Patience is a Yogic Virtue

For some yoga beginners, practicing patience can be harder than holding a Downward Dog Pose. However, patience is philosophically the point of a yoga practice because with that state of mind you can reach deeper levels of meditation and awareness.

One of the challenges in yoga that one must overcome is the constant comparison to others. Dwelling on thoughts like “Look how far she can bend” or “I wish I had his upper-body strength” will only distract you from your goals, and your breath. The only fruitful comparison to others is noting the range and diversity in body types and flexibility.

Approach yoga as a beginner, always, and remind yourself to maintain an even breath, go slow, balance and open up. Measure your progress by your own steadiness, not by “hitting the mark.”

One of the best tools you can use to practice patience is Pranayama (breath absorption). Pranayama is the formal practice of controlling breath. It can calm the mind and rejuvenate a tired body. Pranayama is viewed as the link between the external practices of yoga (asanas) and the internal practices that lead us to deeper states of meditation.

One of the first lessons in Pranayama is samavrtti, which means “same action.” The goal of this practice is to focus on your breath and make each one the same, smooth and even. This awareness and basic breath control is the foundation of Pranayama, and can be practiced lying on the floor or sitting in a meditative pose.

In this life where everyone seems to push you and asks “What, Why and Where?”, focus on the present moment. This concept is especially vital for integrating patience into your practice. Remember, even one yoga pose is yoga practice, as long as you “show up” for it mentally.

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