Photo by Monica Felix @

Everybody does yoga, but not everybody practices it

Photo by Monica Felix @

Photo by Monica Felix @

Yoga is an ancient discipline, but it’s also a growth industry.

In multiple studies conducted by national health organizations and sports and fitness associations, approximately ten percent of the adults in this country do yoga. That’s more than twenty four million people.

No wonder classes have been so crowded lately.

And yet, what we discover after showing up on the mat for a few weeks is, everybody does yoga, but not everybody practices. Huge difference.

Practice is about the journey, doing is about the destination. Practice is about deepening your postures, doing about achieving them.

Ask anyone who returns to their mat on a daily basis. The best part of a daily yoga practice is the commitment to seek what is fresh, spontaneous and interesting in the same place they looked for it yesterday. The experience of observing and connecting and surrendering and growing. Not just going through the motions.

It’s like my yoga instructor loves to say right before we start beginning breathing.

Just show up and see what kind of body you have today.

Of course, this principle isn’t exclusive to yoga. Anything can be approached as a practice.

I recently read a fascinating article that interviewed novelists for their opinions on draws and drawbacks as writers. Hamid explained that writing fiction was, in many ways, like a religion. A daily practice, a way of life, a set of rituals and an orientation toward the universe.

The point is, whether you’re doing yoga or putting words on paper, the universal principle still remains.

Show up. Consistently. See what happens. Take notes. Repeat.

Are you doing things or practicing them?


Scott Ginsberg is a writer, daily practitioner and work study volunteer at Bikram Yoga Park Slope.