You Don't Have to Practise Any of That Stuff.....

Whenever I read very nice sounding words on love, peace, joy and extending out a big energy vibe to the world and those around us, I get a little bit nervous. It's not because I don't believe in it or feel passionate. It's more to do with the fact that it is easy to get caught up in words and "feel greats", which are in the end short-lived. Something of a Roman candle.

Today I was surfing around and reading what a few other people had to say. As I continued with one blog on what it means to be 'spiritual' (and that's a loaded word anyway) it had a few interesting catch-phrases.

The arguement or rather dialogue was laid-out as a series of questions on what it means to be spiritual? Do you have to join a meditation group? Do you have to repeat mantras? Do you have to become a convert of some practice?

The next line read you don't have to do any of those things. Really?

It is right you don't have to do any of those particular things, but you do have to do something. Gautama Siddhartha (The Buddha) did not become Buddha by sitting on his ass and reading a book on love. By doing something I am referring to practice. What struck me as misleading is the way people suck up well-sounding words, repeat them for themselves and others to hear and read. They fail to really look into the deeper meaning or even question their meaning, and relevancy.

It's not that we have to pick issue with everything we hear and read, but it is good to become a bit more critically minded and discuss rather than blindly accept. In fact, Swami Vivekananda clearly stated many times that you should not believe anything he says. Get out there and find it for yourself.

How's that? By practising.


The fact is practice (and not words) is the only way to understand anything related to spiriutality. It cannot be understood through words alone. And this is precisly the problem with a lot of Western pop-self-help books today. They candy coat the hard work of practice and the continous struggle of it.

We can all talk up a good storm and story (lawyers are too clever on that), but in the end do you practice?

Today there is a huge arena to choose from. Practice could be yogasana, breathing, sitting, meditation, mantras (as was poo-poohed earlier), walking meditation....It really does not matter....It's that you have some kind of framework from which to learn to dance within. And something to practice what the 'word' cheer-leader professes can be skipped.

Many practises, one path

As the Buddhist Monk Choygam Trungpa said there are 3 basic points to being on the path (or a path):
1) you have a teacher;
2) you have a practice and;
3) you practice.

One of the greatest blind spots that Master Sivananda spoke about was that 'real' spiriutality has to do with burning off your asuric (Sanskrit word) tendencies. These are the negative qualities of being human. He went onto say that one should never believe they are even close to the goal. Because who among us has truly freed themselves from greed, lust, anger, resentment, hate and pride?

It is practice...and practice alone which is the "REAL" teacher....and only practice that will bring one closer to understanding what love is, what repsect is, what a hug means and how we can become kinder people not just meaning well but 'doing' well.

What I understand from "you don't have to do any of that stuff" is that it gets you off the hook and appeases laziness. It's similiar to the advice that the Moscow Art Director Constantin Stanislavsky gave his actors.

He said something to the effect of, "Fear your admirers for they will never tell you the truth about your art." I don't think he meant be afraid literally (there is already way too much fear in the world). I believe he meant one should be on their toes and not give in to well-sounding words.

Keep practising...All the Greats say it.

If I can practice, you can practice.

What you practise is, of course, up to you.



The Journey So Far

Life is an adventure and yoga is the greatest one of all. Here I share my love of Yoga, travel, practice and becoming a part-time cook. My life adventures have taken me from growing up in Toronto to living and working in South Korea to studying in India, marriage and finally closing my Yoga school of 15 years.

What I can say so far is that I truly believe that it is necessary in life to let go of one dream in order for another to be born. This might be painful to do so but it is the only way to move forward. We often believe that if our original plan does not succeed it is the recipe for failure. But what if it is the door to something new and great? The horizon is wide and life is not a straight line. This is the way I see it and my journey so far. Having also recently given birth to my first child and at 43, it is another new beginning.


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Heather Morton
is a perennial teacher and devoted student of yoga. Having made 18 extended trips to India she studies with her teachers annually. In 1997 she founded and directed The Yoga Way (TYW), Toronto's only school for 6-week yoga programs and not drop-in classes. For 15 years, TYW was a part of the growing Toronto yoga community and supported many charities by offering karma classes. As a teacher she holds many academic degrees including a BFA (Fine Arts in Theatre) and a Masters of Education. With a published thesis on Yoga for Children in School, her post-graduate work was a 2-year ethnographic project in the Indian school system. Heather has produced 2 dvds, meditation cds, a backbending manual and podcasts. Freedom of the Body DVD is the first of its kind as an instructional practice to the backbends of yoga. Heather has been featured in the Toronto Life magazine, The Globe & Mail, Yoga4Everybody and other on-line sources. She contributes to MindBodyGreen, Hello Yoga in Japan and Elephant Journal. She writes to inspire and share her experiences with others on yoga as a life's practice.
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