Hi! I hope you are having a great month so far. If you have chosen to embark on our monthly challenge and practice something new, I hope you are learning the true value of what it means to practice. Motivated by our Instagram Challenge, I started practicing the piano again just last week after a 30 year break and am already very excited about what I will learn about myself in the process.
At the first of the month, I talked about how if we want to get better at something we have to practice. In Yogic Philosophy, practice is paramount. It doesn’t matter how much you think you understand something, the only way to truly know anything is through practice. First, we must dedicate ourselves to a practice of whatever it is we desire. Then we must make our efforts appropriate so that our practice will be sustainable. For example, if I have a back injury and have never practiced yoga and go into an intermediate class thinking I will just go for it and do some crazy back bending to ‘work through it’, odds are I will injure myself further and perhaps ruin chances of continuing to practice and therefore progress. This approach would not appropriate nor sustainable.
Once we are on the right path applying the appropriate effort, we have to remember that no matter how passionate we are about something, for most everyone, in order for any progress to occur, it is going to take time, without interruption, with enthusiasm and a conviction that we what we are doing will work. We can’t practice once and then again 3 months later and then again 2 months later and expect any real results. We have to be consistent and stick with it, week after week, month after month and year after year.
Even with all this: committing to a practice, applying the appropriate effort, being consistent over a long period of time and with enthusiasm about what we are doing, according to Yoga, for most of us, it is still going to be hard. This is where the commitment aspect really comes in. We have to commit to moving through the awkward stage and into the stage where it becomes easier. We have to trust that over time, with consistent practice, it will become easier. And if we continue, and start to make progress, it will likely move into the fun stage. And if we stick with it, over time, it may even become second nature to us.
If and when it becomes second nature, this is the time to add a new practice. So often, we try something for a few months and it doesn’t become fun or second nature, so we give up and move on to something else, and so on and so on and so on. With the mind’s inability to engage and reach the absorption state, we will mostly likely experience suffering, as absorption is closest to our true nature and if we don’t experience it, we will continue to search for something seeking to find that peaceful place inside where time stands still and we become one with our object of focus.
If we are always hopping from one thing to the next hoping to find the one that comes natural we may search forever. Most people need to practice to reach that state of ‘natural.’ We are so impatient, we want what we want and we want it now, not realizing that the path to happiness is through the progress we make pursuing something we choose, sticking with it, learning about ourselves through the process, with all the ups and downs, and over time absorbing ourselves so fully that we don’t have to concentrate on that something anymore…we can just be in it.
So, remember, no matter how much you love something and how committed you are to it, give yourself time, be curious and open, willing to overcome the discomfort and trust that on the other side of dedication and practice, you will find what you seek.
I am so excited to be leading Yoga Blend’s 3rd 300 Hour Teacher Training starting in October. If you have completed a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training and are looking to deepen your understanding of the philosophy and psychology of yoga and are curious how to individualize practices for yourself and for specific populations, then this may be the course for you!
We have so many other wonderful things coming up to support you, wherever you may be in your practice, so please check it all out by clicking here.
And finally, above all…just keep practicing!
With infinite love and gratitude…