A little over a decade ago, I planted an avocado tree in my garden from a tiny pit.
And then I waited.
I mulched. I cleared the soil. I cut back the leaves and gave it room.
I kept waiting.
I waited for nine years. And last year, finally, we harvested five avocadoes.
A few weeks ago, I went out into my garden and there, on my tree that was once just a pit, were hundreds of blooms and avocado buds. After a decade of seasons, through drenching and drought, this year will be the one that bears real fruit.
While growing an avocado tree doesn’t make me a farmer, Author Robin Sharma speaks about the example that tending to the land gives us:
The farmer has patience and trusts the process.
He just has the faith and deep understanding
that through his daily efforts,
the harvest will come.
And then one day,
out of nowhere,
The practice of yoga is strikingly similar. For many of us, our practice is a daily effort. It is often hard to notice the subtle changes that yoga is making on the body from class to class and day to day. It is the cumulative effort that reveals the true impact of the hours that we spend working with the poses and the breath.
We do the work on our mat without knowing when change will happen, and at times, it feels like nothing is shifting at all. Yet one day we find ourselves binding our arms behind the back in archer without assistance, or sliding into a pose without pain or struggle. It seems so profound and sudden, when in fact the change has been slowly happening all the time.
The saying is that good things come to those who wait. But good things also come to those who do the work as they wait.
As a teacher, I love watching my students do the work in their practice. Being a witness for breakthroughs, however small or large, is a great joy, and an inspiration.
Whether we are acting as students or teachers, we can all be excellent mirrors for our community. We often spot those first buds of fruit in others well before they can see them on their own.
This is the real fruit of the practice.
The small, budding miracles in my backyard garden remind me that nature is a wonderful teacher. Ralph Waldo Emerson advised us to “Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.”
As my yoga journey continues to evolve, I am working towards the longevity of my practice, and not for the quickest gain. I find myself choosing the path towards building strength in poses instead of always heading straight for the most advanced variation.
It is important to monitor how we care for our practice. Like the farmer, do we have faith in the process? Are we doing the work? Are we making it to the mat? Are we pushing too hard? Are we taking time out for rest and for retreat? Are we going deeper?
Ultimately, patience in my practice helps me to go deeper, because patience is the practice.
And so I wait, and watch, and do the work. And dream about the guacamole from this year’s avocado harvest.
Pete Guinosso (E-RYT 500) helps students connect with their hearts. His gentle guidance and intuitive assists allow students of all levels to step out of their comfort zones and find their own authentic path in the practice. Pete’s classes offer strong, vigorous sequencing grounded in the breath and intention, and always leave room for playfulness and fun.
Drawing from his years as a scientist, Pete approaches his practice with a sense of curiosity and wonder. He also draws from what initially brought him to the yoga mat: over twenty-five years of running, cycling, and competitive sports. His light-hearted exploration of going deeper on a path that is both physical and spiritual has created a thriving community of yogis in the San Francisco Bay area and around the world. He recently finished a weekend workshop at Urban Ashram Manila.