The impulse of Practice
A practice that is right for you is a practice that leaves you feel freer than when you started. Yoga is a process of transformation, from a limited self to the liberated Self - it is the path you walk hoping to meet your self, in your Totality (and realise that, actually, this is the very place you departed from !).
Now you might call on the force Ganesh to clear the way, until you soon realise that beneath his thick elephant skin there is you, removing the obstacles yourself placed along your own way.
(If your head is spinning right now, it’a a good sign)
I have been going through a ‘Practice crisis’ these days (yes, another day, another crisis). Don’t get me wrong, I love a good crisis from time to time, I even learnt to find ease in the midst of chaos - however, I confess that I don’t do well when my practice is at stake.
The thing is my practice is what keeps me steady when doubts arise - it is my anchor, the morning to my night . So, when that anchor is being removed, when the Sky itself seems to crumbled down leaving my crown uncovered, my entire Earth quakes and I end up wandering about, lost
Fallen from the arms of Faith.
Yoga is no an exception, it is not something that exists outside of the world. In fact, it embodies Life : in all its Light & Shadow. That’s how I come to moments of struggle, when I completely forget what the point of Yoga is and why I should make so much efforts. Funny enough, this thought does not stop me from practising, this thought of discouragement actually unlock a new part of me that seems to take over and pushes me to keep showing up on the mat. I don’t stop. I go through the crisis, I sulk my practice while being on the mat, I ‘get slapped and turn the other cheek’ kinda thing. I miraculously keep coming back to what I feel is the source of my frustration or despair. Obviously, Yoga has nothing to do with the way I feel - Yoga is too busy being Yoga, it keeps giving ; I, on the other hand, choose to ignore its gifts.
Often I found, it is the lack of confidence within myself or the lack of Love for myself (and that is painful to write) that will push me far away from my practice. It is a feeling that I do not deserve its gifts or that I am not eligible for ‘change’ ;
illegitimate to live a life of lightness.
I have heard or seen this in many students & teachers ; there comes a time when we subconsciously sabotage our own practice and get caught in a web of constraints, rules and expectations. Our practice then become rigid, dry, small and full before we even step into it. How can we expect to receive anything if we fill it up with goals and anticipated rewards ? The wish for gaining something alone can fill up the entire space of Practice : it doesn’t matter how long or how often you practice you will just be drowning in that same old breath, squeezing the Life out of your lungs.
I am no example and I have no miracle solutions to these moments of crisis. But, in my experience what has saved me in the past and which is saving me now is the reminder of the neutrality of your practice. It is neither good, nor bad - it will always be reflecting your own attitude or approach to it. At the end of the day, it is only doing its practice-job, which is to reveal what you need to learn and to give you what you lack of ; and you, are only doing your student/human job which is to contemplate, listen and receive so that you can start unpacking, unloading and walk the path joyfully. (and, by the way, your practice does not necessarily involve a mat - just saying).
Remembering and honouring the desire that brought to the mat at the first place can also pacify your relation to Practice. And if you have stopped coming to your mat, just remember that very first time: how it left you and how it made you come back ever since. That desire, that impulse is the inhalation of practice, it at the heart of your humanity, that burning desire to transcend, to grow, to expand, to return ; to love and be loved. It is ICCHA SHAKTI, the expression of your will , the fuel to your actions, your opportunity to thrive in this world.
And that desire is not external to you, it is at the core of your being,
and never can it leave you.
In times of doubt, let’s remember that our very existence is the result of a majestic impulse,
the fruit of Shakti’s in-breath wanting to experience itself, wild & free.