Yoga Sutra 1.14 – Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break, and with enthusiasm. Translation by Reverend Jaganath Carrera
So practice, practice, and then practice some more. Watching my baby girl learning has made me see this process in a new light. Every day since we brought her home from the hospital, she has done “tummy time”. We put her on her belly so she can build neck strength and eventually learn to crawl. The first couple of months were a struggle. She would cry within a minute or two out of frustration. Then she learned to lift her head and turn it from one side to the other. Next she was able to do 5 minute stretches and could lift her head a little higher. She then learned to roll over, first from her belly to her back, then from her back to her belly. Eventually she was able to prop herself up on her forearms, and then straighten her arms in a little Upward Facing Dog. Now, at 5 months, she’s able to roll from her back to her belly, belly to back pretty seamlessly around the room, and she’s beginning to get up on her hands and knees.
The progress seemed small as it happened and sometimes appeared to plateau. But we kept putting her on her belly day after day. Now she prefers to be on her belly, even when she sleeps. Her practice has been attended to for a long time (even though it’s only 5 months, it has been her whole life!). She has been at it every day, without break. Of course we give her breaks, I just mean she’s done tummy time every single day. : ) And she definitely goes at it with enthusiasm, especially now that she’s moving around more. She’s determined to crawl!
It’s an amazing thing to watch and a great reminder to me that practice has to be consistent. We can’t expect to make real change without constant attention and dedication to our practice. Whatever it is that we are trying to accomplish – handstands, a meditation practice, or crawling – we have to practice, practice, and then practice some more.