The title of this post is a shortened version of Pattabhi Jois’ maxim “practice yoga, and all is coming”.
So what, this is it? All the books accumulating in private libraries all over the world, all the seminars taken, all the theory learned, what for? Can it really be as simple as that? Says Guruji: “Each morning wake up. Do as much yoga as you want. Maybe you’ll eat, maybe you’ll fast. Maybe you’ll sleep indoors, maybe you’ll sleep outdoors. The next morning, wake up. Do as much yoga as you want. Maybe you’ll eat, maybe you’ll fast. Maybe you’ll sleep indoors, maybe you’ll sleep outdoors. Practice yoga, and all is coming!”
I really hold dear his advice to practitioners of yoga. Probably it is as true today as it was true thousands of years ago, when Siva practised, apparently the first yogi the world has ever seen. The core of the practice essentially needs to be, well, the practice itself. No reading or studying can replace what happens on the mat. What we’re trying to find in books, the magic thing that will trigger a transformation of our innermost self, can be had more directly, like a slap on the face. Every day when we say “good morning” to our mat at 6am. Yes, it will hit us hard. The sleepy lower mind will say, “oh dear, that orange mat again, do we have to do this? I really need to sleep more, and a coffee would be nice, too”, and right then, when the higher mind is taking control, the transformation begins. We get on the mat, and we start the practice. The higher mind is getting stronger and stronger every minute of our practice, thinking: “this feels actually really good”. Maybe two or three more Asanas, oh yes, and that backward bend I have been working on for months, I’ll try that, too. Satisfaction starts flowing in, as if someone had switched the light on. It feels great. We have mastered the lower mind, we’ve overcome the challenge and yes, we’ve transformed ourselves a tiny, little bit more. We can do this, without any external help. Just like Siva, being all by himself, in the Himalayas, following his practice.
What is needed to trigger the longed for transformation is not an external thing. It’s not books, seminars, teachings – eventually, once the foundations for the practice are laid, it’s all within. The beauty of this wonderful system is that with each time our higher mind overcomes the lower mind we become more strongly willed. Every day, stepping on the mat becomes easier. We have cultivated a thought pattern (“I can do this”), which created a habit that we (ideally) cultivate every day. By creating a positive habit we have the power to transform ourselves because the character is made of – exactly – habits.
Gotta go now, my orange mat is waiting for me 🙂