With reference from the yoga sutra Chapter 1 verse 22, śiṣya, students are being differentiated into 3 main categories.
मृदुमध्याधिमात्रत्वात्ततोऽपि विशेषः ॥२२॥
mṛdu-madhya-adhimātratvāt-tataḥ api viśeṣaḥ
- Mrdu: mild, slow
The student who doesn’t get started. They may always be thinking about it but never go beyond putting it into action. Many of us were probably once at this stage. Regardless of whether yoga enters our lives or we eventually begin on this path, we have taken ourselves on the mat.
Madhya: medium, middling
The student starts for a while but quickly stops when there are obstacles or distractions. We often find ourselves remaining at this stage for a long time, often longer than we wanted. Our emotions and practice fluctuate all the time.
While we would really like to keep a steady practice we bring up every pain, discomfort or injury as a reason to pause the practice. We find ourselves always re-starting the routine over and over again.
Over time the student may mature alongside the practice or may not. It takes some amount of intensity, focus and dedication when entering this stage. Students who are in this group operate with purpose. Yoga practice is no longer an activity that happened out of convenience but has become part of them like a necessity.
Knowing how to use the healing power of yoga to mend our broken parts is a skill. This can be cultivated through experiential learning while in the practice with a teacher’s guidance.
I would like to close with a story shared by Simon Sinek about the well-known brand, Nike, in relation to the topic of discussion.
Phil Knight, the co-found of Nike, was speaking at a large conference. He stood up and asked the audience, ”If any of you have ever run for exercise, can you please stand up? Most of the people in the room stood up.
He then said, ”If you run at least once a week, please keep standing and everyone else sit down. Most of the audience then sat down.
He continued to say, ”If you do it twice a week, please keep standing.”
“If you run three times a week. Rain or shine, regardless of the weather or the temperature, please keep standing.” Now there’s a scattering of people in the room remaining standing.
He looked out at them and said, ”The next time you’re out there before the sun is up, it’s dark, cold and wet. And you are running by yourself. We are the ones standing under the lamp post cheering you on. That’s how I describe Nike.”
‘In that instance you understand what ‘Just Do It’ means. It has nothing to do with winning and everything to do with trying. It has everything to do with doing.’ – Simon Sinek