There is no royal road to yoga.
You can sit in a studio, on the beach, on a mountain summit, a park, your chamber, living room, a gym. You can learn from a textbook, a paperback book, a magazine, a blog, Internet sources, a conference, a network event, from a friend, a video, from a teacher, for free or paid.
The hard truth: People who take the time and initiative to pursue the practice on their own are the only ones who make boundless progress. Going to a yoga studio once a week isn’t going to cut it. Staying idle and talking about it, won’t make a difference. Take a look at anyone you aspire to be like, you’ll find that he or she is a product of continuous practice and self-education. Yoga enthusiasts included.
This means to reach our goals, in anything, we must discipline ourselves to be intentional learners and practitioners.
Yoga is by discipline not by accident.
Just as every dust ball gets bigger the longer it rolls around under the bed, every practitioner picks up at least a little knowledge the longer they intentionally rolls around on the mat.
I am convinced that idleness and lack of creativity is the cause for most people’s depression. Why? Because both are negative states. Both are physically, mentally, and spiritually destructive. Both have a way of making you feel alone, cut off, excluded, unwanted, unimportant, or unnoticed. Both make you feel deficient or inadequate.
Self-education on the other hand, is always a positive state. It’s the springboard to greater self-awareness, greater creativity, fresh insights, and new growth. It’s something we choose to do. It doesn’t happen incidentally or automatically. It requires deliberate engagement, action, reflection, and discipline. It has the power to restore, build up, and ground us in who we are and who we want to be – and that enables us to reach out and give to others.
Learning is a lifelong discipline, as is yoga.
If I can do it, so can you.
How many stories do you need to hear before you believe in yourself and get rid of the “yeah, but…”?
“Yeah, but I don’t have money!”
“Yeah, but I’m not good at anything!”
“Yeah, but I don’t have time… energy… patience.”
I get it. Just a few years ago, I was an emotional wreck, borderline depressed. I could never put on muscles or become limber because I was just a skinny girl without a flexible bone in my body.
I spent years wishing I could be in shape and flexible. But I never did anything about it. I didn’t think I could.
You know what changed?
I got tired of looking around, seeing other people getting fit and flex-y. I finally said ENOUGH and did something about it. I started with youtube for guidance. Later, I invested in a teacher trainer and committed to a system, where all I had to do was show up, do the work, and I’d get results.
Of course it’s a lot easier to be an accidental learner or a convenience practitioner than an intentional learner. It’s a lot easier to say you’ll do something when you feel like it’s right than to actually do it. We’re born pretty lazy. And television spoon-feeds that inclination in megadoses. Watching TV is so much easier than choosing an anatomy book, reading words, practicing for 30-90 minutes, or self-education.
Self-education characterizes the accomplished person from the mediocre person.
* Be curious about everything.
* Try learning in a variety of ways —like listening to audibles, podcasts, watching youtube videos, or perusing tutorials on social media pages. It’s a lot easier to get motivated if you infuse yourself completely in what you are learning. For instance, you can listen to a meditation guide, spiritual guide, breathing guide, anatomy guide, or even a yoga guide while cleaning, commuting, driving around town, running an errand, traveling long-distance, or working around the house. You can learn from others through their coaching services, their free online courses, and of course through all the free yoga available on youtube.
* Ask questions. Leave a comment on someone’s page, social media, or video. Let them know what you are currently working on or struggling with. People are more than willing to share what they know. People get excited when others ask questions about what they do. It makes them feel good. So you not only help yourself, but you brighten someone else’s day. When someone cooks or bakes something you like, don’t you ask for the recipe? When you get it, you ask for even more advice? Personally, I get as much advice as I can, in as much detail as possible, especially when I am first trying a new recipe. And the same should be true in our other pursuits.
* Practice consistently. For most it’s a habit that they find hard to develop. Either because of job demands or small children in perpetual motion, they can’t seem to find the time. But there’s no other way. You won’t be able to reach goals or feel your best without actually doing the work. Let me encourage you to make time for the practice, even if it’s for ten minutes a day.
Where will you start?
What habit will you stop and what habit will you begin?
All people crave something, but only the souls of the diligent are satisfied because they discipline themselves to do something!