Have you ever encountered a situation in your life where you wanted things to move just a little bit faster? Where you’re thinking, “could someone please extract me from this moment and take me to the future? It’s really painful right here… please?”
I’ve definitely experienced that pain at times in my life. But interestingly enough, my yoga practice is one place where I don’t feel that pressure. Somehow, as a kindness from the Universe, the practice thus far, has been a chance for me to just be in the moment and take care of the places in my body/soul where healing is needed. My yoga practice is a place where I have no vested interest except to be sincere, to be present with the Divine and to listen attentively to my body and breath. I believe it is this lack of attachment to outcome that opens the door for an effortless experience of patience in the yoga practice. This is the kind of patience that is not waiting for something, but is simply, naturally patient. So how does one transfer the wisdom in the physical practice to complex human situations where we struggle?
The best way I can explore this subject now is with what I’ve learned over the past 8 months or so, through healing the physical body. At the end of a long winter, I did not ask the trees to become green more quickly, or the buds to grow faster so that I could eat from their fruit. In fact, I felt happiness at the youngness of the green and the beautiful tenderness in the baby plants. With healing my physical body, I found that the same approach was necessary: to treat the body as I would like to treat the earth, with kindness. In general, it seems that as a society “we want it now” is a common theme. This attitude can be helpful in bringing projects to fruition and being generally productive, but it is not the whole picture. We cannot ask the garden to grow faster than it naturally grows because if we do ask that, we either make the garden sick with chemicals to make it grow faster, or we make ourselves sick by being in constant expectation of something that will not happen.
The physical body is like the earth and it requires the same patience. If we ask it to grow, heal or change faster than it can, either the body will suffer, or we will suffer. And in truth, it is the same suffering.
Here are some practical tips to cultivate patience:
- A good place to start is on your yoga mat! When transitioning from one posture to another, remember that the transitions are as important as the postures themselves; stay connected with your body and breath during the transitions.
- When in the postures, resist the temptation to fidget and if you do need to fidget, bring your whole awareness to the movement.
- Become aware of where you settle the gaze of your eyes, drishti. From time to time, notice where your gaze is and try to keep it steady and deliberate. Continue to increase your breath capacity as the breath accompanies the mind; the steadier the breath, the steadier the consciousness.
All this will build your inner strength of focus. The strength will transfer to your life and it will be easier to pierce through the veil of impatience.