3 Methods For Practicing The Art Of Active Patience

I like to look at nature and the system of yoga for answers to life’s questions. I know that sometimes I will not necessarily get direct responses, but if I can look with eyes of meditative reflection, I may find guidance.

Patanjali, in Yoga Sutra 1.30, says, “The inner obstacles that disperse the mind are sickness, mental inertia, doubt, haste, apathy, intemperance, errors in judgment of oneself, lack of perseverance, and the inability to stay at a level once reached.” (Bernard Bouanchaud, The Essence of Yoga). The wise sage would tell us that if we were really meditating, we would not identify with all that static on our mental radios. We would be tuned into Channel AUM – and stay on it!

It is truly great advice, but requires much patience, perseverance, and practice. We live in an age in which a tweet can be delivered in the blink of an eye, so I am pretty certain these three “P’s” are not getting much play. Have we mistaken patience for passivity? Patience means sitting with something, with quiet knowledge that at some point it will change, tinged with acceptance that it is a process, coupled with a certain surrender to the universe’s plan. HOWEVER, I don’t just sit on my yoga butt; I continue to be actively solution-focused. Friends, patience is an art form.

Here are a three ways to inspire yourself and breed active patience when you are weathering a storm of some kind, or feeling like no visible progress is being made to reach your goals, whatever they may be. Remember that it is called a “practice,” which means you keep at it without holding on to expectations.

1. Honor and accept yourself as you are in this moment. 

People tease me because I tend to say, “It is what it is,” but I feel it is so true. Sometimes life gives us lemons! I find this simple practice of being honest helps me laugh a little, and humor becomes a window for me. I can look through and see that I am doing my best with what I am given. Or I can up my game, rev up my research, and punch up my positive attitude!

2. Try slowing down your yoga practice. 

If you're practicing only fast-paced vinyasa, add longer holds on some postures (with support). Whether they're dynamic or restorative postures, a 90-second hold versus a five-breath hold will inform your nervous system differently. Asana is a great tool for witnessing transformation and cultivating patience.

3. Practice Patanjali.

Just sit quietly with no expectation. Pay attention to the cycles of breath, noticing how the inhale leads to the exhale and the exhale leads to the inhale; allow yourself to focus on the breath, not the thoughts, setting your inner station to Channel AUM.

Repetition of the Mantra “Thy Will” or “AUM” is also pretty powerful.

Here is wishing you peace and positivity as you cultivate active patience with whatever practices suit you.

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