Day becomes night. Flowers blossom and petals drop. Nothing will remain the same. Yet why can it be so hard to change old habits? Why can it be so hard to grow? I've been thinking a lot about this as I fall back into old ways of thinking. As I resist doing things that will aid in my growth. As I let doubt roll in like an early morning fog. Unlike the natural aging process, true inner growth and healing takes practice. It takes work. You have to show up. You have to show your ego who's boss.
Your ego doesn't always think you're great and amazing and my reference to ego should not be mistaken with egotistical. Your ego is more of a mistaken identity. It is your mind, which is your instrument used to see, sense, and process thoughts, not your true self. Meaning, not your aware self. Therefore the ego plays tricks on us. It loves habit. It loves to trick us into staying in our comfort zone and gives us plenty of distractions from tapping into our true selves. It can prevent us from healing old wounds which will serve to expand our comfort zones. It can prevent us from finding discernment, clarity, and the light within.
We practice yoga to find balance between your true self (Purusha) and the created universe (Prakriti). That in itself is called discernment (Viveka). Viveka is the shifting of awareness and it takes practice to achieve this state. It takes willingness to practice through the resistance. Old habits such as listening to your mind are hard to break. Old thought patterns, old wounds left to heal feel comfortable like a worn in couch after awhile. The more you practice and do the work, the sooner that old couch will be replaced.
When you are on your yoga mat and perhaps in your least favorite pose, use your discernment to find out what feels the pain. Is it resistance to the energy opening in you that will help you grow? Or is it really your knee? If it's truly your knee, check your alignment and opt for the modified version of the pose. If it's resistance to the inner work that is happening take note. Then breath into the discomfort knowing that just like the seasons will change, so will the posture.
Sometimes the resistance is in just showing up. First, your yoga practice should never be a source of your suffering. In other words, don't beat yourself up if you miss a class. However, do question the why. Is it the ego making excuses? Or do you really need a rest day?
Healing takes work and it takes rest. Discerning between the two leads to self love. Trusting your true self is self love. Yoga is about finding liberation where there was resistance. It's about the union of active participation with introspection. Find your edge and find your ease. When we create space in our bodies, we will expand our comfort zones. We will heal.
Create your own practice. As you develop your practice it will become a relationship. Something you develop overtime. Eventually, you will deepen your practice. There are 8 limbs of yoga. Perhaps do one thing everyday in the effort of growth.
Yama- abstinence (Outward behavior- being kind, non-violent, truthful,etc.)
Niyama- observance (Inward behavior- purity, contentment, willingness to endure, self study etc.)
Asana- Postures (movements and poses in a yoga class)
Pranayama- Breathwork (conscious breathing either to create energy or to relax)
Pratyahara- Sense withdrawal
Samadhi- Mastery - bliss
The happiness we can receive by mastery lasts longer than temporary joys. We should all become masters. That is true freedom and real victory. If you are free from your own mind and senses, nothing can bind you: then you are truly free. --- Sri Swami Satchidananda