Yoga is Not the Easy Road

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
— Beverly Sills
My darling daughter Bella treading very carefully over an icy path along the Annapurna circuit in Nepal. Once step at a time, one day at a time, one breath at a time.

My darling daughter Bella treading very carefully over an icy path along the Annapurna circuit in Nepal. Once step at a time, one day at a time, one breath at a time.

The Path of Yoga is not the Easy Road.

There is no quick fix, magic pill solution here.

I see what you want, hey, I want it too!

A break-through weekend, a spontaneous awakening, then our care-free, born-again, happily-ever-after  life can begin…

But alas, we don’t sell that here. 🤷‍♂️

Yoga is the path of Sadhana, the path of effort. Sustained effort, practiced with steadiness and ease. 

These two Sutras sketch the general gist of the modus operandi on the yogic path;

Perfection in practice comes when one continues to practice with sincerity and respect for a long period of time without any interruption.
- Sa tu dirghakala nairantarya satkarasevito drdhabhumih
— Patanjali Yoga Sutra 1.14
Posture (should be) stable and comfortable.
- Sthira-sukham asanam
— Patanjali Yoga Sutra 2.46

Comfortable effort sustained over an extended period of time, that’s what gets results, that’s the path of yoga. 

Yoga Requires Radical Acceptance.

Yoga at it’s beating heart is the radical acceptance of life as it truly is, right here & right now. No fanciful embellishments, just this, yoga is the adoration of the miracle that exists right now within each moment of THIS life.

We are asked to embrace what is, to accept it for all that is is, the creation and destruction, the the rebirth and the despair. We are asked to accept it exactly as it is, to worship the miracle that made this moment come to be. 

Yet the is a difference between acceptance and resignation or conformity. Acceptance is not passive - it is essentially pro-active  and the starting point for meaningful spiritual work. Acceptance is ground zero for creating meaningful, lasting change. 

Acceptance is about showing up for yourself fully and with an open heart, however life may ask of you today, without running from this moment, as painful, uncomfortable or unbearable as it gets.
Acceptance is a staring contest with the imperfect, aching beauty of your life. When you accept what is, you become aware of what doesn’t work & empowered to change it.
— Andréa Balt

Radical acceptance asks us to relinquish our embellishments of truth, our desire for ‘more than this’. We wholeheartedly accept life as it is right now, in its darkness & light - yet without letting our limiting stories define us. Yet we remain proactive, we always strive for the betterment of ourselves, so we might serve for the betterment of all beings. 

The Great Paradox of Yoga

The only short-cut that I know along this path is the practice of complete surrender, Ishvara Parindhana, letting going of everything that you think that you know, listen to the whispers of the divine moving through you, be amazed that each day offers a new opportunity, free from your limiting stories and the obligations of yesterday. 

The more readily we can come to this, complete surrender to the divine will, the shorter that our journey shall be. But if you are human (assuming you are, but cool if you’re not 👽 🙌) - then complete surrender is not going to be easy.

So we make it a daily practice - and each day offers a fresh opportunity to affirm it. We create a Sankalpa, let that sink into our psyche until the seed of that Sankalpa has germinated and the branches extend through all aspects of our life.

Yoga is the practice of Self-Evolution, and evolution takes time. Sure there can be ‘moments' of revelation and periods of rapid development, but when we reflect we shall see that these ‘aha' moments are usually precluded by long periods of preparation.

In the other blogs on this topic of Yoga & the Art of Change, we have compared developing sadhana and creating life change with growing a garden: When we are creating a garden we prepare our garden bed, fertilise the soil, plant our seeds. We then water our seeds, care for the sprouts, regularly attending to our growing plants, weeding out the bad habits as they pop up, pruning our lives towards simplicity, nourish our bodies, with rest, food, water, love. 

Life is not meant to be easy, my child;
But take courage: it can be delightful.
— George Bernard Shaw

All of this care will ensure that our plants grow - yet in spite of these best efforts - a plant will only grow as fast as a plant can grow. 

Sure with the best conditions a plant will thrive, will flourish and grow quickly. But we must still give time, time. 

Allowing the space for the plant to grow in the time that it needs to grow. For the roots of our Sadhana to sink deep, creating stability so that our branches can grow far and wide.

A rainforest doesn’t  grow in a weekend, it take a lifetime, (or lifetimes..?) but if we surrender to the enormity of this, let go of the idea  of some quick fix breakthrough, synonymous with there being a destination, and we can relish the journey, from where we are, right here, right now.

The Knowledge base of Yoga, as proposed through the classic texts, the instruction manuals of the tradition, are the best efforts compiled from the experience of many many thousands who have walked the path before. All of these manuals for the mastery of living suggest the same thing - If you want Liberation, Freedom, Moksha in this life time, the best advice is patience, diligence, devotion and perseverance. 

Walk softly, but keep walking.

A lifetime is created by lots of little moments woven together.

A little bit each day, a little bit in this moment, just one conscious breathe, one mindful action, one after the next, one moment at a time - it really is that simple.