Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Why do we faff? Some random musings

Unless you are a "perfect" yogi, you will have faffed to varying degrees at various times during your journey of practice. In a recent post, Arturo describes this phenomenon vividly:

"what is faffing during home practice?
Sun Salutation A, first one.
go to the bathroom.
Sun Salutation A, second one.
rearrage clothes; remove socks.
Sun Salutation A, third one.
Go turn on the laundry machine;
it was filled during yoga warmups.
Sun Salutation A, fourth one.
scratch, blow nose, clean ears.
Sun Salutation A, fifth one.
practice how to explain in Chinese to the bank that the grocery store kept my ATM card when i made a purchase on Sunday and i did not notice until yesterday. can they help me call the store to identify my card?
Sun Salutation B, first one.
decide on lunch plans..."

Most of us (I'm guessing) probably do not faff to this extent, but we do it in some way, shape or form, even if it is just holding downward dog for one or two breaths longer in the Suryas.

So why do we faff? Do we faff despite knowing that faffing detracts from the practice in some way and is therefore not good for us? Is faffing simply a manifestation of an undisciplined mind that needs to be channeled? Or do we faff because deep down, we do not really believe that a faff-free practice is best for us? In other words, does faffing serve a certain purpose of its own, so that a faff-free practice is not really all it's cracked up to be?

Or might faffing perhaps be the universe's way of telling us that something about the way we are doing our practice (or the environment in which we are practicing) is not conducive for our personal growth? Might faffing be the universe's way of telling us to pause for a second, reassess our priorities (or environment) before going on?

I don't have any answers to these questions; I'm just wondering out loud. If you have any suggestions, I look forward to hearing from you.  


  1. haha. maybe we faff because of lack of discipline, or lack of focus, or distraction, or lazyness. looking at my week, one day i was mentally on, with a lot of saturation about yoga, and had a good practice. another day i was mentally off, distracted by work, doing taxes, bothered by cold weather, and had a practice full of faff.

  2. Interesting, Arturo. I'm starting to think that perhaps a certain amount of faff is necessary in our practices. It might be the practice's way of getting us to see the stuff that is preoccupying us (for better or for worse) in our daily lives.