My perspectives on Patanjali Yogsutra, Article 11: Practice makes everything perfect!

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“Do it over and over again, until it becomes a part of you”

In due course of our lives, we learn new skills and knowledge. Bringing it into practice is the first process and the next is to make it a part of your DNA-i.e., to make it a permanence. Having commenced the Practice, one has to do it systematically and regularly to make it Perfect. This action of practicing must be regular and be uninterrupted.

Sage Patanjali quotes,

स तु दीर्घकालनैरन्तर्यसत्कारासेवितो दृढभूमिः॥१४॥

sa tu dirghakala nairantarya satkarasevito drdhabhumih:

Translation: Practice that is done for a long time, without a break and with sincere dedication becomes a firmly rooted, stable, and solid foundation. The real benefits of the practice are revealed when we dedicate ourselves to the practice long-term.

It is said that when you practise something for 21 days continuously, it becomes a habit. Habits die hard! Those who have tried to do a particular new exercise, preparation for an exam, some new skillset, yoga or any spiritual endeavour would have noticed that it gets interrupted, making them drop it.

The Hindu Darshan Shastra (Hindu school of philosophy) anticipates this. They believe that this, apart from the individual’s lack of resolution and laziness, is due to disturbance from the forces that tend to disturb the regularity of practice.

Regarding the journey of Yoga too, this concept matters a lot. Our body and mind experience the bliss of yoga, but in order to sustain these good feelings, the practice needs to be consistent. Then only, we can get the advantages of the practice on all levels.

Some days one tends to find a thousand reasons not to show up to the mat. Some days we will be too busy to practice. Practice for five minutes anyway. Some days we will have more time and hence practice will naturally last longer. Other days, a short practice will be enough. The commitment of getting on to mat irrespective of the situations consistently is what will make the most difference.

What we need to understand that, we need to set smaller goals. Setting huge expectations in the beginning and then now being able to do it will agitate our mind further.

In your journey of Yoga, consider the example of a river that has just sprung from its origin in the mountains and moving towards the ocean to merge with the vastness. In the journey it comes across various terrains, geographical hurdles, seasonal variations but moving without stopping in its tracks & moving on persistently to join the ocean. Similarly, the aspirants will face multiple hurdles, distractions, situations and moods too at times in the journey of Yoga.

 

As the famous Sanskrit adage goes, चरैवेति चरैवेति i.e., keep moving in the forward direction. Our mantra should be “Keep going, keep going, never stopping and never tiring, keep steadfastly moving forward”

The meandering river collects the silt on its banks while flowing, it nourishes the lives of trees, animals and humans on the way. Similarly, the Yoga aspirant too should keep learning from experiences on the way in life and focus on enriching the lives around us in our journey towards our goal of yogic salvation. Only then does the yogic journey get its real pace and meaning.

It is the immense faith of river in the fact that it will reach the ocean one day helps her stay steadfast in her journey. If we too keep this unshakable faith in our journey, our destination may become a lot easier.

The following tips may prove useful in building your practice be it in yoga or anything in life towards the journey to the final destination.

  • Keep faith in yourself
  • Enjoy the journey than being anxious about the destination
  • Give yourself small & achievable goals
  • Be realistic and forgiving if something is not achieved as per the expectations
  • Move on with more determination
  • Try to rise a step ahead every time you fall
  • Learn from mistakes on the way
  • Seek guidance and help when in dilemma or trouble
  • Eliminate self-doubt and any negative influences
  • At the end of the day mark your efforts during the day and then plan how you can do better for the next day.

 

For any queries on Yogsutra or Sage Patanjali’s teachings, or to know more tips on strengthening practice, get in touch with me at sahna@pravaahwellness.com.

 

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