I’m always surprised that my shower isn’t clean—it gets ‘washed’ every time I shower, right?
If I’m not diligent with the shower scrubbing (which I’m not) it stays dusty no matter how many times I take a shower.
Studying yoga is similar. It requires attentiveness and daily commitment.
The Yoga Sutras say that studying yoga requires abhyasa, or ‘diligent practice.’ Abhyasa is required because there are a billion gajillion distractions vying for your attention. Identifying your happiness and worth by these distractions leads to confusion and frustration. However, uncovering purusha (your inner Light of awareness) leads to inner contentment. The knowledge of your inner Self requires turning your attention inward on a regular basis.
Abhyasa (diligent practice) sounds daunting. I mean, I have a lot going on. I’m preparing yoga workshops, writing a book, managing a yoga studio, teaching upwards of 12 classes a week, learning how to be a wife, keeping Russell Clive healthy, buying potted herbs like they are going out of style and maintaining loving friendships.
Do I really have time to do my yoga practice every day? YES. I absolutely have to make time.
Abhyasa is the desire to maintain a committed effort to know yourself at your deepest core and to use your yoga knowledge to heal your life, thought by thought, moment by moment.
It is the recognition that no one else is going to clean your shower: you are the only person who can turn inward, examine your thoughts, and use discernment to choose which thoughts are helpful in your healing process.
When I think about abhyasa, I remember that consistent, focused practice will deepen the connection to my Divine Inner Self. It may happen slowly, like little drops of water filling up a bucket, but eventually I’ve got enough water collected for a foot soak (yay!). Over time, my body, mind, and heart will be clear and healed. This cleansing process benefits myself and everyone who knows me. This inevitable truth makes it a lot easier to get up at 4:45 am and get myself on my meditation mat every morning.
If you already have a regular practice, make it more regular. If you don’t already have a regular practice, carve out some time in your day. Even if it is only 5 minutes, that’s a great place to start.
During this time, turn inward. Sit quietly. Allow the breath to wash away any residue of fatigue, tension, stress or distraction. Make this cleansing process a priority.
If you need a place to start, try listening to one of my Guided Meditations:
Be Still and Know:
Guided Meditation Teachings
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