When we do Yoga we call it a “Practice”. We don’t call it exercise. We don’t call it a game, we don’t call it a routine… we call it a Practice. And why is that? Because a practice is defined as “repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.” And that is exactly what we are doing in Yoga! We are building skills that will help us maintain our strength, our balance, our coordination and our confidence.
I often offer up the “Tightrope” sequence in my Gentle and Chair Yoga classes. I tell everyone to imagine they are on a tightrope over Niagara Falls looking a bit ahead of them on the wire. Then I offer up some challenge should students want to take them. First, take a long blink. If your balance is still okay, then take a longer blink… maybe keep the eyes closed for the count of 2 or 3. Maybe let go of the chair with the eyes open or closed. No matter what option you choose… you are practicing balance and proprioception ( awareness of the position of one’s body). All good stuff just by pretending we are walking the wire over Niagara Falls. But can this practice prepare us for something in our “real world”?
At the end of class this week, one of my students came up to me and thanked me for doing the Tightrope. She told me that when she is in her garden, there is an awkward spot to get into where she has to climb up on a rail and position her feet in the tightrope stance to reach her plants. Wah-la! Tightrope in our real world! So glad we practiced it!