Yoga Sutra 1.30 - Creating Time

My good friend is reading a book; it's called Mindfulness for Busy People, or Meditation for People Who Don't Have Time to Meditate, or Peace for People with Hectic Lives.  Or something like that.

And I wonder, where are the people who are not busy and who have so much free time in their day that they have no difficulty in finding time for meditation, mindfulness and yoga (sadhana)?

They don't exist.

Everybody I know is busy.  My friends, colleagues and loved ones are busy with work, busy with babies, busy doing the things they love to do, they are busy with laundry, busy washing the car, busy at the supermarket.

It's not the case that we don't practise because we don't have time is it;  because busy people we know practise every day.

So there must be another reason. 

It's not easy, this work.  The work of looking closely inwards and discovering that some of the things that we find there could do with some improvement (we are cross, we are fearful, we are judgmental, impatient, unconfident... we don't want to be, but we are). 

This sitting still is not easy.  We want to move.  We can think of a million things we ought to be doing; we are plagued by a hundred thoughts.  It's not peaceful!  We want to give up.

This quietly moving with (increasing) grace and working on the weaknesses in your body; the discipline required to roll out your mat and give yourself over to yoga for a few minutes a day.  This uncertainty over what we should do and for how long; this doubt over whether or not we are doing it correctly, or whether there is in fact any point in a practice that lasts five minutes.

Patanjali already told us all about the obstacles that we put in the way of our sadhana:

"There are nine types of interruptions to developing mental clarity:
illness, mental stagnation, doubts, lack of foresight, fatigue, over-indulgence, illusions about one's true state of mind, lack of perseverance and regression.  They are obstacles because they create mental disturbances and encourage distractions."

Yoga Sutra I.31
translated by TKV Desikachar

In twenty years of yoga practice, I think I have met them all.

It's ok, it's ok.  Whatever you do and however you do it, is ok.  Just as long as you are doing it. 

You already know that these simple methods work, because your teachers have demonstrated this to you in what they teach and how it makes you feel; in how they themselves live. 

Having time to practise is a discipline and a choice, not luck.  Nobody is going to come to you and carve out for you a ten minute space in every day and demand that you use it for practice.

Only you have the power to say to yourself, simply and without fanfare, 'Yes, this is good.  Yes, I want to live in peace.  This yoga works and I am going to do it every day.'  Only you can find the humility to sit with the uncertainty and the fear and do it anyway.

In Patanjali's list of obstacles he doesn't mention being busy.  I suggest that being busy is the disguise we use for all of the other things that get in our way.  So this summer, perhaps you will stop yourself every time you think of your practice, but tell yourself you are too busy.  Ignore yourself!  Roll out your mat, or sit on your cushion, set your timer for five minutes and in spite of all of the other things that you are going to do that day, perhaps because of them, practice.

"Practice and all is coming"
Sri K Pattabhi Jois


  1. Self-discipline is your only friend...well, according to another tea bag tag. V.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts