Teaching Ashtanga,  Yoga Philosophy,  Yoga Sutras

Waiting For It To Be Easy

If you are waiting for it to be easy to get up at 4AM for morning practice, you will never consistently get up for practice.

If you are waiting for it to be easy to practice at home, you will never have a consistent home practice.

If you are waiting for Ashtanga asana to be easy, you will never have a consistent Ashtanga asana practice.

If you are waiting for meditation to be easy, you will never have a consistent meditation practice.

If you are waiting for pranayama to be easy, you will never have a consistent pranayama practice.

If you are waiting for life to be easy, you will never have a life that is consistently joyful.


The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are very clear that the Yogi must observe tapas/discipline.  The FIRST verse in Book 2, which is the portion that defines a Yoga practice says,

Tapas (discipline) , study and surrender constitute a Yoga practice.

The verse says, you don’t even have a Yoga practice until you surrender to the discipline of the study of Yoga!

Yoga Sutras of Patanajali 1:14 says,

Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time without break and with all earnestness.

Yoga does not become a habit until you can do it for a long time, without stopping and with dedication.

Several amazing Ashtanga writers have talked this week about what nobody really wants to do; stick with the crappy bits until it becomes a habit.  This is part of the practice. That is why Patanjali made sure to mention over and over again throughout the whole entire Yoga Sutras that practice is not easy. Without surrender, discipline and faith, it won’t work.

I am a morning person.  My energy levels are directly correlated with the sun. When it gets dark, my body shuts down. If I am in bed past 7:30AM, I am sick or faking it. I have fallen asleep at “da club”.  Unless I am allowed to spend the night, I turn down invitations to events that start after 8AM.  My body considers any period before the sun rises to be a sacrilege.  Getting up, when it is still dark outside, feels like touching the gates of hell. I do it anyway. I never regret it.

Out of a 6 day practice week, I actually want to get on my mat 3 of those days. The rest of the days it feels like I am dragging cement bricks across my mat. I do it anyway and I am always glad I did.

I never want to do Kapotasana. Ever. If Sharath cut Marchi D out of Primary sequence, I would throw a party. If I never did catching again, I would not complain.  I do it anyway and I have grown so much because I do.

The Yogis do not ask us to do this for nothing.   There is a whole book of the Yoga Sutras called “Powers”.  LOL. Even if you don’t get any super powers, the benefits are documented. Ask Google. Talk to anyone who has maintained a disciplined practice for about a decade.  I have never heard a long term practitioner say, “that was a waste of time”. “I got nothing from that.”


Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail shanna@ashtangayogaproject.com.


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