In Praise of Repetition

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It’s an interesting phenomenon in the world of yoga. Perhaps you’ve found this in other places, but it seems like we’re always trying to do a “new” pose or a “new” sequence. I certainly know as a new teacher I tried to create something “new” week after week. But if we look at the practice of yoga as a discipline just like any other, we have to acknowledge that the key to learning anything is repetition. 

The definition of “a discipline” is a branch of knowledge, typically one studied in higher education. Having lived in the world of higher education for a whopping 9+ years, I feel pretty confident in saying that yoga is certainly up there with any branch of knowledge one might study in a university. Not only for its content, but also for its depth and breadth. It would be easy to study yoga for many lifetimes and still only scratch the surface of what’s there for us to examine.

By coming back to our mats over and over again we get the opportunity to connect to this discipline of yoga much more deeply. Each time we come back we make that scratch in the surface of this knowledge just a little deeper.

Strength and flexibility in the mind or the body only develop with time and practice. With attention and discipline. With the commitment to come back to it over and over again. With each repetition, we continue to lay down the neural pathways we need not only to find the coordination to put that front knee over the ankle with precision, but to truly understand what it means to do so physically, energetically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We develop not just coordination in the movement of the front leg back to down dog or forward into a lunge, we get to explore what that means in the body we’re living in at that moment. 

As a teacher, I have seen the difference this idea of repetition has brought to the practice not only for myself but for my students. Just like learning my scales when I was playing bassoon, I can see what a difference that continued attentive repetition creates in all the aspects above in myself and others. For those that have been practicing with me, I hope you can see/feel that too. 

I’ll continue to dedicate myself to creating a curriculum of practice that helps you explore this branch of knowledge we call yoga, with all the depth and breadth that it provides for us on this amazing journey we call life. You just need to continue to show up.