Sutra Sunday: Practice your practice

Book 1 Sutra 14

“Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness.”

This sutra from Patanjali reminds us to practice our practice.  Whatever you choose to do each day, whether it be meditation, pranayama, asana or chant or most likely a mixture of all, practice it each and everyday.  And practice with earnestness; with sincerity and conviction.

This is common sense.  To become a doctor, one must practice the principles of medicine and be fully present when practicing to keep your patient alive.  Doctors practice for years before they are fully allowed to do surgery on their own.  They need a lengthy history of learning in order for it to become second nature.  The longer their practice, the  further they advance.  We would not want a surgeon who had been on a three month leave to cute into us without brushing up a bit.

As yogis and yoginis, we have the same responsibility.  We approach each day as a new opportunity to put our words into action and go deeper into the practice of yoga.  We must practice for a length of time before the principles become second nature.  At the start of the practice, everything feels new and difficult.  It is only through time and full commitment to the practice that we find ease in the principles.

This is not easy.  Everyday there are challenges that can keep us from the mat, or our meditation pillow, or whatever time and space you have carved out for your practice.  These obstacles are very real and they do get in our way.  However, everyday we get to choose to take the time.  We can always find time and space, even if it is only 1 minute in the car before running into the coffee shop.  This constant practice is what it takes to go deeper.

So find the time to practice your practice.  Practice as much as possible.  Approach it with your full awareness, with earnestness.  This is the start of the path to enlightenment.

yogasutra 1-12*image from Patanjali Yoga Theory

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