What is Practice?

Practice

  1. to do something repeatedly or regularly with the intention to improve, become proficient or increase competency.
  2. an organizing structure for one’s principles, values, or beliefs used to create movement along a path or toward a goal.
  3. what one does to stay fully engaged in life.
  4. the structure that supports one’s evolution.

 

We practice to transform. To go from one level of skill and understanding to another. To practice is to align with an intention to change or further develop a specific skill or aspect of ourselves. Practice may also mean letting go of certain ways of being to make room for behaviors that more closely align with our current values or aspirations.

“We are what we repeatedly do.” ~ Aristotle

 

Practice and the Brain

Recent scientific discoveries show that the our brains are quite malleable and responsive to our physiology, lifestyles practices and environmental cues. Scientists refer to this concept as neuroplasticity from the words neuron and plastic. Neuroplasticity means that your brain has the ability to rewire itself in response to life experiences.

When we practice we build new neural pathways which allows the activity we practice to assume more brain space. At the same time, when we stop focusing our attention on an activity, those neural pathways fade away and become less relevant.

Through intentional, deliberate practice we actively play a role in how our brain develops. When these practices address the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of our being, we grow into our wholeness.

“The competitive nature of plasticity affects us all. There is an endless war of nerves going on inside each of our brains. If we stop exercising our mental skills, we do not just forget them: the brain map space for those skills is turned over to the skills we practice instead. If you ever ask yourself, “How often must I practice French, or guitar, or math to keep on top of it?” you are asking a question about competitive plasticity. You are asking how frequently you must practice once activity to make sure its brain map space is not lost to another.” ~ Norman Doidge

 

LTP™ Foundational Practices

 

Foundational Practice IconLTP™ Foundational Practices are the essential recommended practices for anyone engaged in a life of practice. These are practices that offer us structural support at the very root of our foundation. They keep us physically healthy, create mental and emotional spaciousness and guide us toward greater spiritual growth. These practices include: acceptancecuriosity, learning, listeningmindfulnessmovement, servicesleepnourishment, and self-compassion. When visiting the practice pages look for the LTP Foundational Practice icon to learn more about these essential practices.

 

Foundational Practices Table