A Year of Daily Practice

April marks an anniversary for me; a year of ‘daily practice’. Until last year I maintained a 3-practice per week routine (basically asanas were the aerobic component of my strength-oriented fitness regime). Then, last spring I made it a goal to practice every day (except Moon Days). I haven’t always kept it but the key was to set the goal doing so has probably kept me practicing an average of 4-6 time a week throughout the year.

Apropos this anniversary, I’m in some kind of yogic sweet spot. Gone is the sleepy clumsy hapless start to the year that had me wrapping cars around concrete pylons – incidently, my plan to get to Mysore this winter took a financial kick in the teeth when I got that door fixed 🙂 But I am still hopeful.

I’ve been getting back into Iyengar’s writing lately. He has such a beautiful way of expressing what Yoga is about – his analogies truly hit mark. Yoga, he says, ascends on two wings – Abhyasa (Practice) and Vairagya (renunciation or detachment). He goes on to say that one builds the ladder for you to climb upwards towards self-realization, while the other pulls the ladder up behind you. One is positive – an act of commission, analogous to the Sun. The other is negative – an act of omission, analogous to the Moon. Focusing on one is detrimental to the sadhaka (devotee). As he puts it:

Without restraint, the forces generated by practice would spin out of control and could destroy the sadhaka. At higher levels, vairagya without abhyasa could lead to stagnation and inner decay.

As for my asanas. I have only missed 5 days since in the past month – and two of those were Moon Days. Even this week, despite having to go into the office every day and working 12-hour days, I managed to get up at 4 Monday through Wednesday to practice. I feel incremental progress daily.

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