioner. I’ve learned from having two small businesses that marketing tells me to tell my clients what they will get: improved focus, increased flexibility, a greater sense of well-being… Yet, because I am a yoga-kool-aid-drinking woman, this yoga I teach is meant to be individual. After all, that is the at heart of the philosophy behind all the weird moving and poses. I was chatting with my designer recently, and she quoted a book I’d loaned her about this knowledge-base as being “a blueprint for ourselves and lives.” Exactly.
At the heart of this practice is an understanding that we will slowly see ourselves and our lives as a great system: physical (bones, tissues, fluids, movement patterns,) mental (nervous system, thought patterns, behavioral patterns) emotional (highs, lows, checked out, in the passion-zone) and spiritual (the elusive crossover of the previous three, or your own beliefs).
Now, because you can go on Facebook or Instagram or Google any damned day and see for yourself what the physical part of this practice might look like, I’ll skip that in this post. Also, by its very definition being a physical practice, you will have to come join me on a mat someday to really understand the physical part of this – no blog post will give you that.
The mental part – Though the psychology portion of why and how we move is endlessly interesting to me, and where I spend much of my time reading and understanding, it takes time to fully comprehend this (8-12 weeks, wink), and that is one of the reasons for the Practice Project.
The emotional part. Well, that’s why I continue to keep a business in the creative arts. And your emotions are yours. You’re welcome to bring ’em to your mat, but I’m not gonna blog about them.
But what about this word, Spirit???????
It gets thrown around in yoga – and it can elicit strong responses, especially if you’re more of a subscriber to the church of modern medicine and research. Now I, ever the one to want to bridge the gap between modern life and the nebulous or esoteric, have a few ways to bring this word into more practical applications, which I’ll start with:
- Spirit – First of all, the very word comes from the Latin spiritus which means breath. (Hence my closing remarks in every class of connecting mind, body, and breath.)
- Spirits – In the world of food and beverage, we use the term “spirits” to mean anything distilled (ie not beer or wine). This also has old-world connotations, circa Aristotle, connecting the idea that when one consumed spirits, they enabled a connection with the ethereal world. Ahem, otherwise known as that dumb thing we did when we drank too much.
- Spirited – We use this term in everyday language to mean full of energy, vigor, focus, confidence, etc. THIS is where we dive in…
Even if you have no desire to think about some being or beings we can’t see, floating above our heads, influencing or interacting with our lives, you can see that bringing this word SPIRIT to day-to-day practical use and explanation of our moods and energy level provides an understanding that we can apply to our yoga practice.
Aside from our pile of bones and tissue, we are alive, and with that, we all have a spirit. When we take that pile (pardon my casual language – not meaning to be irreverent, but in terms of literal material, we all are just a mass of bones, tissues, and fluids) and challenge it with strange movement and postures, or ask it to sit still in meditation, we are given a glimpse of who we are when we stop interacting with the outside world and are left with… gulp, OURSELVES, and only ourselves.
This, in its most simple, practical application is you exploring your “spirit,” AKA, who you are when you’re doing nothing but breathing and being with yourself.
So this notion of challenging our physical selves, though an integral part of the “yoga pie,” is not the entire pie. It is also through the practice of observing our behaviors, our inner selves when we’re not talking, or interacting, or acting for any other purpose than to be with ourselves, that we get to have an understanding of the ins and outs of our spirit. This makes yoga unlike other western-popularized physical exercise routines. In addition to getting a good sweat, or reducing our stress levels, or increasing our flexibility, yoga trains us to come back – mentally, emotionally, spiritually – to our true selves, again and again…
And with that, a beautiful poem, that always turns me into madame waterworks:
I would love to see you in class or Practice Project 3.0! And as always, please email me with any thoughts: firstname.lastname@example.org