As a yoga, meditation and mindfulness teacher (as well as a forever student) the role of practice is a poignant one. I recently parsed out a set of three meanings of the word that were helpful to me in understanding the subtleties of yoga/meditation/mindfulness in everyday life.
On one level, everything is a practice. When we think of what we do again and again in our everyday life we can start to see the practices that make up our life. Waking up, getting dressed, eating three meals a day, are all a practice. The very things we do each day are, in and of themselves, a practice — something we do. (nothing fancy…)
On another level, a practice is how we do something. As oppose to the noun from above, the verb of our practice is another way to see this term. How do we do our everyday practice? What is the art of waking up, of eating our meal, of walking, of being in relationship with others? This is where we bring the intention and purpose into our practice of doing. We acknowledge that yes, everything we do in our life is a practice, but if we bring more awareness into our practices, we are practicing them in a different and more intentional way.
The third layer of practice is repetition. Have you practiced your pianotoday? Just, fill in the blank with whatever it is you intend to practice (yoga, mindful eating, conscious relationships). When we practice our practice in a particular practice/approach, then we start to deepen our experience and understanding of not only the things we do each day, but ultimately of our existence.
Recently, I’ve been guiding InnerMeals on Sundays in San Francisco and so I’ve thought about this in the context of mindful eating.