By Tara Kilgallen
“The practice of yoga will be firmly rooted when it is maintained consistently and with dedication over a long period.”
~From Yoga Sutras by Patanjali (1:14)
Every now and then I take a moment to read a few excerpts from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, one the first written documents about the practice. The above quote has really struck a chord for me this week because one the top three questions I am asked by my students on a weekly basis is “when?” When will I be able to touch my toes? When will this stop being such a challenge? When will I be able to do X,Y, and Z? Of course most of us are programmed to want results, to have our goals met, win the competition with ourselves or an external competitor. But in a way, that's often the point of these postures and this practice: to push our buttons, generate these questions and create the opportunity for us to grow.
It is easy to be led by the Ego, driven by wants, desires and goals. For most people, that is what we know. We are programmed for success because it is that drive that creates good grades in school, the promotion at work, the success at losing weight.
Yoga is the complete antithesis of our programming. There are some immediate results, but the idea of expansion and growth, of ultimately obtaining Oneness and Samadi (Enlightenment), takes more than a short stint. It is through our willingness to commit and our patience toward our most challenging pose that roots us deeply into ourselves. The practice was never meant to be acrobatics, to compete with those who put feet behind their heads. The yoga postures are the preparatory action for the inaction of meditation, and they are designed to physically open the body so that a comfortable, seated posture can be held for as long as the meditation takes.
There is also a great opportunity and great probability that you will gain even more than open hips and a long spine. Every time you are on the mat, listen to the sensations and notice the direction or your thoughts. Make the commitment to yourself, and to find dedication to the practice with the trust and hope that you are already when and where you are supposed to be. The further inward you venture, the greater your practice.