Advanced Yoga Practices
Note: For the Original Internet Lessons with additions, see the AYP Easy Lessons Books. For the Expanded and Interactive Internet Lessons, AYP Online Books, Audiobooks and more, see AYP Plus.
Lesson 187 - Establishing and Maintaining Daily Practice
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, “Why This Discussion?”
Date: Wed May 12, 2004 11:56am
Q: I came upon this site last week and have started the mantra twice a day, however I missed last night. I got back at it this morning. I am very undisciplined, I don’t sleep well and my days get off track sometimes. Do you have any suggestions for people like myself? Thank you
A: If you keep up with daily meditation for at least a few months, that will bring more steadiness and pleasurable feelings, and better sleep. Regularity in daily practice comes from the recognition of this “cause and effect” of meditation.
In the beginning, it is a matter of forming a habit. If you view meditation to be part of your regular routine of hygiene and nourishment, then it will fit into the normal sequence of morning and evening activities, and will be sorely missed if not done. Like bathing, brushing teeth, eating, etc., meditation is something we will do automatically. If we take that attitude about it, then the habit will be established and stick. It is our all-important spiritual hygiene and nourishment.
In the beginning and in the end it is about our desire for more in life. It is a chicken and egg thing. We want to meditate to feel good, and feeling good inspires us to meditate. Once we get it rolling with meditation, and experience some rising inner silence and clarity, then we have more continuous desire for daily practice – this is “devotion.” Devotion going higher is called “bhakti,” which is love of Truth or God. Once we have that we are always burning inside for spiritual progress, and the best way to achieve it is by doing our daily practices.
Going into more advanced yoga practices (spinal breathing, mudras, bandhas, etc.) happens from bhakti also. Then there is more blissful inner silence and also the rise of ecstasy in the nervous system. That makes us even hotter for daily practice, and we run to our meditation seat when we get home from work. At that stage our desire for daily practices is fed by the living light in our heart and the ever-increasing joy welling up from within. Our commitment to daily practices rises along with the spirit within us.
If you form the habit of daily meditation and keep going you will catch the bug. Actually, the bug will catch you. In time you will find your ordinary wants and desires transforming naturally toward maintaining your daily practices. Once the nervous system starts opening, it knows what it wants – more opening. So our motivation naturally goes for that.
Beyond knowing the most effective methods of yoga, establishing and maintaining daily practice is the greatest priority. This is how enlightenment grows in us.
The guru is in you.
Note: For a detailed overview on building a daily practice routine with self-pacing, see the Eight Limbs of Yoga Book, and AYP Plus.