Firstly, thank you, to Guy for such an interesting post which was thoughtful, well structured and certainly made me stop and think about my practice.
I was sat on a beach in Egypt, when I jotted down these thoughts and around 1630 I would return to my room, collect my mat and go out onto the balcony to do my practice whilst it was still warm. Easy when one is relaxed and warm with your body feeling flexible and strong, very different from having the alarm go off at 5am, when it is still dark with the weather cold and wet and yet I still drive the half hour into Brighton, to go through my practice with like minded people and then head off to complete a days work. So why?
Am I addicted? For me the answer is no.
I came to my practice 9 years ago. My reason for wanting to study yoga came from a need to be calmer, more relaxed and to find some sort of peace of mind. Like most people who come to the practice I was quickly drawn to the physical aspect of the practice and marvelled at the ability of the students around me. I wanted to be one of them, my ego had kicked in and I decided I was going to be a “super yogi”.
Over time i became more interested in the spiritual side of the practice and understand what the practice was about. Whilst I have only scratched the surface of this side of the practice, I know now and accept that asana, is not the beginning or end, that it will not deliver me to enlightenment and I will probably never see the end of intermediate and that’s fine.
There are days when I cannot practice due to other commitments and having a non practicing wife, means there are times when my practice has to take second place. I try to accept my practice for what it is, for all the complications that crop up and for the good and the bad days.
This is my attempt at non attachment and my idea of commitment to the practice, we all have so many other things to juggle in our busy lives in order to fit in a daily practice. I believe that if all students that come to the practice would just stick with it then they too will have a deeper understanding and experience the pleasure a daily practice can be bring without feeling guilt if practice is missed one day but accept where they are and see it for what it is.
I am reminded of the Niyamas, and in partcular Santosha. Contentment – so be content with where you are and enjoy.
Thanks for this post. Seems like you’ve benefited from a little break in the sunshine. I’ve had one of those tough weeks work wise and not made it to practice at all! It’s so easy to give myself a hard time about it, so your post is most relevant.
Somehow I have this idea that I can only practice santosha if I’ve done my physical practice but contentment is available right now, right here in this moment. Oops it’s gone again! Two of the yamas that spring to mind here are Ahmisa or non-violence particularly the way which we speak to ourselves and to do so in a loving compassionate way. The other is Asteya or non-grasping – this is very relevant to the physical practice as well as in our lives. It’s important not to be envious or begrudging of others or even towards ourselves. These two yamas can really help us to cultivate contentment. Is contentment something that happens to us or do we choose it? I choose to be content today.
Thanks again for you post and for sharing your experience.