When I first started dedicating myself to my personal yoga practice, my teacher’s words were a constant companion. “Practice and All is Coming”. There was a lot then I didn’t understand about Yoga. I was clueless about its philosophy and depth. But I did know there was a promise of something more. I was seeking and after stumbling through many corridors of poor choices. Yoga seemed the only path that made any sense.
Faith in the path of gratitude for yoga practice
I put a lot of faith into those words of Pattabhi Jois. I just kept showing up to my personal practice. The shape and form of my Yoga practice shifted and changed with the decades. It was adjusted for injury and health. I modified through two pregnancies and while managing the heavy load of being a parent, a full-time job, and part time teaching career. Yet my gratitude for my yoga practice and practice was constant.
Often I had to fight through layers of resistance and the weight of daily responsibilities. Sometimes I just didn’t make it. Then, the practice became compassionate self-acceptance for what is, as opposed to self-depreciating insults which were my more natural tendency. In spite of it all, I just keep showing up to take a dedicated breath, move my body, free my mind. I practice the art of being present with myself. The simplicity of the words “Practice All is Coming” created a deep resonance. They are an echo that held the promise. If I just showed up consistently each day, the “All” would be unveiled.
I am immensely grateful for these words and this teaching.
Sometimes the simplest teaching can leave the biggest imprint. My gratitude for yoga shows it has done that. Had I known then, what is clear to me now, after two decades of showing up, I literally would have sprinted to my mat every day.
Daily practice gave me the tools to explore my inner landscape, it provided moments of respite from both self-created and external stressors, and opened a doorway into the sublime states of peace and ease within my own self. The more time that passes the more I am able to shed belief patterns and dissolve the barriers of self-judgment and limitation that cloud my perceptions. For that I look to yoga with gratitude
The fruits of my practice have helped me navigate through life’s challenges with more tenderness and grace, it has helped me to unveil a deep connection to my own authenticity and access more heart-filled moments than I could have ever hoped for. For this also, I look to yoga with deep gratitude. I wouldn’t change my path or life experiences, as the contrast from then to now is profound. Daily practice was the catapult from living with an inner world consumed by struggle, self-coercion and belittlement to the lived experience of joy and wonder….. And it was worth every single Surya Namaskar (sun salutation), Utkatasana (chair pose), every moment in meditation, and every ujjayi breath.
Conclusion with gratitude
In this moment of reflection, I am in deep gratitude for the practice of Yoga, for the simplicity of the teaching “Practice and All is Coming”, for Pattabhi Jois and for the myriad of teachers from all traditions who have shared their path and practices with me. To all of this, I bow. Namaste.
Liz Heffernan, is a dedicated Yoga practitioner first and a teacher second. You can find out more about her here.