PATIENCE IS OUR VIRTUE
"Our patience will achieve more than our force"
Our Week Five theme is Patience.
For many of us Patience is one of the hardest things to cultivate, in our relationships, in our work, as parents, in our yoga practice or when learning something for the first time.
The Yoga Sutras talk about patience as being one of three qualities required to move into a yogic state – i.e. a state of ‘union’
So how do we develop it?
“Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness” (Sutra 1:14 as translated by Sri Swami Satchidananda)
We live in a world of convenience. With things like instant downloads and same-day delivery at our fingertips, we are used to things happening quickly and easily. As a result, patience is not always readily available to us when faced with problems or obstacles.
Patanjali, in Yoga Sutra 1.30, says, “The inner obstacles that disperse the mind are sickness, mental inertia, doubt, haste, apathy, intemperance, errors in judgment of oneself, lack of perseverance, and the inability to stay at a level once reached.” (Bernard Bouanchaud, The Essence of Yoga).
It is truly great advice, but requires much patience, perseverance, and practice to conquer those obstacles.
Living in an age in which a tweet can be delivered in the blink of an eye, have we mistaken patience for passivity? Patience means sitting with something, with quiet knowledge that at some point it will change, tinged with acceptance that it is a process, coupled with a certain surrender to the universe’s plan. HOWEVER, we don’t just sit on our yogi-butts; We must continue to be actively solution-focused. Friends, patience is an art form.
Here are three ways to inspire yourself and breed active patience when you are weathering a storm of some kind, or feeling like no visible progress is being made to reach your goals, whatever they may be. Remember that it is called a “practice,” which means you keep at it without holding on to expectations.
1. Honour and accept yourself as you are in this moment.
People tease me because I tend to say, “It is what it is,” but I feel it is so true. Sometimes life gives us lemons! I find this simple practice of being honest helps me laugh a little, and humour becomes a window for me. I can look through and see that I am doing my best with what I am given. Or I can up my game, rev up my research, and punch up my positive attitude.
2. Try slowing down your yoga practice.
If you're practicing only fast-paced vinyasa, try adding longer holds on some postures. Whether they're dynamic or restorative postures, a 90-second hold versus a five-breath hold will inform your nervous system differently. Asana is a great tool for witnessing transformation and cultivating patience.
3. Practice Patanjali.
Just sit quietly with no expectation. Pay attention to the cycles of breath, noticing how the inhale leads to the exhale and the exhale leads to the inhale; allow yourself to focus on the breath, not the thoughts, setting your inner station to Channel AUM.
All this will build your inner strength of focus. The strength will transfer to your life and it will be easier to pierce through the veil of impatience.
“Adopt the pace of nature…her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
In general, it seems that as a society “we want it now” is a common theme. This attitude can be helpful in bringing projects to fruition and being generally productive, but it is not the whole picture. We cannot ask the garden to grow faster than it naturally grows because if we do ask that, we either make the garden sick with chemicals to make it grow faster, or we make ourselves sick by being in constant expectation of something that will not happen.
The physical body is like the earth and it requires the same patience. If we ask it to grow, heal or change faster than it can, either the body will suffer, or we will suffer. And in truth, it is the same suffering.
How to approach challenging yoga pose with patience and self-kindness...
It’s possible to continue challenging yourself while remaining mindful and respectful of the essence of yoga. Here are some tips:
1. Don’t forget to breathe!
It may seem a simple reminder, almost patronizing to the seasoned yogi, but when strain replaces ease in maintaining some of the tougher poses we often forget about our breath. To maintain the integrity of the practice we must always respect our breath.
2. Create a specific series with your “goal” pose in mind without getting into the actual pose.
Say the pose you’ve been struggling with is handstand. Rather than getting down on yourself as you fall short of the full posture, focus on creating a sequence that will hone the necessary muscles for it. Since this is a pose that requires a great deal of core strength, you could incorporate boat pose and plank pose. That way you will be ready for the time when the full pose is available to you.
3. Allow frustration to concede to humour.
The most important thing is that you’re getting something positive from your practice. The easiest way to break the tunnel-vision that comes by competing with ourselves is to have a nice, long giggle. It may help with your yogic breathing, too!
4. Focus for a while on a pose you truly enjoy.
It’s easy to beat the proverbial dead horse if you obsessively focus on the same pose time and time again. Take the time to remind yourself why you love yoga so much in the first place. We all have those lovely, comforting poses that make us feel relaxed and joyful; now is the perfect time to revisit that old friend.
5. Remind yourself that you have a lifetime to get it right.
Beginning yogis often mistakenly think that their favourite gurus reached their advanced levels of asana by constantly testing their physical limits. The truth is, as we progress we begin to identify where yoga goes so far beyond just asana. Holding advanced poses is merely a by-product of the overall gain that comes with a faithful yoga practice. Keep your ego in check by remembering that these poses will come in time, but the time may not be right now.
When you are patient your mind is more settled and calm – which will help you do what ever it is you are doing with more ease. In order to develop the ease we need an equal amount of effort (which is also part of the practice of yoga. To feel ‘connected’, to feel this yogic state of ‘union’ we need to work on it! Finding a teacher you connect with and a style that brings you peace is a good place to start. We are blessed with many different styles in Yoga. Patanjali also indicates in the Sutras that it is not the style that is important. What is important and helpful to know is that if you are unsettled and anxious to get the results straight away (being impatient) your mind is already disturbed, and nothing done with that disturbed mind will have quality.
So it is not only how long you practice, but that you do it with a quality of mind that is patient, trusting and kind.
A meditation to cultivate patience...
By repeating the mantra “patience,” you can return to the moment and become aware of what is, instead of focusing on what you might want to happen. This method can also help cultivate other feelings, such as kindness or gentleness. When your thoughts drift off, come back to the recitation. When you’re done with the practice, rest your mind and sit with the feeling that you’ve cultivated.
DISCUSSION POINT for Week Five:
Share with others on our FORUM group how you plan to practice Patiencethis week.
NUTRITION with Elyse Lagos
WEEK 6: Build your plate
This week I’m going to take you through a simple method of how to build your meals. This is very useful when you’re not relying on a meal plan as it will help you balance out your intake and get all the nutrition you need. This method will help you to easily achieve satiety (feeling of fullness) and get you to your next main meal without the need to snack and experience cravings, which is often the result of high refined carbohydrate (sugar) intake. This allows you to experience both digestive ease, and a fat-burning opportunity meal-to-meal.
Build your plate - 2/1/2
Two (2) cups of vegetables.
One (1) serve of protein.
Two (2) serves of good fats.
Carbohydrates are then added to the plate late at one (1) portion or after exercise (we discuss carbohydrate intake further next week.)
A smoothie containing a couple of handfuls of spinach, a scoop of protein powder, chia seeds and avocado.
A salad containing lettuce, tomato, cucumber, tuna, avocado and extra virgin olive oil,
Vegetables (2 cups)
Spinach lettuce, kale
Protein (1 serve)
Lean meat and poultry (palm size/100g)
Fish (1 fillet)
1 small can tuna
2 slices bacon
1 scoop - 30g protein powder
Beans and legumes - lentils, chickpeas (½ cup)
Minimally processed soy products – Tofu, Tempeh (palm size)
½ cup natural Greek yoghurt
Good fats (2 serves)
½ large avocado
30g grass-fed butter or ghee
Oily fish - salmon (1 fillet)
Handful/30g nuts (limit cashews due to high carbohydrate content)
30g seeds (i.e. pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seed, linseeds etc.)
30ml oil (extra virgin olive oil, coconut, flaxseed)
100ml coconut cream or milk (BPA-free can