Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.

 -Saint Francis de Sales

While we were living on the Blue Mountain in India, we noticed that our local bank had a very neighborly arrangement for collecting funds from the villagers. Poor villagers have very little to save, only a few copper pennies at most. To encourage them to deposit even these few pennies every day, the bank employed a boy with a bicycle to go into the village to their homes, collect their few coppers, and enter the total in their account.

In meditation it is the same: when the Self comes, we can say, “We are no great saint, but a few times today we have tried to be patient. A few times today we have tried to put our family first. A few times today we have resisted some little craving for personal satisfaction.” This is how most of us are going to make progress for a long time: a few pennies here, a few pennies there, collected every day. But in these innumerable little acts of selflessness lies spiritual growth, which over a long period can transform every one of us into a loving person. To quote the bank advertisement, “It all adds up.”

Words to Live By: Inspiration for Every Day – Eknath Easwaran

The homework is to reflect on what it takes to make progress in your Yoga practices and what progress means. Spiritual growth? Physical prowess? How would progressing slowly in your practices cross over into other areas of life? Consider which of the Eight Limbs of Yoga are most relevant in this discovery.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Yama – universal moral commandments,

Niyama – self- purification by discipline,

Asana – posture,

Pranayama – rhythmic control of the breath,

Pratyahara – refinement of the senses,

Dharana – concentration,

Dhyana – meditation,

Samadhi – a state of super-consciousness or absorption.

The five Yamas are as follows:

-Ahimsa, a commitment to non-violence.

-Satya, a commitment to being honest and truthful.

-Asteya, a commitment to non-stealing.

-Brahmacharya, a commitment to continence (responsibility), moderation and dedication to the understanding of Divinity.

-Aparigraha, a commitment to non-covetousness.

The five Niyamas are as follows:

-Saucha, a commitment to purity internally and externally.

-Santosa, a commitment to being content and reducing desires and becoming cheerful and creating balance of mind.

-Tapas, a commitment to being disciplined in the mind and body and directing the mind towards the self within.

-Svadhyaya,  a commitment to study the source of our actions, to continue to study and learn and to search for truth and self-realization.

-Isvara Pranidhana, a commitment to surrendering to the powers that be and abiding to the greater will.


Light on Yoga, Light on the Yoga Sutras, and The Tree of Yoga all by BKS Iyengar

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