Yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind.” ~ Yoga Sutra 1: 2
Have you ever taken a vacation to the mountains or seashore only to return to the city and feel overwhelmed by the noise and activity?
Perhaps you didn’t even notice the noise and activity before, but now it feels like a rude intrusion to your inner sanctuary. But why didn’t it bother you before? The city was just as noisy before as it is now.
Contrast, it’s what enables us to sort information and experience. Without contrast, life would flat line.
Our yoga practice is in a sense is like the weekend retreat to the seashore; it brings stillness to our busy minds. But unlike a retreat, our yoga practice requires great effort.
Patanjali teaches us in Yoga Sutra 2: 46 that an asana (a yoga posture) must have two qualities before it is truly an asana — sthira (steadiness) and sukha (alertness). But to achieve both steadiness and alertness in any asana requires great effort and consistent practice.
Isn’t it ironic that while the goal of yoga is the stilling of the mind, getting there requires so much work?
Not really. Again, it’s the contrast that propels life forward.
We come to our yoga mat every day. That requires effort and commitment! But in the work, we suddenly find that sweet spot where everything is still. Time stops as our mind stops and we touch infinity. It may last only a second and then it’s back to the city, back to the work, but that moment of stillness fuels our practice and gives us the incentive to continue.
For now, it’s only a brief time out but with continued practice, may those moments of stillness accompany us even as we return to the busyness of life.
Photo by Robert Volpe on Unsplash
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