The origins of the word vacation comes from the Latin, vacare: to be empty, to vacate, to have leisure. When we are no longer responsible for our everyday quotidian affairs, we empty ourselves of those responsibilities and move into a state where we can have leisure to enjoy what we would like to do.
A vacation can also mean a break from the weekly yoga class, that place where we watch our teachers, take in information, connect with other students, and are guided towards an experience. Be they pleasurable or challenging, inspirational or therapeutic, classroom experiences are largely external. The mind is directed to outside stimulation. At some point, for us to touch the heart of yoga, our yoga experiences must be internalized. The way to do that is to learn to practice on our own. As you head out on your vacation don’t leave your yoga practice behind. Take it with you. Use this time of leisure and retreat to approach the heart of yoga by establishing a yoga practice of your own.
Establishing a personal practice is one of the most difficult challenges confronting the beginning and not so beginning yoga student. Every day life is busy. Finding the time is an obstacle. Begin by taking small bites. Commit to practicing one pose a day, starting on the first day of your vacation. Simply getting out of bed and doing tadasana, mountain pose for one minute counts. You have turned your mind for a moment to yoga and seeds have been planted. These seeds, when watered daily, take root and become firmly established. In yoga practice one thing leads to another. You begin to feel that you would like to add a pose or two to your routine and another minute or two to your practice time. After a few months of doing this even two or three days a week plus going to a weekly class you have what can be considered a regular yoga practice. As you are able to honor small attainable commitments over time a momentum begins to build. Additional time gets added quite naturally to the practice. The momentum of consistent practice over time helps you to overcome the obstacles and disruptions that inevitably occur.
The success of maintaining small attainable commitments to practice over time helps us not only to find time, but also to make time for practice in daily life. We begin to structure aspects of each day to allow for and to facilitate practice. Practice starts to become a truly important place of refuge where any time of year we can empty ourselves for a time from the cares and responsibilities of our daily life, do what we would truly like to do, and connect to our heart’s most hidden desires.
Candace’s Corner – Summer Practice
To get you started in the development of a personal yoga practice Candace has developed a series of short practice sequences for beginning and continuing yoga students. Download the series here.
If you have any questions please contact us.
Practice takes effort. One of Candace’s favorite quotes about practice and effort, sometimes called the viriya iddhipada factor, comes from the famous and beloved Buddhist monk and teacher Ledi Sayadaw; “A person with viriya is infused with the thought that the aim can be attained by energy and effort. He/she is not discouraged even though it is said that she must undergo great hardships. She is not discouraged even though she actually has to undergo great hardships. She is not discouraged even though it is said to her that she must put forth great effort for days, months and years. She is not discouraged even though she actually has to put forth effort for long periods.”
Quotes of the Month
“The Tao is an empty vessel; it is used but never filled…..we must therefore, become empty if we wish to gain enlightenment.”
“The practice of yoga is firmly rooted when maintained consistently, with commitment, over a long period of time.”
Yoga sutra of Patanjali I:14
” As any gardener knows maintaining a garden takes devotion, uninterrupted weeding, and pest control over a prolonged period of time. In fact these procesess can never be interrupted, since within a remarkable period of time even the most devotedly cultivated garden becomes overwealmed by weeds; if left unattended all one’s hard work is easily undone.” Likewise with yoga, (and I paraphrase Edwin here) cultivation of the yoga state takes constant attention and cultivation. Once one relaxes, agitation and inertia take over like weeds in a garden.
Edwin Bryant Yoga Sutras of Patanjali on sutra I:14