Once upon a time in the west I had a yoga teacher. The three things he said most over the years were:
“Why you rushing?”
“Well, what are you going to do about that?”
“These things take time.”
I understood the first thing he said to mean that I needed to slow down enough - way down - to actually see/feel/understand what was going on in my poses and my practice.
I understood the second thing he said to mean that it might work better for me to take responsibility for my own practice, to find solutions to my own difficulties, rather than relying on other people to do that.
I took the third thing he said as a reminder to be patient with myself, and not to be harsh, but rather to be generous and spacious with myself – and by extension, with others.
None of this seemed abrupt or unkind at the time, nor does it now all these years later.
Threaded through all of this was the unspoken exhortation “Practice. Do thy practice.”
This is how Svatmarama, author of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, put it:
You succeed in yoga through energetic practice –
Even if you are young, or old, or very old, or sickly, or weak.
If you practice you will succeed – if you don’t practice you won’t.
Success in yoga is not achieved by reading books.
Success is not achieved by wearing designer clothes,
Or by talking about yoga.
Only practice brings success.
That’s the truth.
One more voice:
An endless path is frightening, but the path that ends is even more frightening.
-Mehmet Murat Ildan