Starting something new—writing a book, doing a 30-day Yoga challenge—can be exciting at the beginning. Then, as you go along, mistakes are made, and doubts set in. This is when you think about giving up.
As Ernest Hemingway said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” The key to getting better is, of course, not giving up, but that can be hard to remember when you’re looking at mistakes and feeling like you’re not sure why you even started.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is one of the most important written documents about Yoga because it tells the truth: that Yoga is a spiritual practice, an ancient technology for our modern stresses. (Only a tiny part of the Sutras is devoted to physical exercise.) Giving up is addressed in Sutra 1.4:
Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness.
Thousands of years later, Ira Glass, host of This American Life, says something similar in this video. Remember, shit is just another word for fertilizer, which is vital to making beautiful things grow. (Thanks to David Shiyang Liu for sharing the video.)
For more on the truth about Yoga, read this.