Yogis Got Gumption

That’s what I’ve always loved about yoga, that yogis have gumption. In all the different styles I’ve practiced, as a grad of 5 different Teacher Training programs over the years, I’ve found that yogis know how to keep going. Granted, a pandemic tests you to the limit, but you’re better equipped to handle it than anyone else. Because of your gumption.

The dictionary says it’s “spirited initiative and resourcefulness.” Yet I know that sometimes it’s merely a choice between the lesser of two evils – get up do it or roll over and whine some more. Doing daily practice can come down to this. But I’ve found that choosing to roll over just makes for future pain. And Patanjali does promise that future pain can be avoided:

Heyam duhkham anaagatam. — Yoga Sutras 2.16

Future pain can and should be avoided.

It’s an amazing promise: not only is it possible to avoid future pain but the sage urges that you should avoid it. How do you cash in on his promise? Do what he says – keep the momentum going. That’s why I’m reminding you that you’ve got gumption.

Initiative, resourcefulness, imagination, ingenuity, cleverness — these describe the yogis I know. That’s what it takes to keep a household together at any time and especially during a pandemic.

Pluck, mettle, get-up-and-go, grit, spunk, oomph — you need all of this to keep your own yoga practice going during a pandemic. Especially if you’re out of work or working from home, it’s too easy to let your oomph fizzle out. But who suffers the most for this? Ummm, that would be you.

Astuteness, common sense, smarts, native ability, practicality, spirit — all are necessary for yoga teachers at this time. How do you keep your studio open? How do you serve your students effectively online? I must say I’ve learned a lot more about technology in the last few months. It’s surprised me how much I like zooming into my students’ homes. I feel like I can shift their perspective where they need it the most, right in the middle of life’s challenges, right where they live.

But I can feel subtle rumblings. It’s like the roots of the plants, deep in the earth, are starting to wiggle. While winter isn’t over yet, spring is just around the corner. A vaccine is hard to get right now, but that’s only for a while longer and then things will change.

How will they change? We don’t really know. But there’s nothing new about that. You’re getting more used to not knowing, even getting more used to the constant change. Of course, life always works that way, though it’s more obvious now. Which is why you need gumption. And masks. And hand sanitizer. And a way to zoom your yoga. Gear up! Get your gumption going.

Swami Nirmalananda Saraswati leads Svaroopa® Vidya Ashram in Downingtown PA.  An American yogi, she is an inspiring teacher with a loving manner and a great sense of humor.  Before becoming a swami (yoga monk), as Rama Berch, she served the yoga community as the founding president of Yoga Alliance.  Traveling and teaching nationally and internationally, she is authorized to initiate people into deep meditation through Shaktipat, as did Swami Muktananda, her own Guru.  The Ashram website features extensive Freebies, including articles and audio recordings on the principles of consciousness as taught by the sages of India, as well as how to apply them in your life today.

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