Long, uninterrupted, alert practice is the firm foundation for restraining the fluctuations
Iyengar states that it is important to remain humble on this journey, not to have too much ego when things are going well.
As a busy working mother, I often struggle to have any sort of uninterrupted practice; sometimes life just gets in the way. I suppose the thing to do is not to beat ourselves up when we stray from the path, but to dust ourselves off and practice whenever we can. There was a recent news report which said that the average adult in the UK watches 4hrs of TV every single day. Imagine if they all cut that down by even half and devoted it to more spiritual pursuits…
1.12 Practice and detachment are the means to still the movements of consciousness [Iyengar]
These thought patterns are mastered through practice and non-attachment
This sutra is a key one, as it outlines the two things upon which the whole of yogic practice rests: practice and detachment. The thought patterns referred to are from 1.6:
- correct knowledge / perception
- incorrect knowledge / perception
- imagination / fantasy / daydreams
So these five fluctuations in our minds can be stilled or quietened through practice and detachment. Iyengar describes these two aspects as being polarised – practice is the positive aspect (what you do), detachment is the negative (what you don’t do), together forming a perfect balance. If we still the mind, we can see and understand things as they really are. As we will go on to see, the yamas are the detachments (e.g. from stealing, from lying, from violence), and the niyamas are the practices (e.g. contentment, cleanliness, self study), along with asana, pranayama and meditation.