Reflections on Enthusiasm

” Having patience, I should develop enthusiasm. For awakening will dwell only in those who exert themselves. Just as there is no movement without the wind, so merit does not occur without enthusiasm.”  -Shantideva
I have been answering lots of emails lately about Teacher Training courses and the question I get most often is ” I can’t do all the poses, and I haven’t studied all the yoga texts, can I still learn to teach?” and the answer I always end up coming back to is ” if there is a sincere desire to learn, if you are genuinely enthusiastic about the practices of yoga and deepening your knowledge of them, then you will be successful.” Simple as that. Everything else can be learned, but without enthusiasm the practice goes nowhere. It takes enthusiasm to commit, and to be disciplined. It takes enthusiasm to inspire others. It takes enthusiasm to continue moving forward, even when it feels that you are treading water.
The word enthusiasm comes from a Greek word enthous which means “to be possesed by a god, or inspired” . When we are inspired by a greater purpose we are able to overcome the inevitable setbacks that will occur such as physical injury or illness, mental confusion or despair, emotional pain or loss. When we set a greater intention for our personal practice than we find we can always muster then energy to get on the mat, sit down on our cushions, or pick up our studies. So what is a greater intention?
In Anusara yoga it is taught that there are two supreme intentions for practicing yoga. To know ourselves more fully (Chit), and to co-participate with the creative force of nature (Ananda). These are two great reasons. To rediscover our divine nature when we become disconnected from ourselves (happens to the best of us!), and to celebrate that knowing through creative expression when we are in remembrance. This means there is always a reason to practice. When you are feeling heavy, stuck and confused do your practice to come back to yourself and reconnect to the light within you. When you are feeling full of happiness and joy step onto your mat to celebrate the gift of life that flows through your amazing body. So in other words do your practice and you will find that the practice itself becomes the reward. Enthusiasm will naturally build and as you commit to your practice others in your community will find it easier to commit to theirs and now you have a group of people who’s enthusiasm for practice will support yours when it is lagging.
In the words of Sri Patthabi Jois, “Do your practice. All is coming.”
See you on the mat!