“Let not the fruits of action be thy motive” – Bhagavad Gita
Over the past year, I have suffered from a series of injuries. Most of them have no connection to yoga. In fact, doing yoga has helped the healing process; however, they all have restricted my physical practice in some way. At first, I took these limitations with a positive attitude, but as time plodded on and healing took longer than expected, I grew impatient. Taking child’s pose frequently in class frustrated me, and I felt guilty for having little to no discipline to do Pranayama and meditation when my asanas were so limited. I was ashamed to realize how much of my ego was invested in my physical practice. I knew that a daily yoga routine would help me heal, but my impatience and frustration were paralyzing. I couldn’t see progress; so my motivation waned. My attitude confused and embarrassed me. I felt like a negative yogi imposter, and that feeling made teaching, not to mention healing, much more difficult.
Recently, advising a friend gave me a new perspective. He had just started doing yoga and was frustrated with how difficult and rigorous he found the pose Downward Facing Dog. He asked me what he was doing wrong. After work-shopping the pose for a while, discussing alignment and giving adjustments, I said quite simply, “You’re not doing anything wrong. Just do it every day.” Again he pried for a magic solution, and I said again, “Just do it every day.” I didn’t want to promise that it would get easier because having that goal in mind would not help. You don’t do downward dog for a future downward dog – you do it now. I was talking to myself. When I began doing yoga, I had no goal in mind. At some point in the journey, my practice became daily, and then my body, my mind, and my life began to transform. But I had no idea that transformation would come. There was no goal. There was only me being present with myself where I was. I realized that hoping for my practice to fix my problems eventually was letting the “fruits of my action” be my motive. It doesn’t work. It takes you out of the present. You practice to practice, nothing more and nothing less. Isabel Ezrati