Echo From The Cave: 172

Thursday March 24, 2022 NYC

Talk at the End of the Asana & Meditation Class
Wednesday, March 23, 2022:

Reflecting Daily Life in Practice of Asana:
Working to Overcome Procrastination

“Whatever you have to do tomorrow, do today;
whatever you have to do today, do this minute.” ~ Swami Turiyananda

This week I have been trying to notice my own habits in asana practice and how those come up for me again and again in other ways, no matter what I may be doing.

Something that I have struggled with all my life, and that I have been trying to work on and change in myself, is the tendency to procrastinate. As a child, I was always asking for five more minutes before doing a chore, or starting my homework, even if I wasn’t really doing anything other than daydreaming at the moment when the task at hand needed to be performed. I find that not much has changed in all the years since then—I still have a tendency to stall and ask myself for five more minutes before getting started. And even though I have been making attempts to force myself to just get up and do whatever is at hand, I am still struggling to fully embrace that instruction of Shri Mahayogi—to just get my mind out of the way and simply and proactively do! I feel this teaching comes up again and again, but it is so difficult for me to learn!

This week, after reading the Blog, Echo From the Cave:  171, written by Sadhya, about learning to listen and working to align oneself with the asana, rather than allowing the mind to feel “I am doing this” or “I am making this pose,” I began to seriously confront this tendency to stall and procrastinate during my own asana practice.

Oftentimes when I am practicing by myself, even if I can maintain my concentration fairly well while I am holding a pose, once I release it I may rest in shavasana for a long time. And when that happens, my mind may start to wander so that I am no longer even really in shavasana, but am simply lying on the mat, and I may become distracted and get lost in my thoughts, completely forgetting that I am supposed to be practicing asana.

While trying to discover how to more fully align myself with the asana, I realized that not stopping for too long in between the poses and not following the thoughts of my mind was important to practice as well…and also that this tendency did not only exist in my practice, but also in how I conduct myself in my daily life. I have been trying to see more clearly how these two reflect each other, and because asana practice is so concrete and involves so much focus, it may be a good place to start training myself to break this habit that is so ingrained in me.

Therefore I have begun to make a conscious effort to limit the amount of time between poses in my asana practice, keeping the teaching of Swami Turiyananda (who was known to hate procrastination) firmly in mind:

“Whatever you have to do tomorrow, do today; whatever you have to do today, do this minute.”

In some small ways, I have started to see some changes in the way I approach my daily tasks. I find I am more likely to remember why I should take action immediately and not put things off until later when it comes to tasks like washing dishes, putting away laundry or other simple mundane tasks. But I still notice other situations where my mind is still begging for those extra five minutes, like when it comes to taking the dog for his last walk of the night or finishing a work project, for example.

Like so many of the changes I need to make to transform my mind, this one does not come easily and requires a great deal of repetition and concentration in order to become natural. As I continue to work on becoming consistent and continuous in my practice, I am understanding more and more how I need to go about battling my mind’s habits. This is just one battle out of many that I need to engage in to move myself closer to the goal of living in Yoga.

~ Prajna

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