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Claire Reverse Trikonasana

Resolving to practice

  • Dec 31, 2015

Why, oh why, do I sometimes find it so hard to stick with yoga practice? 

Many of us will have some skill at which we aim to improve, whether that's playing a musical instrument, creative writing, a sporting endeavour or our yoga practice. We will know that when we undertake that activity, we feel great: exercised, satisfied at our effort, perhaps inspired by improvements. And then we slip. Lives get busy, there's not enough time, and the routine is lost. 

I then start to create many imaginative excuses. "Yoga is not just about asana practice, it's also about how I act in daily life and I am trying to be yogic". "My body remembers, even if I don't practice every day." "It's all very well for senior yogis who have other people around them to take care of day-to-day necessities but I've got to clean the house, earn the money to support my family, look after relatives..." And so on. 

Partly driven by fear (I'm going to the Iyengar centre in Pune this year) and partly by a fundamental knowing that I have to do this practice, I'm (once again) ready to embark on daily practice with more rigour. I've been hugely inspired by my husband Geoffrey really sticking at piano practice, even if on a particular day he feels like he's making no progress and his fingers just won't respond.

BKS Iyengar's words are also some comfort:

Sometimes the body says. "Yes", and the mind says, "Excuse me today". Sometimes the mind says, "Yes", and the body, "Excuse me." I always say, "Let us go ahead."

The reason why I sometimes find it hard to stick to practice is because I'm human. And the way I can manage to practice despite those feelings is also because I'm human.

Guruji also said that mild practice is not bad practice, and is better to sustain what we can than to collapse and give up. Over time then our practice can become more determined and intense:

Let the goal be to reach perfection, but be content with a little progress towards perfection each day.

So off I head for some practice.

If you're looking for some help to get you started, these practice sheets from the Iyengar Yoga Association of New York and Hannah Lovegrove will be of interest. There are lots of Iyengar youtube videos out there too - try these from Roads to Bliss.

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