Practice Makes Perfect

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

By participating in a course how can we change our lives and permanently maintain the yogic habits we have adopted in the ashram when we return home?

The answers are dependent on you. Just by participating in a Yoga Certificate, Diploma or Degree course, a person cannot change his or her physical nature, mental nature or personality. Yoga is a tool. It is a medium which, when applied properly, can work wonders, can work miracles. However, are we strong enough and capable enough to accept the changes that it can bring about? One must look at one's own self and ask “Am I ready to accept the change? Or am I going to resist it with my ego, my intellect, my likes and dislikes, my habits, my nature? Will I resist these changes or not?”

If the answer is yes then you can only go a certain distance with yoga. Some people say, “I don't want to change my nature because I feel insecure and fear I will lose my identity.” In this way, our intellect, insecurities and fears create barriers which do not allow change to take place within us.

You have to look beyond any course that you may undertake now or in the future. You have to look at your whole life and make a decision about how you wish it to be or to become. It is like asking, “If I take a bath, will my body remain clean forever?” No! The moment you leave the bath, dust is bound to settle on you. But if you take a bath regularly you will feel fresh. If you don't bath regularly you will feel grotty. The same applies with yoga. You have to be persistent, committed, and truthful to yourself. You have to be faithful to the yogic system which you have adopted. The definition of practice in the Yoga Sutras is, “Sa tu deerghakaala nairantarya satkaara sevito dreedhabhoomih.” A practice only becomes perfect with continuity, regularity and conviction.