A vital concept on the path to spiritual growth, and the path to yoga, is “readiness”. You have to be ready for making changes in your life.
If you study yoga philosophy, atha is the first word in the first sutra. Atha means ready, or now with the the connotation of readiness. Now that you’re ready to embark upon a spiritual path, the path will show itself in front of you. Now that you’re ready, a teacher will appear… but there’s also that element of reminding us that we can’t make changes until we’re ready.
This is a really vital element because everybody, at some point, has tried to make a change in their life. Even if that change is great, it might not always go so well. “Failing” in this way often makes us wonder… what’s wrong with us? Why can’t we follow the strategy we created? Why can’t we feel less hopeless?
If you’re trying to make a change, no matter what that change is, and something isn’t clicking, you might need to give yourself a break. Tell yourself, “I’m not ready yet, when I’m ready, this will click.” The yoga sutra supports this too; it reminds us that when we’re ready, when we’re really on the path, change is inevitable. It’s guaranteed to happen, but only when we’re doing the work.
An example from my own life is my meditation practice. I was about 25 years old, I already had a few years of yoga under my belt as well as a couple of trips to India. I started trying to meditate daily and it didn’t go well. I would sit down on my meditation cushion and feel totally emotionally overwhelmed. My mind was all over the place. I told myself this story that I was not good enough to be a meditator. I could have let that go on and on, but I decided to ask for help. I sought out a teacher.
It wasn’t until I was ready to ask for that teacher’s help that I became a disciplined meditation practitioner. The funny thing is that I could have sought out that help right at the beginning, but I wasn’t ready yet; it just didn’t occur to me.
If you’ve ever wanted to keep going on that path, whatever it is, and it’s been challenging, you might just not be ready. Unfortunately, many of us have had that experience of trying to make positive change, struggling with it, and having to stop and start a few times. Not until the third or fourth try does it actually click. That’s totally okay.
But if you’re ready for that next step, make the change now. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to achieve a personal goal, a corporate goal, a financial goal… If you’re struggling or wanting to just take the next step with more ease and more joy and alignment, this is the place for you.