Last week (ok, and for a bit of this week, too) I was in my disgustingly predictable "post yoga-bubble slump." This is what happens to me every time I have to return to the "real world" after being totally immersed in yoga yoga yoga for a while. I come home to my life as a grad student and question whether I really want to be in grad school, or whether I should ditch the whole endeavor, take out a credit card, get myself to the next teacher training, and become a kick-ass traveling Bikram teacher.
I dragged myself out of my hole last Saturday, took class, and then went to this REALLY fun raw food potluck at another yoga studio downtown. It was a blast. I spent all night eating and having great conversations with random people - two of my favorite activities ever!!
The yoga studio that was hosting the potluck has an awesome yoga bookstore, which of COURSE I had to spend some time browsing. So there I am, on the edge of the yoga crowd, amidst the books, thinking "what am I going to do with myself?" I pick up a translation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, open it to a random page, and just start laughing. No magic eight ball could have done a better job at giving me a direct answer to my question. The sutra that I opened to says, "The practice of concentration on a single subject is the best way to prevent the obstacles and their accompaniments." Which means... what? Well, the commentary explains:
"The point here is that we should not keep changing our object of concentration. When you decide on one thing, stick to it whatever happens. There's no value in digging shallow wells in a hundred places. Decide on one place and dig deep. Even if you encounter a rock, use dynamite and keep going down. If you leave that to dig another well, all the first effort is wasted and there is no proof you won't hit rock again. Before you start digging, analyze well and find out which spot is good. Then, once you decide and begin, you should not question it further. Go right at it, because it will be too late then to think whether it is worthwhile or not; you should have done that before."
Hah. I actually really like this! It's a very, very old-fashioned kind of sentiment; just pick something, and then stick to it no matter what. Reminds me of the days before we had the luxury of career choice, when if your dad was a baker and your last named was Baker, you were going to be the town baker. These days, it is so common for people to cycle through jobs and careers every 5 or 10 years, and for the most part that suits me really well, but you know... there is also a lot to be said for just making a decision, committing to it, and then just digging deep, using dynamite if you have to. I especially like how it says: "you should have done that before." So merciless, but so TRUE.
Bringing the scale down a bit, I'm sure this is great advice for asana practice as well. Don't second-guess yourself! Once you're in the room, once your in the set-up, once you're in the posture, you should not question it further. Instead, "go right at it." Dig deep. You're already there. Nothing to do but blast on through.
As a friend of mine said - (I don't know where he got this from) - "Once you've gone too far, that's a good time to keep on going!"