A lot of the wisdom I've gained about yoga has come from the great composer and Zen Buddhist John Cage. One of my favorite quotes is his: "If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all."
It is a great quote because it emphasizes that commitment summons the truly interesting results. I find that playing the same line of music over and over can feel monotonous at first, but eventually the line starts to change and grow - sounding different as time progresses. The same goes for japa mediation. The first 20 or 30 times chanting a mantra can sometimes be excruciating, but eventually it becomes immensely interesting. Asana is no exception. Vrksasana (tree posture) at two minutes feels a lot different than vrksasana at four minutes and a lot different than vrksasana at eight minutes.
The quote is also nice and neutral. It doesn't claim that these things become better or worse - just that they become not boring. It is a true homage to all that is yoga. It says that when we explore there is opportunity for more depth, but doesn't mention what the result of that might be.
Whenever I re-read this quote my practice usually becomes less focused on flow and more on holds and isometric exercies. I always feel like this is where it gets really good too! I'm inclined towards a very flowy vinyasa type class typically - so focusing on holding postures takes me to my depth. It lets me settle in and find all all the subtleties of the pose. It takes me to the my most interesting place - sometimes extremely joyful and sometimes extremely difficult.
In order to find balance and strength to get through these vary valuable but trying holds I inevitably end up at another quote, "sthira sukham asanam." This is one of my favorite yoga sutras. My favorite translation comes from B.K.S Iyengar and goes, "Asana is perfect firmness of body, steadiness of intelligence and benevolence of spirit." It highlights the balance between effort and ease that is needed to perform a posture with integrity and grace. It gives the us the tools we need as the pose moves from boring to not so boring.
Warrior II is my favorite posture to employ this sutra. Depending on where I am on that particular day, I will try holding Warrior II for 2 - 4 minutes. I set it up right away with strength and firmness in the legs, strong breath and focus to lessen the chatter in the mind, and whatever positivity and joy I can muster to keep that lightness of spirit. Warrior II will get especially 'interesting' in the legs which will lead to a wandering mind which eventually leads to feelings of self-doubt like "I don't think I can hold this!" That's when you re-commit. Find your legs, find your focus, find your ease. You might start to lose focus again, so you re-commit again. Hold it, let it get interesting, and use the sutra to find balance and make it through! Some days you might enjoy the fire you are feeling in the legs and some days you might give up. I say it doesn't matter as long as you make it interesting.
Pick a pose and commit to holding it for longer than you normally would. How do you find firmness of body? Steadiness of intelligence? Benevolence of spirit? When does it get the most interesting? I'd love to hear about your experience!