Progress on the Path?

At our recent Talk & Tea evening satsang a group of us gathered to reflect on progress on the path. How do you know you are really making progress in yoga?

One student shared that with 6 years of ongoing practice, he has discovered that progress in yoga takes time and a steady effort. I was truly grateful for his acknowledgement of the necessity for dedication in practice. And, I was especially thankful that it arose out of his experience.

Time, effort, and dedication – perhaps these are not immediately attractive “selling points” for yoga in the marketplace. Therefore, they might therefore be over-looked and under-emphasized in our current yoga culture.

The idea that progress in yoga requires a willingness to place ourselves, time and again, into a stream of practices and give ourselves to them might feel boring, heavy-handed or even intimidating at first.

As we continue, though, our understanding deepens. We come to realize that just as water carves out a canyon drip by drip, in the same way practice creates new and lasting impressions on our beings that are more deeply reinforced and strengthened over time. In this way, we are freed of old patterns of holding and limitation on all levels. Over time we awaken, ever more fully to a sense of wholeness and independent happiness.

Whether it’s touching your toes, healing a shoulder injury or finding inner peace, the transformation that happens as a result of practice is not a quick fix, but it is a real fix. The benefits of practice accrue over time and as a result of our dedication.

When we understand this we begin to see the effort required in yoga as a sweet and steady movement toward greater fulfillment.

We approach the time we set aside for practice with enthusiasm, recognizing that it is not only a gift to ourselves but also as an offering to the those around us.

We are able to prioritize making time and space for practice, clearing our schedule again and again to forge the pathway back to our most essential sense of our selves.

These are true signs that we are progressing on the path.