The Power in Simply Showing UpJan 04, 2023
My intention for my practice this year is to show up. To carve out space, just one evening a week, for myself and my practice. To make space in the mornings, even if it's just a few minutes, to move my body and align with forces greater than myself.
I love this student’s intention because it reflects the importance of the unfancy, unglamorous effort of showing up regularly in one’s practice.
Making daily, sometimes small, deposits into the bank account of your well-being adds up over time to keep you feeling good and, hopefully, able to do everything you need, want, and love to do in the rest of your life.
It's a great example of abhyasa, the foundational principle in yoga that emphasizes continued practice done over a long period of time with dedication. It's the most fundamental way yoga works and the prerequisite for all the other ways we wish for our practice to serve us.
When I was interviewing long-time teachers for my book, I asked them, "What advice would you give to a student who wants to deepen their yoga practice?
One Senior Iyengar Yoga teacher in her mid-70s told me, "Just keep showing up. Because if you do, eventually something will happen."
That something might not be a lofty or grandiose aha moment. It might be a seemingly small shift in how you feel in your body or mind. It might be the patience, perseverance, or humility you develop in simply getting yourself to the mat or cushion, even when it doesn’t feel easy or convenient.
In these more subtle ways, abhyasa in yoga readies us to meet challenges in other areas of our lives with the same determination and fortitude that we cultivate as we keep showing up for our practice.
The ability to continue, and especially to come back to our practice when we’ve gotten disconnected from it, is one of the hallmarks of a seasoned practitioner and one of the most important skills we develop in yoga. It’s a kind of maturity that has nothing to do with age and everything to do with commitment and intention.
How empowering it can be to know that we don’t need to feel inspired or even excited about our practice for it to work. Simply showing up is enough, in fact, it’s paramount.