Part 2 blog series of the 6 qualities for success in yoga as described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
In the last post I introduced the first three qualities for success in Yoga. To emphasise again on the word "success", it is not necessarily used to describe an achievement or outcome, but its meaning can symbolise one who becomes established in the sadhana (spiritual practice).
Our practice can indeed change over time, as well as the yoga path we naturally find ourselves exploring, but the sadhana can always be consistent and done with commitment. It is not just a practice that starts and ends on the mat, but a lifestyle which we can maintain throughout our physical existence if we choose to do so. What we learn on the mat, continues after we leave the mat. Life in our practice and we are continuously learning, exploring and transforming.
Let’s explore together the last three qualities mentioned in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika for our yoga lifestyle and spiritual journey development.
For our yoga practice to remain consistent and continue to evolve, there must be unshakeable faith. First, this refers to having unshakeable faith in our guru or teachers. A guru is a yoga and spiritual master who can bring one from darkness to light because they themselves have developed spiritual realisation. A teacher is one who guides their students with patience, truth and right knowledge on their yoga path. However we take it, we need to trust and have faith in our teachers. Then we must have unshakeable faith in Divine essence or that which is of higher nature and pure form beyond the ego/individual self. And finally, we must have unshakeable faith in ourselves, by developing mental strength and will-power.
Related to unshakeable faith, courage is an important quality to develop in our sadhana. Whilst the yoga journey is indeed coated with beautiful experiences and realisations, it also comes with many challenges, obstacles and sometimes doubts. Therefore, to have consistency, courage is needed to overcome these. If we have unshakeable faith in our teachers and the Divine essence, then courage and perseverance naturally evolve. On the mat, courage is needed to approach each asana. Courage of getting into the asana and courage to be present and still through all the realisations the practice brings. Courage to take our practice off the mat and remained focused, patient and compassionate throughout life.
AVOIDING THE COMPANY OF COMMON PEOPLE
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika presents us with the last quality for success in yoga, which is avoiding the company of common people. I understand the word “common” may seem confusing, so I will explain what it refers to. Here, it is advised to stay clear of those who engage their time on gossip and laziness; on tamastic habits and behaviours and those who have lower aspirations. As sadhana is a journey that naturally evolves with discipline and commitment, many changes will take place within. This can sometimes takes us away from old useless habits or from mixing with people who don't support the transformation. This is actually a natural cycle of life, and when we do start to take our practice more seriously as a spiritual tool to self-realisation we will naturally gravitate and attract people who match this energy. It becomes more difficult to spend time with others of low vibration and negative mindset because our understanding of life, habits and mindset transforms. So we want to be in the presence of those who have similar attitude for life. Although it is important to note that we should not judge others and practice compassion always.
I invite you to explore the 6 qualities with patience and humbleness. The practice is lifelong, and what comes with it we can welcome it in and what goes we can learn to release. No matter what circumstances we face in life, we can always step on the mat with enthusiasm and perseverance to keep it consistent; with the analysis/discrimination of what is right and wrong, what supports our practice and what doesn’t; we can practice with unshakeable faith and courage; and by making the decision to surround ourselves with people who are uplifting and joyful. Most importantly, always practice with ahimsa (non-harm) to your mind and body, with satya (truthfulness) and santosha (contentment).
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