K. Puttabhi Jois, the father of the Ashtanga Yoga lineage, once said, “Do your practice, and all is coming.” As a once dedicated Ashtanga practitioner myself, this simple sentiment is something I always refer to—both in life and the asana practice.
In Western society, yoga asana is typically viewed as something of a commodity, a once-in-awhile class to stretch, decompress, or de-stress. And it can be all these things. However, the real beneficial potential of asana comes in the commitment, or the ‘practice’ itself—real improvements begin to aggregate quickly when a student commits to their practice, wherever they are.
While I don’t practice Ashtanga religiously anymore, the sentiment around it still rings true to me. Practice is the most important thing—even if you just show up on your mat to do a few movements each day, you’re helping yourself in a major way. You’re not only providing yourself with the opportunity to do something for both your physical and mental body, you’re embarking on the path of dedication.
I have a good friend who owns a gym in Phoenix, is a personal trainer and physical therapist, and all around fitness junkie. On a regular basis, he says exasperated gym-goers will ask him, “what’s the secret?” referring to the fact that they don’t think that they’re getting results, they’re intimidated by others who may be stronger, fitter, more flexible—a variety of different goals that they may observe—and perceive to be just out of reach.
He always responds the same way, even with the same phrase: “it all comes down to commitment.” Pick an exercise regimen you can stick to—one you enjoy, one that’s sure to give you personally comprehensive benefits you’re looking for, and it will serve you in ways you can’t imagine—the x-factor is your dedication. You simply have to choose to show up on a regular basis and practice.
This is actually how yoga evolved. Early practitioners understood that integrating these movements into their lives on a daily basis proved to be greatly helpful not only to their physical well-being, but also their mental and spiritual states. But it was only if they chose to do it regularly. It became something that was ingrained into Eastern culture.
If we all chose to eat ice cream for every meal, it will definitely show—in the same vein, a good diet proves to generate results as well, but only if it’s adhered to. This concept appears in life on an almost annoying basis; with dedication being really the only real challenge. Just showing up, again and again, day after day, is the most difficult part.
I hope to not sound preachy about this, but I always want to pass the message along because it’s the same lesson I’ve been learning over and over again through the years. Any good practice, aggregated over time, becomes something uniquely powerful. You may not notice it as its happening—the changes may be minute initially—but ultimately, commitment to your practice is the most powerful tool there is.
A note from Tribe: Kevin just had a birthday! Help us celebrate Kevin this week by taking any of his classes for free. Come Saturday or Sunday this weekend and Tuesday, the 25th for free.