I have been thinking a lot about what keeps people coming back to the practice. Truth be told, I have been thinking about why I continue to do so too. What makes us continue with the things that we struggle with and how do we deal with the journey that is not always an easy one, be it mentally or physically. I am reminded that this asana practice is a tool for me to stay balanced and let it be the hardest thing I do so that life off the mat is met with equanimity and joy. When I looked for things to be easier, I was mistaken. The effort keeps changing and the only limits are the self imposed limitations in my mind. Even with physical limitations practicing yoga is about settling the chitta and not how the asana turns out. The practice is our blueprint. I come back time and again to the dedication, determination, discipline and devotion that is required to us to have a long time journey with the Ashtanga practice which Sharath has spoken in conference time and again. I also come back to the fact that I have faith in something bigger that myself and see the transformation effects of the practice in myself and others I teach. There is trust and with trust there is love. We need to take care of the temple.
I remember being at the juice bar and having conversations about this with people who have been exposed to the method, who say “oh yeah, I’ve done Ashtanga Yoga, but I do ______ now.” (insert whatever you like here.) They wanted to know why I do it every day. Instead of coming up with an explanation that would not be easily understood in a brief encounter, I said “It’s what I do. I practice daily just like I brush my teeth.” In reality I never understood why runners could run everyday without a big explanation but that I got on my mat and did my practice created a “WOW” effect only because it was a daily *sadhana.
*Sadhana means daily spiritual practice. It is the foundation of all spiritual endeavor. Sadhana is your personal, individual spiritual effort. It is the main tool you use to work on yourself to achieve the purpose of life.
There is certainly a honeymoon period with the practice that can be as little as a month to years. So what happens after the honeymoon? What happens when you feel something, a new sensation or even pain. Do some people get bored and leave. You blame it on the room, on the teachers who give too much attention or not enough. I can seriously say that every day I learn something on the mat no matter where I am and no matter how much attention I get. It could be a simple shift in an emotion or thoughts that are easy to let go of or I can see what I am holding onto. When people say that they don’t have time and have lots of excuses, my thoughts go to the fact that life somehow makes room for the practice if we want it to.
So herein lies the question to be answered in one or two sentences for inspiration. Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org
What keeps you coming back to the mat?