Abhyasa of svadhyaya

There is no substitute for hard work, abhyasa. While there was willingness to work, there wasn’t enough mental resilience to persist. In retrospect, it was not having a base of physical health and well being that made the mind crumble at the first sign of resistance.

My road to yoga came through pain and it is only through pain that healing was able to commence. The neck tractions would be agonizing while I was having them but it gave relief after. I could not rotate my shoulders behind without being in tremendous pain. But I practiced until one evening at home, there was a loud and painful click which made me stop where I was and just stay. After a couple of minutes, I found that my shoulders were pain free and I could rotate them without any discomfort. It felt magical and was a nudge to show me that the point was to practice sincerely. The physical benefits were a foregone conclusion, the real benefit was building mental strength.

Through regular practice, I gained the benefits of a sense of wellbeing and health. This allowed for a certain level of calmness to start noticing patterns- physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. In my mother tongue, there is a word called “nanni” which translates into grateful thanks. That was my overwhelming feeling at the end of class.

Some days the enthusiasm flags and the effort required to keep the practice fresh is tiring. That usually happens when my study work is slacking. So I get back to the tools of reading and writing which usually gets me back on track. Sometimes it is too much seriousness and then I need to find the lightness to laugh at myself. Sometimes it is letting go of a rigid attitude towards practice. A daily inventory helps me see the adjustments I need to make in my mental posture.

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