In her book Living Your Yoga, Judith Lasater suggests using seated poses as patience-building practices. Starting with 3 or 4 minutes in a pose, then working toward 10 minutes or more, the idea is to focus on where you feel the breath in your body, following your inhalations and exhalations. Then, afterward, we’re invited to bring nonjudgmental self awareness into play, noticing what we’ve experienced.
I have found that yoga/ meditation practice such as this can have profound effect on my ability to observe my own mind. As such, yoga practice is also a way to explore your relationship with patience. Impatience is a form of aversion — a wishing against the current situation, a wishing for some other situation. Impatience follows aversion. Patience follows equanimity. In the Buddha’s words:
If you are filled with desire
Your sorrows swell
Like the grass after the rain.
But if you subdue desire
Your sorrows fall from you
Like drops of water from a lotus flower…
…Cut down desire
Lest [it] crush you
As a river crushes the helpless reeds.
Change is a constant in life. Consider the analogy of life as a river, always flowing and unfolding, moment by moment. Each moment being a new birth and a new death as it flows to the next new moment.
In that light, patience and equanimity are about peace with whatever this moment is, without pushing it away or clinging to it. Patience is about knowing and bowing to the fact that “this too shall pass.”
This week, consider how you might practice patience on and off the mat…