Practice: Yoga and Law

I have been studying for the California Bar for the last two months which would account for my blogging silence.  It has not been pleasant because law has never been particularly nice to me and being required to work on it full time was an interesting experiment.  In this intense studying period, I have notice something slight, but interesting to me.  In both yoga and law, it is referred to as a practice.  I have a legal practice, but I also have a yoga practice.

As I think about my yoga practice, I feel that it is a process of learning and discovery.  There are those “aha!” moments when I finally figure out exactly how to get into a pose or oft-repeated words of a favorite teacher finally make sense.  These moment are often followed in rapid succession by  having a completely off day where my body does not want to do what I want it to do or insists that it just wants to go into shivasna.  But overall, I feel that in yoga it is ok and accepted that you will gradually make your way through the asanas in whatever way you need to that day.  As a favorite teacher of mine said, “Yoga meets you on your mat each day wherever you are.”  It is encouraged that you should listen to your body and even rest when you are tired and not getting anything more beneficial out of the pose.  All of this combines together to make me excited and not afraid to try new things for fear of failure.  I almost need to fall over or do something ridiculous to really learn the new thing and incorporate it fully into my practice.

I say all of these things about yoga because the practice of law is so fundamentally different, but yet I wonder if it was more in the way of yoga would be a nicer profession for everyone involved?  Law practice is filled with fear.  It begins your first day of law school.  You inevitably have one of those stereotypical professors who feels it is his job to beat you into submission.  All in the name of teaching you to “think like a lawyer.”  It is furthered through a brutal grading process and jobs that only go to the top of your class.  Once you get out of school, you have to take and pass the bar.  This is a brutal two month study marathon followed by a test that is somehow supposed to measure whether or not you know enough law to practice.  Then once you actually get a job, the partner you work for reigns supreme and often he or she is not a nice person and makes the office environment toxic.  There is no room for learning from your mistakes, there is only harsh criticism for anything that goes wrong, because of course, it is your fault.  It has nothing to do with the fact that you don’t know what the hell you are doing.

I have such awful feelings associated with practicing law and such warm and fuzzy ones associated with my yoga practice.  I can’t help but think that lawyers would be a much happier group if law was practice like yoga.

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