Ask a practitioner sincerely and they will likely discuss the ebb and flow of practice. Some days we arrive at our mats and flow as if on eagles' wings. Other days, the practice consist wholly of the simple act of sitting still and breathing. On some rare occasions, we may not practice any physical aspect of Yoga at all.
For sure, one must aspire to practice daily. The handbook is broad and the options are many, from asana to pranayama to dhyana, there really are so many ways we can maintain a daily practice.
BKS Iyengar advises that we chose an aspect of Yoga which most appeals to our character in that moment and make every effort to practice with unwavering dedication.
The physical aspect of the practice is simply the gateway, however. There is no Yoga if when you roll up your mat you proceed to cause strive and conflict throughout your day. There is no dhyana if you cannot sit still and listen to the struggles of those around you. There is no Yoga without humanity.
Recent events in the world have shown the resistance of so many to change. That can be accepted to an extent, for it is human nature to resist. However, why is it such a struggle for people of privilege to simply listen? In particular, so called Yogis are guilty of rank spiritual bypassing. Spiritual bypassing is looking at the plight of an individual and retreating into your ego with a statement like, "Oh, it's God's plan." Well the, ask yourself, "Do you really know God so intimately that you are acutely aware of her plan for the world?" If so, why not share this plan with us?
We can all have opinions. But ask yourself, "Why do I hold this view or that view? Is it self-serving or do I truly believe that my opinion is robust enough that it may become a truth?"
The goal of Yoga is liberation. The liberation cannot, surely, be an outer body explosion into the ether. Rather, and I hope, it can only be liberation from deceiving ideas which obscure our true vision of reality. The world is as it is, but our minds must not be trusted.
This is not some mild form of psycho-babble. I would encourage you to read the work done by Daniel Kahneman in relation to our unconscious biases. If the esoteric teachings of Yoga are a stretch, then the rationalist approach of Western academia is arriving at similar conclusions.
And if you really want a head-scratcher, why not delve deep into the debate raging between the idea of free will versus the possibility of determinism. If you think you know yourself, maybe it's time to dig a little deeper and see what really lies beneath your conscious meanderings and concerns.
Speaking with a friend recently, he told me in his work he considers the four faces that shape a person:
- The face we show the world;
- The face we show our friends and families;
- The face we show ourselves; and,
- The face we cannot see.
On that bombshell, have a great day.