A Dedicated Practice
Why do you do yoga? Take a moment to consider the answer to this question. Maybe even MEDITATE on it (see our post on meditation for tips: “Relax“ https://siestayoga.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/relax/) . If your purpose is solely to get some body movement, that’s great, but perhaps you have found that something else is happening in your weekly exercise session. Yoga is an ancient practice that you can take as deep as you want to go. The aim of yoga is enlightenment. You can continue your yoga journey for the rest of your life if you so desire. And, why not? It makes you feel all around healthier. The development of a deeper practice comes at a small price considering its immense list of benefits. Yoga requires persistent commitment and discipline. All good things require you to work for them. This beautiful practice is the same, but the depth you will receive with commitment is much more profound than what you will find elsewhere. It is a deep exploration of YOU – your mind, your emotions, your body, all of which work together in an intricate way. Occasionally thinking about that connection does not lead to any thrilling insights. When you commit to your practice of yoga, you begin to understand the physical practice and find out where your imbalances are and what your tendencies are; then, you start to move deeper, into the emotional body, becoming more sensitive to what you feel and want in life; then, you start to make the journey into your mind – how to observe it, to control it, to release it.
How to Deepen
In order to achieve success in your yoga practice, you must consider how to deepen your journey. “The power needed in Yoga is the power to go through effort, difficulty or trouble without getting fatigued, depressed, discouraged or impatient and without breaking off the effort or giving up one’s aim or resolution. A quiet vigilant but undistressed persistence is the best way to get the sadhana [yogic practice] done” (Sri Aurobindo). Once you commit to the practice in this way, it will grow and take you down paths you would never have found without doing so. Your practice as it is now will never happen again. Consider what it’s like each time you practice. Every single practice is affected by so many variables that it can never be the same. Whatever you dealt with in your day, with people, in your body, how much you sat or stood or moved all change your practice on a regular basis. If you can start to understand your heart, mind, and body on the basic level of how they shift from practice to practice, you will gain an understanding of how your practice can truly deepen with a commitment to it. It’s as simple as shifting from practicing once per week to twice; 3 days to 4; a practice in which you are just moving your body in different directions to one in which you breathe deeply and fully throughout; a practice in which you breathe fully to the inclusion of meditation in your weekly yoga regimen. There is always depth to be attained. This practice does not have an end; it shifts.
Your body is forever changing. It’s up to you to roll with the changes with as much ease as possible. Yoga is “1% theory and 99% practice” – Patthabi Jois. So, Practice Practice Practice. The more you practice, the greater an understanding you have of how your body moves from early years to later years, into and out of pregnancy; what your body needs as nourishment (How often do you step out of yoga practice craving a deep fried meal? Probably, rarely, if ever. The practice alters cravings into more healthful options.); how your body is functioning (Sometimes, past injuries present themselves anew. Now to worry, you are working on a deep level of therapy. It is possible that the practice is bringing the injury up to warn you to be easier on yourself; or perhaps, that the injury is uprooting and on its way out; or maybe, that it’s something that may hold you back for the rest of your life if you don’t seek healing attention in addition to your practice.). Asana (physical yoga practice) takes you on this journey.
Every day, hormones are twisting and turning; Your emotional body is shifting in reaction to traffic, a mean thing someone said, a sweet thing you were told, your relationships, your level of success. Outside occurrences are unavoidable. Internal reaction is completely controllable. Your breath practice gives you the tools to use emotions efficiently, to feel content, reasonable, and even happy, in place of feeling irritable, judgmental, and overwhelmed by daily happenings.
Once you simply commit to a regular yoga practice, your mind will be put at ease. There is nothing to figure out. You are just going to go. You are going to go over and over and over for as long as it feels right, possibly forever to some extent. The mind will be affected by your body type, size, weight, bodily abilities, others’ bodily capacity, and then it will stop caring, and be inspired by those around you; It will turn frivolous emotions into rational and intelligent emotional reactions; It will slowly begin to release unnecessary thoughts, judgements, opinions that are merely using up space. The mind is working toward Enlightenment, a truly and fully content state of being, that lives completely in the present and is enough a part of the outside world that you have a positive affect on everyone/everything you come across. In a state of Enlightenment, you are most fully YOU, and YOU have the fullest affect on the Universe. YOU allow the Universe to function more completely because the Universe experiences itself through each individual. We are a part of the Whole and we have the free will to be Individual.