1.14 When that practice is done for a long time, without a break, and with sincere devotion, then the practice becomes a firmly rooted, stable and solid foundation.
It happens to us all, we forgo our daily practices, whether they be asana, hobbies, or other exercises. Life's circumstances may derail us and we drift in and out of practicing. But if there's one thing to be said about practice, it's that we have to keep going even when we don't want to. Sometimes even when it hurts, when we are tired, and when we have given up. Our practices are moldable to whatever we need to really do that day. Whether it to be sweating puddle into the floor or taking a restorative approach, we must be committed to our Sadhanas.
It's not easy. I blew my back out two years ago and it periodically aches for months at a time and I do find myself drifting to and from my mat, even as I teach regularly. In the past, I may have only practiced 2-3 times a week, thinking that my value rested on how much power yoga I could wrench my body through. But this was a fool's errand, I let my ego limit my practice rather than learning to evolve it and heal my own injuries through inspection. And when these lapses occur, I notice a great shift my moods and my health - my body sickens and I am quick to stress. It was only when I shortened my practices and did them daily that I really began to see a shift. I am still healing but I can feel the stress slowly melting, just a little bit, everyday.
Overall, inconsistency robs us of growth, our practices becomes something that is there when convenient - and maybe that's not when we really need it most. We need it on the weeknights where we feel defeated and exhausted, we build ourselves up when we are healthy but forgo practicing when we are not. We seem to abandon the structures that we have built for ourselves. The practice becomes centered around progression only, forgetting that growth in yoga isn't only progressing up to handstands, but it is a practice of spiritual and emotioanl growth, where we learn not only patience but acceptance of loss and pain. We can become so caught up in the ego of progression that we forget to build a strong heart in the face of adversity. We are all going to face tough times and so we must keep up our practices. They must be with us as daily rituals, ever-molding to fit what we need and not necessarily what our ego wants.
And yes, sometimes it will hurt and we will bleed. Sometimes our practice will seem to deplete rather than restore, but our bodies aren't perfect machines they are organic and wild and free. They will change without our permission as we age and we must release this demand that we have for convenience, for easiness. It's in areas of discomfort that we grow, the areas that we ironically avoid of fear. The practice is a smoldering fire that must be rekindled daily.
So make a ritual, make a time you can commit to giving the gift of practice back to yourself. Just a little bit, whatever you can do, but do it daily and watch yourself evolve.
sara + kyle