Truth time. About halfway through this teacher training, I didn’t want to do it anymore. There was no specific event that triggered this change of heart, more a combination of slightly uncomfortable factors: a dislike of practice teaching, a guilt related to never quite understanding the material and never quite studying enough, a desire to have my Sundays back. I didn’t quit, though, because I’m a big believer in the universe giving you what you need when you need it. Since I’d signed up for this training I figured there was a pretty cool lesson nestled somewhere, something cooler than nailing a handstand because let’s be honest…I’ve got a minute until that happens. If the lesson didn’t reveal it self, I thought, I’d walk away with a deeper understanding of a practice that I love and no one would be hurt. Not to bad either way.
Over time, as they usually do, things started to fall into place. The morning after I found out I was pregnant I stumbled out of bed at 5 am, got dressed, headed to sunrise yoga. Why? Because Sri Swami Satchidananda nailed it when he translated Sutra 1:14:
Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness.
It’s almost like something beyond my consciousness pushed me out of bed and into my yoga pants. Of all mornings to skip, that would have been a good one to. However, doing things that help, helps and this is an obvious fact that I always like to ignore. My mind stuff stays pretty active, it got even more active after finding out there was a baby on they way. I thought about all kinds of things that I didn’t have any control over: selfish thoughts, comparing thoughts, fearful thoughts, planning thoughts, panicked thoughts. Then I remembered that I did have control over something. I could attend my practice without break and in all earnestness. That I can try and do.
Practice of this sutra in daily life reminds me to give sincere and regular energy to the things that help and try to stay away from the things that don’t help. Daily meditation practice, either through a seated meditation or practicing mindfulness as I move through my day can calm the mind stuff, helping me to feel less reactive and more confident. Reading of helpful books can help to nourish my mind and (kind of) prepare me for what is coming up next. Regular asana practice helps to feel strong in my body (and less like Jabba the Hut) and more aware of physical and emotional sensations as I experience them.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the quickness of life, forgetting to pay attention to the stuff that helps. It’s also easy to feel guilty, worrying you aren’t doing enough and aren’t doing what you are doing well enough. Sutra 1:14 reminds me that a sincere and regular practice of yoga will lead to countless benefits, one of my favorites being that your lesson is always there…sometimes you just have a wait a bit for it to reveal itself.