Practice Diaries: Practice Sucked, Doing It Wrong, Birthing Unicorns and the Magic of Normal Edition

Today my practice sucked.

Most days — a lot of days — I get on my mat and I want to make love to the world and watch it give birth to a trillion butterfly rainbow unicorn kittens.

Not today.

Today there are no mythological creatures or even baby animals. Today there is just sucking (and not of the love making variety). What I do make, is passable posture shapes all the short way to to a half-assed kapotasana (translation: a big backbend but done at a loveless twenty percent) followed by collapse onto my butt into the shape of “lazy-sucky-human-asana.” There I cry a little then pick up my phone and send a few “goodbye cruel world I want to quit everything and I suck” text messages to my husband, because who doesn’t just love receiving a few of those while at work?

Doomsday texting complete, I manage a few more poses and a surprising jump into crow. Do I even manage to crack a smile? If so, it’s fleeting and I collapse onto my butt into “holding-smartphone-lazy-excuse-for-human-how-much-do-you-suck-pose” (patent pending), send a few more depressing texts to friends who have no choice but to receive them and so far have not ghosted me but the jury is still out, then scroll through insta for good measure, and —

perhaps now is a good time to notice, dear reader, that you might be thinking–texting during yoga? Instagram during yoga? Well, dear me, she’s doing it wrong!

Let me save you the trouble:


It gets worse. I google — hot damn that’s right I’m doing forking research on the internet during my practice now — “when your practice sucks.” Ironically I get a bunch of links to the swampy suckage of law firm practice, which, well, I’ve been there done that. I now refine my my search to include yoga and– can I just express some motherforking gratitude for Shanna Small of Ashtanga Yoga Project for being prolific and covering everything?

The Magic Happens When Your Yoga Practice Sucks

Maybe there’s a unicorn to be birthed today after all. Just knowing that someone wrote this means that I am not the first person in the world to really fucking suck while on a yoga mat.


It is time to shut up, divorce the forking phone and put a leg behind the head. Undeterred, shitty emotions continue their march across my brain, taking turns headlining my consciousness. I label them: unworthy, shitty, worthless, pointless– and come back to feeling my breath.

I see you, Mara.

Instead of inviting my demons to tea, I invite them to hang out while my leg goes behind my head. Yes, leg behind the head. Finally, I am doing something normal.

Each pose unfolds, like, well, normal and that, in itself, is magical. Each pose unlocks the next, each opening a door into the quiet. And it is quiet; there is no music but my breathing, the silent pitter patter of my mind finding It’s rightful open space. Second series slips into third, till I’m standing up now with one leg behind the head (totally normal) and then, my final posture. It’s not quite there yet, but there is progress– progress I’m glad I got to see. I’m reminded of a story about magician Harry Houdini, as relayed by Tara Brach:

This is the story of the magician Harry Houdini who traveled through Europe to small towns challenging local jailers to bind him in a straight jacket and lock him in a cell to see if he could escape. Over and over again, he would amaze and astonish his audiences with how he could break out of his straight jacket and cell.

But one day, he went to a small Irish village and ran into trouble because in front of a whole flock of people, be broke free of the straight jacket, but no matter what he did, he could not open the lock. Finally disappointed, the towns people left. Houdini asked the jailer about the lock trying to understand why he couldn’t open it. The jailer told him, “it was just an ordinary lock, I figured you could open anything, so I didn’t bother locking it”.

I locked myself into suckage that day. and with practice, I let myself out. No practice is ever wasted. Indeed, with this practice — that totally sucked — I gained something immeasurable.


(Rainbow butterfly unicorn kitten production resumes tomorrow).

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