Everyone’s sadhana has its different seasons. There are times when “all is coming” and there are other times when the plateaus are like a desolate mesa in the desert. And there are times when poses which came so easily are no longer available to you. It takes years of mature practice to not get caught up in “progress” but rather be grateful that you still have a practice at at all.
I have been listening to series of talks from David Godman who is a devotee of Ramana Maharshi and has written extensively on his teachings. From time to time Godman talks about his own practice. He reflects on his meditations at Ramana-ashram where Maharshi taught:
I think what I got from sitting here apart from a lot of peace, a lot of quiet, is a cultivation of a presence inside me. You can call that presence “Bhagavan” (term of endearment of Ramana Maharshi) you can call it “grace,” you can call it whatever you like. It’s like having a recognition of an old friend inside yourself. You know its there all the time. For me that is the concrete result of doing Bhagavan’s practice in this hall.
That captures the same feeling when I get to do my own practice after I teach my morning class in the Manoa studio. This is the studio where I had my first teacher training class many years ago. This is the studio where I stood in back of class and just observed my teachers conduct class during my apprenticeship. This is the studio where I stumbled through my first assessment jittery and nervously under the hawkish eyes of three senior assessors. This is the studio where I got my first job as an Iyengar Certified Teacher. This is the studio that almost went down in flames when the neighboring nail salon had an explosion. And this is the first studio that I have grown a crop of my own students to become better practitioners.
Because of my life events in taking care of my inlaws and working a full time job, I have decided to postpone my Junior Intermediate I assessment for another year. That gives me a bit of relief to take care of family and work. Most importantly, it gives me more time to develop my own practice and teaching skills further. There may even be a trip to India in my future.
There are a slew of workshops coming up and I am looking forward to the intensity of them. Workshops always have a way of converting my predominant tamoguna into sattva guna through the fire of rajas from the senior teachers who visit. But as the wise words of the Patanjali Yoga Sutras say, at one point we have to go beyond all the gunas to reach the ultimate liberation:
IV.34 puruṣārtha-sūnyānāṁ guṇānāṁ pratiprasavaḥ kaivalyaṁ svarūpa-pratiṣṭhā vā
Until then, I will continue steadfastly on my Junior I syllabus.