Practice with patience devotion and faith
The key components to a sustainable and life changing Ashtanga practice
"Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness.”
— Yoga Sutras 1.14
Ashtanga practice is not a quick fix. If you come to it with the expectation that it change your body, mind and life from day one you will be disappointed. It demands patience, devotion and faith.
Patience means that you will have to practice for a long time before you see and feel the first results. This might be weeks, even months depending on how often you practice, your age, lifestyle etc.
Devotion means that you will have to practice at least 5-6 times a week. For it to be part of your life, it needs to become a daily habit, to the point that you cannot imagine your life without it. Intelligent and conscious repetition is key to mastering any craft and Ashtanga practice is not an exception.
Faith is maybe the most important of the three. You need to trust the practice. Treat it with respect and not question it every time it does not “deliver” what you expect it to. Remember it is not not a quick fix or an over the counter medication. It is a powerful practice that can transform your life but you need to allow it to. Can you drop all your expectations and yet put the effort every day? Can you have faith in something that exists for thousands of years, long before our culture of “maximum results with minimum effort” was born?
Having faith and sticking to something is a challenge when there are so many choices out there and everyone else is trying ten different things every day. I am not saying that trying things and having choices is a bad thing per se. The question is what do you do with your freedom. Too many choices can make one indecisive and become a justification for not going any deeper than the surface in anything you try. And yet, it is under the surface where treasures are found but you need to be willing to take the time to go there. And for that, you need to have faith. In other words, if you feel that this practice is good for you, do not question it and give it all you have.
The reward for those who practice with patience, devotion and faith goes beyond any expectations. It is not just a firmly grounded practice and a strong and healthy body. It is a mind that works for you and not against you. It is peace.