It typically takes twenty-one days for an individual to begin a new habit or discipline, or to break an old habit. This challenge is meant to inspire you to practice for at least twenty-one days within this month. By doing so, you will experience the many benefits of a disciplined practice.
Pantañjali’s Yoga Sutras, book 1, verse 14, says “sa tu dīrgha-kāla-nairantarya-satkārāsevito ḍrḍha-bhūmiḥ” (“One becomes firmly established in practice only after attending to it for a long time, without interruption and with an attitude of devotion.”)
This sutra explains how the practice becomes firmly grounded when carried out for a long time without interruption and with earnest attention.
If you want something, you commit to it. Your practice must be steady, continuous, without gaps, without breaks. It must be done correctly with full attention, entire application of the mind, and with full faith. This establishes a firm foundation. Patience in your practice will allow your mind to be settled. You will uncover more clarity in what you do on and off your mat.
We need three qualities on this path: They are patience, devotion and faith. Guruji was fond of saying “dīrgha-kāla”. He would also add, “long time, you take practice”. This sutra lists several aspects, all of which must come together in order to develop a firm spiritual foundation.
dīrgha-kāla: prolonged period of time
nairantarya: uninterruptedly, continuously
satkāra: correct method, reverence
asvitaḥ: attended to, devoted, committed
There is often a tendency to start practice with enthusiasm and energy and then expect or desire immediate results. The pressures of everyday life get in the way and we succumb to human weaknesses. This is human nature; but we can approach the practice with a positive, disciplined demeanor and with an enthusiastic attitude to attend to the discoveries within. Changing the mind and the heart is one of the most difficult things we do. This commitment to the time we give to our personal practice must be given daily. Interruption is an obstacle that diminishes the motivation and the qualities we acquire. Engage in the practice with all of your being and offer up all that you receive.
A solid commitment to your practice will become the still, calm point in life’s storms.