IMG_0011The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali contain many sutras on the subject of practice. At the halfway point in my month of study, I am reminded of sutra I:21.

The goal is near for those who are supremely vigorous and intense in practice.

One of the great gifts of being here at RIMYI is to have many hours every day to practice. Far from home, the duties and distractions of everyday life are minimized, and I am free to apply myself to my sadhana, practice. While it is clear that I am not “supremely vigorous and intense” in my practice, being here at the institute gives me a chance to go much deeper into the exploration of new possibilities. Of course, part of this is due simply to the fact that I have a huge amount of time each day to do nothing but yoga. But it is more than the time. The atmosphere here engenders attentiveness, thoughtfulness and tapas, enthusiastic effort.

The contrast to what my practice is like at home is striking. In my daily life, my mind is often scattered. Practice may be wedged in between household chores, running my business and myriad other activities. Some of these activities are duties, some are social, some are cultural or educational, and others are what I call idle amusement.

We all have duties. We must nurture our bodies, care for our homes, work to earn our living, and help and support our loved ones. Building strong social networks and lasting friendships takes time and energy. Arts and cultural experiences like theater, dance, music and literature are uplifting and evocative activities that connect us and reveal to us something about the human condition. These three categories of activity are all important and rather non-negotiable for me.

So the only place I can eek out more time for practice is by eliminating some of my idle amusements. How easily I spend time shopping on the internet, watching a movie I have seen repeatedly, or getting obsessed with some small detail of life that really does not matter too much. Having had a good taste of what it is like to be more focused, I hope that I can find not just more time to practice, but a clearer and more detached state of mind while I practice.

Here I am asked to do things I do not ordinarily do. In Prashant’s classes we do long holding times, far beyond what I usually ask of myself. He guides us to an experience that is quieter and more penetrating than my ordinary practice mind state. In the classes and in the practices, I am doing poses that I have never done before, or that I have neglected for a long time. I am doing well-known poses with new clarity, awareness and spaciousness. All this is serving to remind me that I can up the ante when I return to my normal life, with an approach that is more focused, committed and progressive.

I know that I am far from “supreme vigor and intensity.” But this yoga journey, in the large and hallowed hall of RIMYI, is revealing new possibilities that I hope will follow me back to my own small yoga room.

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1 Response to Practice

  1. Ken Koles says:

    Wonderful. Thanks for the insights. Blessings. OOMMM. Enjoy.

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