Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Return to Home Practice

I'm back on my own for practice this week. The workshop is over and this week I will see how long I can hold onto the intensity of practices with a group and a teacher that I enjoyed last week. There are benefits of doing long stretches of home practice alone and of regular practice in a studio or shala with a teacher. I have had both experiences. There are days when I am wistful for the years that I spent practicing in a studio with a teacher. On the days when I was tired or my focus was wandering, the energy from the teacher and other students would keep me going.

On the other hand, I would not trade for anything the adventure of these last few years of home practice. I have really begun to experience the practice from the inside out. When there are no mirrors for your practice in the form of a teacher's suggestions and adjustments, then all you know is what you experience.

I have been fortunate to practice with my teacher for a few days a couple times each year since the shift to doing primarily home practice. These few days with my teacher are invaluable for establishing a base line of what is possible, establishing some feeling of where practice may be heading, and soaking up some great energy to keep practice going.

The practice itself has also been an invaluable teacher, however. Really looking to answer my own questions that come from practice, rather than looking to someone else for all the answers has brought another layer of depth to both practice and teaching. While I am overwhelmingly grateful for the times that I spend practicing with my teacher, I am also learning to embrace the days when the practice itself is the teacher.

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