Wednesday, February 10, 2010


from Swami Sivananda's daily reading:


I want to place before you another important point. I have no such words as “cannot”, “difficult”, “impossible”, “weakness”, etc., in my dictionary. Those who are attempting to develop their will-force should remove these words from their dictionary also. These are the expressions of a weakling or an effeminate person. These are the expressions of a timid woman.

Become a lion. Become a spiritual Lord. Become a champion in the Adhyatmic [pertaining to the Atman] field. By mere willing or chanting “OM” mountains can be crushed to powder. By mere willing mountains should move. By mere willing oceans should recede. By mere willing, all the waves of the ocean should subside. Lord Jesus did this and you, too, can do that.


This is why I often tell students who say they can't do a pose, "Not yet," or "Actually you can - you just don't know it yet..." and is perhaps why Dharma tells students to have "angry determination."


  1. Christopher gets really upset when he hears the word "can't"!

  2. anger does not work for me. i have to develop a love for it in order for my body not to clench up. so i force a smile, which brings instant joy. & realize it really does not matter if i can ever do the pose.
    truth is, i've met a lot of students who will never be able to do some postures. whether or not it matters depends on the person.

  3. Um, I think that when Dharma says that he is focusing on the "determination" part - and during asana practice it applies more to some students than others. As Chandra says, "Some of us need a little more Sita, some of us need a little Ram." In the case of the former, she says "Stop striving."

    Also at the beginning of class Dharma and Chandra ask the students to focus on offering the practice to the Supreme Self. This effectively takes the ego out of the equation (and suddenly, you're doing poses you never thought possible).

  4. Also... I remember the first time the big Yin teacher came to town. After the workshop, many ashtanga students were thrilled because they would never be able to perform certain poses due to their anatomy. They showed me how they'd never be able to do it, and stopped trying altogether.

    Then the Yin teacher's master came to town. And when someone couldn't do a pose, he would say, "You just haven't grown enough yet." I loved that attitude, which I believe falls more in line with the way Dharma and Pattabhi (and, apparently, Swami Sivananda) teach.

    As Pattabhi Jois said, "Do a pose 1,000 times and it becomes perfect." Not "Try 500 times and give up til the next lifetime."

  5. "stop striving" works for me. either i'm lazy or jaded, but i really think advanced asana is a bit over rated.
    i have done certain postures 1000 times. if "perfect" means looking perfect in the posture, i need more time. i don't perform anything with perfection.

  6. Then there's what Sharath told me at the old shala 2002, when I was apologizing for being stiff one day:

    "Body is not stiff.

    "Mind is stiff."

  7. Ha! That sounds like something Venki might also say.

    word verification: bendegly!

  8. david7:32 PM