Sah Tu Dirgha
When the practice is done for a long time, without a break, and with sincere devotion, then the practice becomes a firmly rooted, stable and solid foundation.
Definition of Sincerity
A combination of patience and compassion. Sincerity is serious, kind, and truthful, it is honesty with oneself.
3 Components of Practice:
1. You have practiced for a long period of time:
Doing anything for a period of time gives one the ability to commit to that thing. Commitment to anything allows one to cultivate discipline, which in our modern society everyone needs a practice in. In the 8-limb path of yoga Tapas is from the root word in Sanskrit, tap which means to burn. To burn away anything that would prevent you from committing to your practice.
Contemplate: What are typical excuses one would use to NOT be consistent in practice.
Pantanjali is referring to the practice of meditation. All of the practices of yoga, (which are?) are designed to purify the physical and subtle energy body, so one can sit and witness the mind, in a comfortable, neutral state.
Our personality is made up of our habit patterns, and habit patterns are formed by our repeated actions. When these habits are refined, they are deposited in the mind field in the form of subtle impressions called samskaras.
When similar samskaras are joined together they are called vasanas.
Vasanas are a group of impressions big enough and strong enough to take over your mind. Vasanas come from deep within, and they motivate us to think, speak, and act in a manner that is congruent with them.
These powerful habits are formed over a long period of time, and therefore the process of undoing them will also take a long time, therefore; practice, practice, practice.
You must not expect instant transformation. Don’t rush the process.
You need to do your practice for a long period of time in order to generate new, spiritually illuminating, positive, constructive habit patterns that can neutralize your negative habit patterns and initiate a long-lasting transformation from within.
2. Your practice must not be interrupted—you must do it regularly.
It all rests on attention:
Throughout the science of Yoga meditation attention is a critical principle to practice. This sharp, clear, assiduous attention, asevitah, is essential if you are to develop the attitude of conviction for practices over a long time, and without a break.
"Attention, attention, attention!" is the formula to follow.
If you look at the structure of the 8-limb path; asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana are all about focusing attention- deeper and deeper.
Know your practice
What are the practices you are striving to do continuously?
Notice what happens to your being when you commit to them for long time, without a break.
Choose the level of practice that will allow you to be consistent, in duration, in intensity. Be realistic. Everything in the world is regulated by time and space. Cause and effect are totally dependent on them, and that is why, to breathe life into your practice, you must do it regularly. You may have noticed in your own life that it is hard to start a practice in the first place—and even harder to restart it once you have let it lapse. Irregularity breeds procrastination—a hurdle that is hard to overcome.
One and only downfall of practice
Attachment! Vairagya. Once you understand the benefit that commitment to practice brings you then may believe that without it your life sucks. Or you may identify with it and believe without it YOU suck. Strive to commit, create tapas, and practice without a break but also be aware if the reigns of attachment are pulling you in.
You must do your practice with love and respect.
Asana practice as goal oriented, ego gratification
As a yogi, this may be your primary practice of choice. It works the physical body and what can happen as you commit and progress in practice is that you become attached to continually growing. What happens then is that you start chasing asanas, like goal, much like money or goals in life. Which there is nothing wrong with. Some would say it is better than remaining stagnant, BUT it can be a trap to wanting more and being where you are, never being enough.
Why do you have to get that pose?
What are you trying to achieve?
What are you trying to prove?
The answers to these questions can be very humbling if you are honest, at least they are for me.
It’s all about Intention, what is your WHY?
Although we individually have many different reasons why we come to the mat, the energy of it is the same. You may say relaxation, strength, flexibility. I may say connection, realization, freedom. Knowing your why is important, it will align your intention to your commitment which will keep your practice evolving from inside. Your practice will continuously be heart aligned rather than ego driven. Know that your why will evolve, like what you need out of you practice, so attention to your inherent awareness is going to be key.
3. Do your practice with love and respect:
The attitude satkara contains the principles of devotion, sincerity, respect, reverence, positiveness, and right choice.
As you choose your proper level of practice, and decide to do that daily, the attitude will come more easily. It is like having a little flame of desire in the heart for the fruits of meditation, and then slowly starting to experience those benefits. That little flame starts to grow slowly and consistently into a burning desire to guide your life in the direction of spiritual realization. You can continue your practice for a long period of time, without interruption, only when you love it. If you have not cultivated love and respect for your practice, it will be a continuous struggle to do it—and practicing without joy is torture. It is no longer the ground for self-discipline. Sooner or later you are bound to quit.
All of these principles will drive your awareness deeper into yourself and that is the true goal.