During my early 20's I was blessed with some (limited!!) physical talent for asana practice, the stamina and patience to get onto my mat and do the practice everyday. At the beginning postures seemed to come easily. I enjoyed being a member of a community and the practice gave me peace of mind during a trying time.
All of these short term results were veiled in delusions of external desires, goals and motivations. Without regular long-term guidance of a true teacher, sat-guru, someone who had experienced Yoga, I was going through the motions of some kind of spiritual tourism rather than sādhanam (spiritual practice).
There is nothing theoretically wrong with using any Yoga asana system for relaxation benefit. Yet if we do not move beyond our comfort zone and find a sat-guru to help guide us we are missing the opportunity to recognize and move through klesha. Klesha are mental states which temporarily cloud the mind's true nature manifesting in various forms as unhelpful actions of body, speech and mind.
Ignorance, the sense of I or ego, attachment, aversion and fear of death are the five poisons or klesha.
"How do you know this transformation to be true? All I experience when I do many vinyasa and practice the ashtanga system is bordem and a sore, tired body." I know it to be true because of my personal experience which has developed an unwavering faith in the system I have dedicated my life to over the past ten years. I see students bodies and minds change when they make a firm commitment to this practice.
I know it to be true as I study Sri Patanjali’s great work and receive teachings from my Guru. Doubt, fear and ego rooted in the body only feed negative tendencies situated within the mind. Our reasons for not practicing start with physical pain and turn into a rapid downward cycle of reasons to give up;
The hinderances that distract the practitioner are, physical aliment (pain), sluggishness, unreasonable doubt, carelessness, laziness, indiscipline of the senses, increased illusion, inability to achieve progress, regression (non retention of achieved progress).
When we identify solely with our small self, our physical body, when we resist if a teacher tells us to stop, if we let our mind become heavy with every small physical discomfort we experience on the mat, we are feeding our tendencies or gunas. Therefore please consider the following sutrani as a way of moving through our human tendencies that can become hinderances;
The tendencies can be restrained only through practice and detachment.
It (practice) becomes consistent only if done for a long time without interruption and with sincerity.
With this sutrani in mind I would like to dedicate these ramblings to the students of the Mysore room who continue to practice, surrender humbly to authentic teachings with faith and commitment even when faced with adversary such as illness, personal loss, overwhelming heat, pain and exhaustion.
Om tat sat.