A part of me wishes I could tell you (and myself) that over the years I have practiced Yoga (on the mat) consistently. But that is not the truth. I’ve been through periods of consistent & intense practice, periods of erratic practice, and periods of no practice.
I have observed numerous patterns in the development of my practice:
- Recess leads to Progress. Almost every time I came out of recess and resumed practice – I experienced substantial progress. I found I could do things with my body and breath that I couldn’t do before. It felt as though recesses enabled my body to assimilate things I had learned and practiced. My body not only remembered what it had known but found it’s way into new places.
- Progress usually leads to Excess. Progress leads to a sense of achievement and satisfaction. It enables me to do more, to intensify my practice. Being able to do more makes me curious and curiosity motivates me to push my limits. If I am not attentive I over-do and push my system into excess. Alas, progress is a temporary experience – it is quickly assimilated and then it’s gone. When progress ceases, motivation wavers. So I cannot maintain excess for long, and my practice breaks.
- Excess leads to Recess. When my practice breaks, it usually wavers and eventually I find myself in a period of no practice. And the cycle repeats itself.
I am currently in a period of consistent and focused practice. My focus and exploration now is on correct effort. I try to approach every practice session, every practice sequence, every asana and every breath with an awareness of correct effort in intentions, breath and body. I have a feeling that I am doing something different this time. I know where the trap to excess awaits me, I am practicing near it and I have not yet fallen into it.
I think that my Shakuhachi practice is tempering me. I am a beginner in Shakuhachi playing so I am revisiting a phase of learning that is slow, unsatisfying and requires persistence, patience and much repetition.
I am curious to see what happens in the coming months.