What is yoga?
So you’ve got faith and you’ve mastered self-control. You’re on the path to achieving the true goals of yoga. But as in any modern day computer game – though you must remember yoga is not a competition – you still have three more stages to complete before you can truly be the master of your own mind. Which leads us now to determination…
Willpower. Discipline. Dedication. No matter what name you choose to call it, determination is not necessarily something you are born with. It’s a quality that must be grown, developed and nurtured over time. This is good news! Turning up, giving 100-percent, overcoming all obstacles, never giving up, believing in yourself – these are all the actions of a person with true determination.
The easiest way to demonstrate determination is to think about your yoga practice. Whether you’re a 20-year veteran of the practice, a more recent devotee, or even if you’ve just tried your first class, it took determination to get to that point. You wanted to practice yoga, and you did all the necessary things required to get yourself to that point – saved the money, travelled, dressed the part, arrived at the studio and participated in the class.
But did you give your best? Did you pour your whole heart, soul and body into that practice? Because if you did – even if you couldn’t touch your toes or stand on your head – then you practiced with determination. If you were reaching for your water bottle when the pose got a little too difficult, not contracting your muscles fully when they started to ache or were counting down the minutes until the end of class, you’ve still got some way to go to cultivate your strength of mind.
Bikram Choudhury says: “We must learn to be determined in our minds so that we can reclaim control of our lives. And we do that through the vehicle of the body.” A yoga practice requires discipline but it’s not all about the postures. There are probably some asanas you will never be able to physically achieve in your lifetime, but if you are determined to try, and you give 100-percent of your effort, then you will achieve the physical health, mental peace and self-realisation you are seeking through your practice.
Push yourself, past what you think are your limits. Set new limits, and then push past those. By setting goals, achieving them and moving forward, you are practicing determination. Decide that you will always set out to do what you are aiming to achieve. Ignore distractions, excuses, emotions, and stay on your path. We are only limited by our minds. By our thoughts, our dreams, our imaginations and our fears. We must conquer these elements with our determination in order to move onto the next step: concentration.