The willingness to do (August 28, 2018)

“The great doesn’t happen through impulse alone, and is a succession of little things that are brought together.

...How does one get there? It’s working one’s way through an invisible iron wall that seems to stand between what one feels and what one can do. How can one get through that wall? — since hammering on it doesn’t help at all. In my view, one must undermine the wall and grind through it slowly and patiently. And behold, how can one remain dedicated to such a task without allowing oneself to be lured from it or distracted, unless one reflects and organizes one’s life according to principles? And it’s the same with other things as it is with artistic matters. And the great isn’t something accidental; it must be willed. Whether originally deeds lead to principles in a person or principles lead to deeds is something that seems to me as unanswerable and as little worth answering as the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg.

But I believe it’s a positive thing and of great importance that one should try to develop one’s powers of thought and will.” —Vincent Van Gogh

“Willpower is the willingness to do.” —Yogācārya B.K.S. Iyengar


( Viparita Dandāsana supported variations with chair )

Willpower grows with stability through self-discipline. My teacher, Manouso Manos, explains that the root of the word discipline is disciple. When we are a disciple of something, the self-discipline grows on its own from interest. It isn’t something from outside being inflicted on us.  I am so grateful for how Iyengar Yoga lifts up the practitioner and student from semi-interested novice (with all the pains and imbalances accumulated on our journey), teaching how to carefully remove obstacles methodically, and develop progressively on the path of not just physical fitness but evolve through the performance of skillful action. There was a long practice in these chair backbends today which simultaneously revealed and healed imbalances in my back ribs, shoulder, and pelvis. By the time unsupported backbends were practiced both shoulder-blades were on my back effortlessly. If I had skipped them, it possibly would have strained my shoulder. I am so grateful and indebted to Yogācārya BKS Iyengar’s brilliant method.