A lot of time can go by until we realize the good that regular Yoga practice brought us. And the more time goes by, the harder it gets.
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Yoga is like a snowball that with each practice becomes bigger and stronger. However, when we lose the regularity this snowball melts and we have to restart practically from scratch. An eternal resumption without reaching the final goal, like the myth of Sisyphus.
The ultimate goal of Yoga is Freedom. To live beyond the duality of attachment / aversion, in a serene communion with the Universal Life.
It does not come overnight. Constant and uninterrupted practice is necessary until the goal is reached, as Patanjali says in Yoga Sutras. This is Sadhana.
Sadhana (regular Yoga practice) should occur in any climate and circumstance. There are yogis in the Himalayas who wake up long before the sun rises in temperatures that would never occur in Brazil. Often they sleep even less than we do.
How do they do it?
Motivation and conditioning.
Yes, motivation is essential. Why do we practice Yoga? Just for a superficial well-being of the body? If yes, that’s fine. But we will be throwing out the most valuable thing Yoga has to offer. As Professor Hermógenes says, we would be eating the banana peel and throwing the fruit away.
So we define well what our motivation is. The ultimate motive of Yoga practice is Freedom. Freedom from the patterns to which we have been conditioned, from our own ego, in a sacred communion with the Universal Life that has brought us here. Our motive may be another, only we have it clear in the mind. Often motives may change over the years. But we have a high motive. This will be the support to get us out of mind conditioning and laziness.
Motivation is the foundation . Without it, any effort runs the risk of being lost. We will have to face the eternal restart, spending unnecessary energy to get out of inertia. When we maintain a constant practice of Yoga, without pauses in the winter, the repetition conditions our mind to a good habit that makes the routine more soft and lasting.
Now, anchored on this foundation, how do we fight more effectively to awaken and practice during the winter?
Here are some tips to strengthen your practice:
Remember daily your motivation, it will bring you strength.
If you have trouble waking up early to practice, get to bed early. At first it will be difficult, but repetition makes everything easier. In a few weeks of practice, you will find that you wake up much more easily.
If you wake up lazily, lay the boat in bed, intending the whole body. This will immediately bring you up to get up.
Wash your face with ice water. Massage the scalp with pressure. This helps to wake up.
Take a warm or cold shower. Avoid the scalding bath that softens the body and mind.
Practice fasting. If necessary, eat a fruit before.
In the cold, it is important to warm your muscles and joints well in order not to get hurt. Start slowly and increase the intensity and difficulty gradually.
Beneficial postures and sequences in the cold: Surya Namaskar; expansion postures such as warrior, camel, triangle, bow etc …; inversion postures like the candle.
Bhastrika is an excellent breathing exercise to warm and strengthen the body / mind.
Make use of foods that warm the body and bring warmth in the cold. Pepper, ginger, ghee, sesame oil etc. in this regard.
Enjoy the fall and winter to intensify your meditation practice. Of course this is a time of recollection and it is much easier to focus the mind and direct it to your point of meditation. At that moment Nature is in your favor.
Finally, we remember: we were not born perfect. To err, to discourage, to lose the course are common to all. So we persist. We restart. We continue. And eventually, when the Universal Life so desires, we awaken.