A student who was struggling with their home practice reached out to me this week. I love it when students do this. It shows that they are on the path, and not afraid to ask for help.
All of the obstacles or impediments we face in practice are part of the universal experience. In fact, Patanjali has listed them in the Yoga Sutras. Without going into great detail (maybe I’ll save that for another blog post), they fall into four categories:
1. Physical obstacles
2. Mental obstacles
3. Intellectual obstacles
4. Spiritual obstacles
So how do we minimise these obstacles? How do we work to slowly eradicate them? The answer, of course, is practice. But what about the conditions around our practice?
It’s one of the things my teacher, Peter Thomson, always brings up with us. Are you looking after the conditions around your practice? What we mean by this is those things that affect all of the above four categories. What am I doing to support my physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual self? And what am I doing that is undermining these things, both off and on the mat?
Let’s focus on ‘off’ the mat’ right now, because if we don’t actually get to the mat, there is no ‘on the mat’ to even concern ourselves with.
It is not a co-incidence that I’m writing about this stuff at this time of year. We all have functions and parties to attend. We all have Christmas shopping to do. No problem. But in between, are we eating well? Are we resting well? Are we keeping stimulation to a minimum? Within the structure of our busy lives, what are the small things can we do to support ourselves? Are we still coming to class?
Everyone goes away on holidays or gets busy. What’s important is that we are constantly building our practice bank (and attending class is part of that), so that our intention to practice stays strong. This means that at first opportunity we can get back to the mat and get back on with our practice. Because practice supports EVERYTHING.
Be kind to your self. Take care. Have fun. Drink lots of water. Sleep as much as you can.
Have a great Christmas and New Year. Practice. And come to class 🙂