Dedicating your practice

10 November 2010 | By Tania Ketenjian | 3 Comments

Sometimes at the beginning of class, the teacher invites us to dedicate our practice. It’s a powerful invitation because it can essentially means that every asana, every breath, is in reverence to this person or thing for which we feel a deep sense of gratitude. It also allows for a more focused practice because as we move, instead of thinking about our next meal or how we were treated at work or the changing light, we have a very clear point of focus. And what is special about dedicating a practice to someone is that the practice becomes more than just about you. It becomes about this person and in becoming about that person, it becomes about the larger community. And community is integral to practice.That’s why Bernal Yoga is so special

Yesterday it was my Grandpa’s birthday so I decided I would dedicate my practice to him. He passed away a few years ago but I still think of him every day and dedicating my practice to him made me feel close to him. It also reminded me of all his wisdom, his nuggets of advice, like “don’t compare” and the story about the boy who went in to get a job with a tailor and the tailor said he didn’t need any help so the boy left and as he was leaving, he knelt down to pick up a pin so the tailor hired him on the spot (details, details!). I thought about other people’s Grandparents and how special they are and about older people and respecting them. And I thought of this while doing bridge and triangle pose and warrior two and it made for a focused and intimate class.

So maybe in your next practice, whether it’s at home or at Bernal, you can dedicate it to someone who has inspired you or something that you love and through each breath, pay homage to that person or thing that brought you to where you are now, on the mat.

3 Comments on “Dedicating your practice”

  1. I was at the same class with Tania. I was going to dedicate my practice to my two dogs, Beanie and Tucker. Beanies real name is Coby, but when he was younger he was very athletic and performed aerial tricks so I called him Cobini (because he was like one of those Italiian dudes on the flying trapeze) and it was shortened to Beanie. But I digress, I tried to focus my practice on one and kept thinking of the other, and I got off-kilter.

    The discussion of grandparents was cool. Every time I think of one of my grandparents I come to my Grandma Helen. She was handicapped with polio (or her mom got kicked by a cow when when she was pregnant with my grandma). She became a world class legal secretary. After she was married she had three kids, and decided she wasn’t wearing the damn braces anymore (she always called them the “damn braces”). She took them off and didn’t wear them for 25 years. After WWII my grandfather divorced her leaving her with 2 kids and no child support, but she prevailed. She got a job as a janitor as the high school so she could be close to my mom and aunt. Can you imagine a handicapped woman sweeping high school hallways for a living, it makes me weep. After she retired she moved to a 3rd floor walk-up. The idea of her schlepping groceries up those stairs with her crutches and groceries in her arms why she hangs on to the bannister is terrifying. Hopefully I inherited her mental strength and will power. Imagine what her world would have been like if she could have used yoga to get her dysfunctional parts working better. Notwithstanding, I believe that when I think of her her spirit joins me in the room. And if I dedicated a class to her she might slap me in the back of the head if I did an asana incorrectly. I did say she was a tough old…woman, didn’t I?. When I was a kid she got mad at me and tried to run me over with her wheelchair. I had to run up the stairs to get away. See you on the mat. Later.


  2. Thank you, Tania and Jeff, for sharing your stories.


  3. Do you always write this stuff, over you head.. Great article! Tell me more, let it come.. You are master. Laughing


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