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“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

You’ve made it over half-way through your 40 Day Challenge, and you deserve to be excited about your progress so far! It’s no small task – undertaking your own personal wellness and self-care on the daily, to the benefit of not just you but every living thing!

Whether it’s been an easy journey or a challenging one is neither here nor there; Whatever happened or didn’t happen is already past. And while we truly have no sway over what ultimately comes of the future, remember – the choices you make, the tiny actions you take, today so much greater than any other day – are matters most.

In Sutra 1.12, Patanjali states:
“abhyasa vairagyabhyam tan nirodhah” or, “stillness develops through practice and non-attachment”.

When Patanjali refers to “Abhyasa” (practice), he’s not just using the term passively or lightly. The type of “practice” that Patanjali implies in Sutra 1.12 is an approach to practice that is rooted in deep commitment, seriousness, and determined action. “Abhyasa” asks that we discipline ourselves and stay focused upon our intention, while being in action to support our daily practice – consistently and fervently – in mind and heart.

By coupling “Abhyasa” alongside “Vairagya” (non-attachment), Patanjali reminds us that, while we have agency and control over how we engage with our practice, it is absolutely necessary that we let go of any attachment or clinging to the achievement of our goal or the fruits of our actions. “Vairagya” speaks to the strength of our soul; to our willingness to be humble, patient, and receptive along this spiritual path – come what may.

In other words, “Abhyasa” (practice) is the steadiness that guides us forward, and “Vairagya” (non-attachment) is our willingness to be in the flow – to trust that we are, in fact, being guided. One day, one step, one moment at a time.

Stay focused, yogis. Set your drishti, trust your practice, and be like the water – flowing gracefully and freely around the inevitable rocks along your path. Know that we are walking right alongside you – every step of the way.

“Each morning, we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” – Jack Kornfield

Now that you have a full week of practicing coming into presence under your belt, regardless of how things have gone so far, this week offers an abundance of brand new opportunities to re-commit yourself to your practice – every day, every moment.

Whenever we take on the challenge of forging new pathways, releasing old habits, and re-wiring past patterns – of moving, thinking, reacting, and being – it’s not atypical to initially encounter resistance and doubt. Likewise, when we first begin the practice of choosing presence, it can feel surprising and even disheartening to discover just how NOT present we actually are! Take heart, dear friend – these discoveries are proof you are on the right path, and that your practice is already working as intended!

Through the tools of movement, breath, and meditation, we come to understand that presence is something we can interact with directly – and through it, we can cultivate a new relationship with our awareness of life itself. Suddenly, awareness – and life along with it – is no longer this passive thing that happens TO us; Rather, awareness is active, alert, curious, spacious, and free. And thankfully, we have the ability to be active participants in it! How we utilize our awareness to experience the experience of our life is entirely up to us. Pretty incredible, right?

You know what they say, though: “With great power comes great responsibility”. Does knowing better mean we always do better? Of course not! That’s why our challenge is 40 days, and not 4! It takes time, concerted effort, focused attention, and heartfelt intention to create impactful, lasting change. Rome was not built in a day, after all!

Be patient, dear friend. Be kind and compassionate with yourself as you journey onward this week. Yes, you’ll have setbacks; Yes, you’ll have days you fall back into your old ways or forget to prioritize what matters; Yes, you’ll miss practices and spend entire meditations thinking about your grocery list. You’re only human! Trust the process. Pause. Breathe. Feel all the feels. Stay with. Remember: Every single day – truly, every moment of every single day (precisely because you ARE human) you have CHOICE. No matter how far you may stumble off the path, you can choose to turn back. You have what you need to begin again. And again and again. Not tomorrow, not some hypothetical “later” – NOW.

The magic of this practice happens in the process. In the mundane, day to day, moment to moment CHOICES we make to BE in our practice. On our mat and off of it. Without forcing, without grasping, without clinging – but through a natural, organic softening in – this practice gives us access to BEING ourselves fully. To being YOU fully.

Through this process, as naturally as the lotus flower unfurls it’s beautiful petals, rather than defining our “self” by the myriad thoughts swimming around in our head, or whatever slew of emotions or sensations may be in our space, or by the external circumstances we are experiencing in the moment, we gradually reveal the “self” within that’s always been there – the eternal self that transcends all these changeable, impermanent things. Layer by layer, petal by petal, breath by breath – we are in a process of becoming.

Use what you have, right where you are, right now. What you do today is what matters most. Make it count, yogi!

~ Resources for Practice ~

It’s said the two surest and quickest ways of overcoming fear, stress, or anger are curiosity and love. Begin your day with this loving kindness meditation as a way of grounding yourself in love and compassion.

Short on time? It only takes a minute to create space for presence in your day! Try this quickie meditation as a way of grounding your awareness into the present moment – the place where peace resides.

This short practice is the perfect way to get your body moving mindfully at the start of your day, and will transition beautifully into any of the seated meditations above. Give it a try!

Now, the Practice of Yoga.

November 3, 2019

The very first verse of Patanjali’s 2,000-year old codex essentially says it all: “Now, the practice of yoga.” (Sutra 1.1)

While varying translations of the ancient Sanskrit abound alongside ongoing spirited debates between Sutra scholars over Patanjali’s intent, one thing is for certain: “Now” is all we have. “Now” is the time to begin any meaningful journey, exploration, or endeavor. “Now” is precisely when our life is happening – not yesterday, not tomorrow, not in the history of old or the dreams of the future – we are here “Now”, and it’s up to us to engage with and live this life fully “Now”.

The holistic practice of yoga invites us to use the tools of movement (asana), breath (pranayama), and meditation to fully access the “Now” and live our lives in a state of being that stems from pure presence, awareness, and unity. By directing our senses (pratyahara), focusing our attention (dharana), and uniting with the flow of life in the moment (dhyana), we cultivate our own innate, intimate relationship to the present moment, and develop a skillfulness and responsiveness in compassionately returning into it, time and time again.

Beginning today – Now – the invitation is just that: Move your body mindfully, make time for stillness and contemplation, and be in your practice of practice. Every moment, every day. Make your daily practice – your Sadhana – a priority over these next 40 days, and who knows? Come Day 41, you just might find that you’ve established a holistic yoga practice that will support you for an entire lifetime of living compassionately, joyfully, and gratefully in the “Now”.

~ Online Resources for Practice ~

Looking for more?? Check out our other Asana + Meditation videos here!

#5PY40Days #5pWHY #thepowerofNOW #practice

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