Perhaps it’s best to use his own words, from his book Light on Life, “I am a man who started from nowhere. After much time and effort, I began to reach somewhere. I literally emerged from darkness to light, from mortal sickness to health, from crude ignorance to immersion in the ocean of knowledge by one means alone, namely by zealous persistence in the art and science of yoga practice (sadhana). What held good for me will also hold good for you too.”
According to Forbes magazine, only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions(1). Some say it is due to weak will-power, others poor planning, still others say it is unrealistic goal setting or over-enthusiasm. While we are not interested in adding our own opinion to the debate, we have experienced that, as B.K.S. Iyengar says, “Life itself seeks fulfillment as a plant seeks sunlight.” We feel that behind every resolution is that spirit of life seeking greater fulfillment. It is here that yoga sadhana (steady, devoted practice, or dare we say “resolute” practice?) plays a vital role.
It is certain that the proper practice of Iyengar Yoga will strengthen the life force within the individual. This strengthening is bound to result in a stronger seeking of the “fulfillment” that Guruji mentions in the above quote. As the life force within the practitioner grows stronger, the seeking after fulfillment will intensify. As a result one becomes driven toward fulfillment, rather than merely wishing for it. At this point one could be said to have resolution. Prior to the development of this strong, insatiable drive toward fulfillment–or more accurately, prior to the development of a dynamic and vital life-force to power this drive–most resolutions are little more than wishful thinking. Thus it could be said that a true resolution is a strong desire coupled with a vital drive toward its fulfillment.
The desire, it seems (and the ancient texts on yoga such as The Bhagavad-Gita or The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali certainly corroborate this) stems naturally and effortlessly from being human. The drive however does not seem to create itself. The practice of Yoga (particularly of Hatha Yoga) plays a key role in the development of this drive. One of the primary aims (and benefits) of Hatha Yoga is the intensification of the flow of prana within the individual embodiment. Said another way: why we do all the asanas and pranayama as Iyengar Yoga practitioners is to remove the blockages and open the “channels” within the embodiment so as to allow the life force (known as prana) to circulate with maximum freedom and power.
Couple this maximum flow of prana with the inherent drive to “seek fulfillment” and you have the perfect recipe for realization. That is why practice is so essential; that is why we encourage our students, again and again, to “put your well-being (which, in our view means sadhana) first;” that is the resolution we commit to realizing, one day at a time.
1: To read the full Forbes article, click here: The 8%
In his illustrious life, B.K.S. Iyengar was, first and foremost, a practitioner of yoga. Even as his death was approaching this past August, he continued his own practice and (much to the chagrin of his loved ones who longed to care for him) insisted those around him continue theirs. In honor of his example and the legacy he has left for seekers in yoga, Living Tradition Yoga invites you to set aside some time this coming Sunday (December 14) for sadhana, which is more than mechanical practice, but a searching and sincere quest for wisdom and insight through practice. We are sure Guruji’s wishes would be that not only do more vital people come forth in the world, but also more thoughtful, considerate, caring and vital people come forth.