There are no shortcuts; becoming a superior student takes practice, skill, and lifelong commitment. However, the benefits are truly extraordinary; each of us can recognize and intimately engage with authentic teachers and practices that unlock our own unique transformational needs. As we grow and flower, opportunities to teach and pass on our knowledge and skills to others appear naturally. We’re here to help you create and navigate your own true path, and take responsibility for the lifelong journey.
Path of Mastery
10,000 hours; that is the generally accepted amount of practice time required to gain a level of mastery in a chosen area of study; whether it be painting, playing the violin, yoga asana, sitting meditation, mathematical modeling, folding laundry, astrological readings, playing golf, computer programming; or becoming a neurologist. Achieving a level of Mastery is the highest aspiration of a student. It is the natural outcome of intimate and continuous exploration and discovery over a long period of time; to the point where we can honestly say “We Know It By Heart”.
To put this in perspective, practicing for two hours Every Day of the year, means it will take more than 13 years to gain a level of mastery in something we love.
Given the time and resources required, each of us can only realistically master a few practices in our lifetimes. That means the choice of what to master is extremely important. Given the diversity and variety of endeavors available to Human Beings, the possibilities of what to practice and where to start can be overwhelming.
However, there is good news. There is a common path that Every Human Being can master, and that is Our Individual Body-Mind. All of our subjective experience; thoughts, feelings, sensations, sights, sounds, pleasure, pain, joy, and sorrow are within the field of the Body-Mind. It is primary and foundational in all aspects of Living. Mastery of the Body-Mind is The Path to Limitless Freedom, Happiness, and Joy; producing a Life that is Full of Meaning, Mystery, Gratitude, and Love Divine.
Let’s do this together.
Aspiration, Intention, and Integrity
There is a simple teaching that says “we become that on which we reflect and meditate”. In short, our highest Aspirations and deepest Intentions are the lens through which we clearly see and navigate our journeys of discovery and awakening. They are “powerful seeds” that catalyze our growth and expansion as Human Beings.
“What is your intention?”
This is a question you will often hear us ask students before they practice; because It Matters. Setting a clear intention establishes a guidepost for the body-mind to follow; otherwise, we’re just practicing distraction and escape.
What are my weaknesses, what are my strengths? Am I tuned into my experience as it is right now? How is my breath? Is it smooth, polished and rhythmic? Am I linking the breath to the movement? Do I aspire to practice daily, even if only for a short period of time? Repetition and commitment is key, as the positive effects of practice disappear if we are not consistent. Daily practice is the best medicine.
Take time each day to get quiet, check in with your body and mind, and begin again.
Imagination and Creativity
Creativity and imagination are essential ingredients for maintaining and deepening interest and fascination on our never-ending journey as students. Master Tri Dang used to tell me that copying or following someone else’s practice is OK in the beginning but continuing this way means the practice never becomes yours; a unique expression of your own limitless potential.
If we are afraid as students to experiment, create, and imagine alternatives, then we cannot manifest our own voice; this is a crucial ingredient to naturally evolve and grow over time. Of course, we can’t get ahead of ourselves either. Practice and mastery of foundational basics must occur before our unique creative flow can naturally manifest. As we said, there are no shortcuts.
Although developing and growing a self practice is mandatory for the journey, the collective has its own power. We cannot be on the path alone. The “We” space is way bigger and better than the “me” space, and We are certainly better Together.
A tight knit community is a pillar of strength and stability for the practitioner; and bringing authentic presence to the group is essential for awakening.
The community at Ride the Breath offers encouragement, fellowship, and love. Please join us.
“Ride the Breath is a beautiful shala located close to downtown Durham. It is a wonderful place to practice with an established community committed to both yoga and meditation.”
— Sarah Stone