“Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness.”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Sa Tu Dirgha Kala Nairantarya Satkarasevito Drdhabhmih

Sah (sa): this | Tu: and | Dirgha: long | Kala: time | Nairantarya: without break | Satkara: earnestness | Asevito: well attended to | Drdha: firm | Bhumih: ground

“[L]et us not be like little children who sow a seed today and dig it up tomorrow to see how much the root went down. We need all these three qualities: patience, devotion and faith [to be successful in our goal of embodying our highest expression in this lifetime].”

-Sri Swami Satchidananda

Habits, routines, and muscle memory all take effort and time to develop (even the undesirable ones).

Some routines and practices are easier than others to internalize, and it may take very little time to build up the necessary habits that are required in order to successfully integrate these routines into your life, or into your being. This usually occurs when a new routine or practice is naturally supported, or strengthened, by something else that you already effortlessly or regularly do. For example, you may find that it is easy to integrate regular Pranayamas (breath work) into your day if you already regularly focus on your Asana practice (bodywork). These practices are complementary since they can be done together, and effective breathing is useful for deepening muscle flexibility, strength, and functioning, and will also support you with becoming more present in your body-work overall, and, therefore, better equipped to use what you gain from both practices to further develop your Pratyahara practice (control of the senses), your Dharanas (concentration/focus), and Dhyanas (meditations) as well.

Regardless of how easy it is to integrate any new habit, skill, routine, or practice into your life, however, it will take time for it to be mastered. Developing ease with a new habit, routine, lifestyle, practice, and so forth will require serious dedication and continuous effort over time (even if it is relatively short by some standards) in order to make what you are doing/practicing second nature.

Yoga, and particularly steadiness of mind here, is no exception to this requirement. Yoga (all Eight, or other, steps on your path combined in a way that works perfectly for you) requires practicing each day and for a long period of time (more than just for a day or two periodically), to develop/condition you both physically and mentally.

Both your body and your mind require training and practice in order to integrate knowledge and experience, which will then support you to skillfully implement what you know/learn masterfully in your life for intended results–here, again, we specifically refer to mental steadiness that will support you to attain higher knowledge/understanding and more liberated states of being/awareness. And only time will provide you with the necessary “training space” for this experience/mastery to be attained.

It is, therefore, essential that you practice your Yoga (efforts to create the conditions for Union of body-mind and spirit) every day diligently and earnestly to gain the success/results that you seek. Remember, please, that (unless you were recruited from birth to strive for Liberation that comes through setting a solid groundwork for success by first attaining Yoga, and you had the perfect conditions and predispositions to never pick up any body-mind dysregulation or counter-productive illusory conditioning in your understanding of your Self and Reality, managing to never experience any traumas/suffering or discomforts in life, or get distracted/confused, and you were always magically surrounded by perfectly enlightened beings) most of the work that you are doing in your practice, is actually unlearning a disconnected/unconscious way of being and seeing in the world, so, it will take time to dissolve your old patterns and learn to come to ease with a more expanded Self/Reality.

Remain a neutral, unattached, observer and simply show up to be your best, do your best, to breathe, to stretch, to purify your mind, to train your mind to be single-focused, and to empty yourself from chitta vrittis/mental distortions. This alone will get you closer to reaching Samadhi with every bit of energy that you devote to your practice each day. And getting to Samadhi is then your solid stepping stone for full Liberation when you have mastered all of the previous limbs before it.

The best way to ensure that you are practicing at all times, continuously, without pause, and in all earnestness, for a long enough period of time for your practice to “stick,” is to integrate Yoga practice into your life and work, as it already exists at first (no need to run off to join the monetary), while also simultaneously developing a suitable “updated” lifestyle around your practice. Practice all aspects of your path while interacting with others and while simply living your life; integrate work on your Yamas, Niyamas, Asanas, Pranayamas, Pratyaharas, Dharanas, and even your Dhyanas into your life so that they are just a part of your moment to moment experience by remaining mindful and acting in accordance with this mindfulness at all times.

Your life is already the perfect training ground for your Yogic path; it is the perfect field of experience for practicing being the best that you can be in this lifetime, and for being the best you can be/are once you attain your goal of Liberation.

So, this week, look for opportunities in your life/regular day that allow you to practice the Eight (or others depending on the type of Yoga that you participate in) Limbs of Yoga .

How can you integrate your Yoga practice into everything that you do, from working, to cleaning, to eating, to walking, to speaking, and everything in between?

Remember that:

"If you are...patient [in your practice], your mind is more settled, and what you do will be more perfect. If you are unsettled and anxious to get results, you are already disturbed; nothing done with that disturbed mind will have quality."

Sri Swami Satchidananda

So, simply, do your practice at all times, and for as long as it takes to achieve your goal of ultimate enlightenment and the expression of your highest Self. And be sure to do this without attachment to obtaining results at all, or within a given timeframe, since both a clear mind and your earnest devotion are all that are required in order to reach Samadhi. Just trust the process and move forward; it is that much of a certainty when you are sincere. If you cannot see the end goal in sight as of yet, know that with practice comes peace, and peace of mind has many useful benefits in life in and of itself, as we have discussed before.

One moment of practice at a time is how you obtain results. Practice continuously at all times by integrating your efforts into even the most mundane parts of your everyday lived experience and results will come to/for you in time.

As the saying goes: “you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” And then take the next and the next…this is how you get to your destination.

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