Tatra sthitau yatno’bhyash. Translated to, “Of these two, effort toward steadiness of mind is practice.”
Sa tu dirgha kala nairantarya satkarasevito drdhabhumih. Translated to, “Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness.”
These two translations of Patanjali’s are by Sri Swami Satchidananda. Four days into 2017, and these two sutras feel particularly relevant with all the New Year’s resolutions around us. At the end of every year, many of us make resolutions to do better at something we struggle with or so pick up a new good habit. Most of the time, folks seem to give up on their resolutions after just a few weeks or months. Yoga is not simply something that will happen without effort and time. Just because it does not come quick and easy does not mean we should give up after a few attempts with perceived failed results.
If you’ve dabbled in the yoga world long enough, you’ve probably heard a teacher or guru say something along the lines of, “It will come in 10 years, that’s how long until you can insert asana here.” The first time I heard something like this, I thought it was so absurd I almost started laughing right there in the middle of class! As I continued my yogic journey, I heard testimonies from trusted teachers and I slowly began to realize that yoga has somehow escaped our instant gratification culture and that with effort and diligence, someday my inflexible body too, can do one of those crazy poses that is all over Instagram.
With any goal or resolution, it is important to be patient and to understand that change can take a lot of time and effort. Patanjali teaches us to have an honest and consistent practice, when we do this, eventually it (whatever “it” is) will come. In Sri Swami Satchidananda’s Translation and Commentary of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, he takes a very deep and insightful look at both of these sutras, which I encourage you to read. However, I leave you with my simple take-away as food for thought as you continue to keep your New Year’s resolutions and remember; yoga is not just the asanas, it should and can be practiced in every aspect of our lives.