The Four Desires Online Book Club -The Art of Practice: Sustained Effort Leads You “There” ~ The Four Desires Virtual Book Club

Via on May 5, 2012

Chapter 24: The Endeavor To Be “There”

We are nearing the end of our 4D journey. The next couple of chapters are going to help us understand what to do when we struggle with The Four Desires process. The first of these steps is “The Art of Practice.”

To better understand the Art of Practice we can step back and take a look at the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. 

Recall Sutra 1:12 from chapter 20: abhyasa vairagyabhyam tat nirodaha – Through the repeated practice of non-attachment there is mastery. In that sutra we also come across the word for practice abhyasa, to endeavor or repeat.

If we just repeat something over-and-over again is that abhyasa? No. Practice, just for the sake of practice will not lead us to happiness and the fruits of Yoga. There are two key ideas discussed in Sutras 1:13 & 1:14 that expound how our practice should be done and how we can measure our progress; with sustained effort and being there.

Sustained Effort- How to practice
Patanjali states that practice (whatever yours may be) should be uninterrupted, done for a long period of time and with devotion. These three ingredients must be present to receive fruitful results. When I struggle with my practice, I find revisiting these three themes quite helpful. When the results of my practice are less favorable, it is usually due to absence of one of Patanjali’s guiding principles.

I usually have to increase my devotion in the practice, instead of just doing it. If that’s the case I light a candle, remember to honor my teachers or chant more. These extra steps remind me of the respect and gratitude I have for this precious time I spend with my Self.  Making this shift breaks up any stagnation in my practice.  If you feel your practice is inconsistent, it might be helpful to commit more fully to it.  Envision the benefits of a more regular practice.   It helps to adjust your focus and effort rather than change the practice or give up on it all together.

When practice has been firmly grounded over a long period of time, uninterrupted, with honest devotion, only then can the student hope to tame the thought waves of the mind.   At this point, the highest state of human experience is found in stillness.

How much time we spend with each practice however is unique to each individual. For this reason, Patanjali didn’t tell us was how long is long.  He did however let us know that when a practice is done with sustained effort and reverence it leads us to the pinnacle of human experience, the benefits of Yoga.

Being There”- Measuring Your Results
Patanjali describes the highest goal of Yoga: “the stillness and mastery over one’s mind that reveal the highest states of human experience.” We measure the results of our practice by our long-term happiness and prosperity.  It is important to observe how your practice is affecting practical, day-to-day aspects of your life.  Yoga is pragmatic.

We should get in touch with our method of practice because “practice” looks different for everyone. We may need to stick with one meditation, or increase our practice of yoga nidra. As I recall, discovering my own Dharma code felt like a practice, which I engaged in daily.

As you work through your own practices and find those minor (or major) road-blocks refer back to these two key concepts, chances are you just have to refine something or press on. We can do a lot, but without having a means to measure the progress, we may get lost in the act of doing, and never feel or experience “being there.”

Aloha,
Chanti

Learn more about Rod Stryker and ParaYoga at RodStryker.com 
Read The Four Desires book review on Elephant Journal.
The Four Desires: YouTube talks with Rod Stryker
Read other discussions about The Four Desires
Instructions: How the book club works
Rod Stryker travels to the largest spiritual pilgrimage in history in 2013. I’ll be there. Will you?
 

About Chanti Tacoronte-Perez

As a traveler and painter Chanti has grounded her roots in the path of yoga wherever she has landed. Chanti began practicing Yoga during her first year in college & continued when she left for Hampshire College to complete her BA in Painting/Fine Arts and Special Education. From 2001-2004 she lived and worked in Havana, Cuba as the Hampshire College Cuba Program Coordinator where she studied Iyengar Yoga. Chanti has been studying and teaching yoga in the Tantric Hatha Linage since 2005 with her teacher Rod Stryker, founder of Para Yoga. He has taught her that everyone has the ability to know their destination and find that road to walk on. She has currently completed the Para Yoga Certification (level I) & her Restorative Yoga training with Judith Handson Lasater. Her study of Sacred Art and Yantra Painting merge her love of Yoga with her passion for painting and education. http://www.ohanashakti.com

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3 Responses to “The Four Desires Online Book Club -The Art of Practice: Sustained Effort Leads You “There” ~ The Four Desires Virtual Book Club”

  1. [...] The Art of Practice: Sustained Effort Leads You “There” ~ The Four Desires Virtual Book Club [...]

  2. [...] My practice is my practice. It is strong and does the trick every time I land on my mat. So when I scroll down my list of yoga to choose from on the online yoga site I skip anything that is gentle, restorative, beginner or level one. I don’t do the meditation classes and know which teachers who describe their classes as “dynamic” are really just offering a slightly more energetic all levels class. [...]

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