As a teacher I have seen many students come and go over the years.
Some have been attending classes with me since the beginning.They show up week after week demonstrating a remarkable level of commitment to the SADHANA (practice) and no small amount of trust in myself (something that never fails to leave me humbled).
However there are also those students who attended with enthusiasm for a few months and then vanished off the face of the earth. From having been the first to arrive in class and the last to leave, I promptly never hear from them again!
It's something I have learnt not to take personally. The nature of YOGA practice is such that although many begin in earnest, few actually make any real progress because what starts
with casual attendance of a weekly class begins to evolve into a much more powerful and uncontrollable beast. An effective yoga practice initiates a deep level of physical, emotional, mental and personal transformation. So much so that before you know what has happened your seemingly innocuous 'stretch' class has had the effect of making you question every aspect of who you are, what you believe and how your life works.
This can come as quite a shock. Suddenly our fragile coping strategies start to dissolve and we can no longer avoid the burning issues that confront us about our existence and the meaning of our life. It can feel like all of our repressed anxieties, unresolved personal problems and uncertainty about life start to slowly consume us.
If you begin to experience some or all of these symptoms it is a sure sign that the practice is working, that the INNER ALCHEMY is underway and that your state of mind is changing.
To no longer be content with the superficialities of the physical world can come as a shock, so much so that many quit yoga to avoid having to actually deal with what it reveals about our self.
It usually happens very slowly and innocently. Initially we find a plausible excuse not to go to class - such as bad weather or sickness - then once we’ve lost our routine our yoga practice starts to drift away and we settle back into our old patterns.
The mind's NUMBER ONE JOB is to protect and maintain our sense of self (who I am and who I am not). Ashtanga Yoga, being a very powerful system to initiating change, begins to wear away the hard edges of our ego, causing the mind to fight back and protect what we have come to believe about our self and the world. Sometimes that manifests as a conscious or unconscious rejection of yoga.
Ashtanga Yoga holds up a powerful MIRROR and very often we don't like what it shows us, but was it the mirrors fault that we saw that?
Had we stuck with the practice we would have discovered the richness of insight it can deliver to us as it systematically exposes our personality blind spots. That naked truth is an extremely hard reality to face and so sometimes you really, really, really want to quit.
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