This project is a place to:
- Explore the nature of practice and what it means to be a practitioner.
- Normalize the emotional experience of being in process, unfinished, imperfect: human.
- Connect practitioners via the commonalities and challenges of our work.
- Introduce and uphold ‘practice’ as a fundamental approach that can help us live with more meaning and fulfillment.
- Offer a wide range of perspectives on a wide range of practices so that we may learn from each other’s experiences.
Who am I?
My name is Melinda Hunt. I teach yoga to groups and individuals and mentor fellow practitioners locally in Durham, North Carolina and online at melhunt.com.
My fascination with practice
The practices of yoga, meditation, and writing help bring me home, to a state where I feel more alive, more connected, and more myself. Listening to friends who paint, or write poems, or knit, I heard similar stories, similar feelings expressed and similar difficulties, too. I wondered what I might learn if I interviewed a broad spectrum of people about their practices. I wondered what would happen if I shared these perspectives and offered a place for you to read, connect, and share your own. And I wondered, with these often solitary practices, how discussing and practicing together might shift or enhance our singular experiences.
How ‘Perspectives’ began & where we’re headed
I started this project here in Durham with Antoinette Villamil and shifted to Skype with Akira Morita of Orangutan Swing after he departed town to join his family in Asia. Then, I decided to take my curiosity on the road. Over the course of a month in the Autumn of 2013, I interviewed 13 practitioners along the east coast of North America: a filmmaker, a writer, a buddhist and shamanic practitioner, a poet, an artist, a songwriter, a father, an astrologer and more. Often, these people have more than one activity that they view as a practice. Often, their practices influence how they approach their lives. In between the recorded interviews, I had many other formative conversations, and I chronicled a bit of the experience here.
Currently, I’m in the process of transcribing and editing these interviews in order to share them with you. Subscribe to receive personal notes about the project and notification when new curated content and interviews become available.
This project is intended to evolve, shaped by the conversations with the interviewees and the community. There will be more interviews, discussions and insights to come and more ways for you to become involved. Do you have ideas or thoughts? Would you like to collaborate or participate? Know of someone whose perspective would be a valuable addition? Get in touch.
What I mean by ‘Practice’
One of the first things I learned in undertaking this project and attempting to explain what I’m doing and why, is that the word “practice” means many different things to people. My experience as a yoga practitioner influences what this word means to me, which is this: A repetitive action done consciously, that moves us toward a more fully realized experience of ourselves. In other words, to me, practice is about reaching our potential as human beings, becoming our best selves. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali describes practice as containing two important elements: Discipline and Detachment. This means that we work diligently, we keep moving toward the edge of our abilities, while trying to understand that we cannot control the outcome.
What does ‘Practice’ mean to you?
The interviews, posts, and conversations on this site are an exploration of the concept of practice and all its meanings, the different forms it can take and what it is to be a practitioner. This exploration and the conversations surrounding it are only as rich as the community that is reading, sharing and practicing together. Please join us in any way you feel comfortable, we would love to hear about what you are practicing and what it means to you.
Here are some simple ways to join the conversation:
- Share your thoughts in the comments on any post.
- Use the hashtag #perspectivesonpractice to contribute on Twitter or Facebook.
- Document your practice in photos and share it on Instagram, also using #perspectivesonpractice
- Follow along with fellow practitioners at I Am Practicing.
- Email me to share your thoughts.
I’m so glad you’re here. Welcome.
Photo credit: Gratitude to Kylie Bellard