BKS Iyengar describes will power as, “Intention with attention”. If one can get clear about what is to be done and stay in the moment with rapt attention then it is very likely that this agenda will be carried out. When you consider how a momentary distraction can cause one to fall out of balance in a pose, the understanding of lack of attention is instantaneous.
The Will to Do
Prashant Iyengar deciphers will power into a assortment of scenarios. When we practice asana there is the will to do. We are eager to do a particular pose that may be out of our reach. It is our will to do that motivates us to practice and our ego drives our will to do. We achieve egoic satisfaction from striving to do. While the will to do may get us into a challenging pose, there has to be more substance than simply to do if we want to remain interested. Yoga has a strong mental component. It makes our mental body (manomaya kosa) more muscular, but that is just one dimension.
The Will to Maintain
When we continue on our journey and probe more deeply beyond just doing, our will to maintain can be engaged. If we want to penetrate from the periphery to the core, we have to stay, maintain. The asana experience becomes more than enter, pause, and exit. By maintaining we have an opportunity to be in the state of the pose. Our physical body (annamaya kosa) receives benefits of increased strength and stability, flexibility and stamina. We begin to understand the psychology of the asana. While practicing in this manner has tremendous value, there is still more to receive from deeper work.
The Will to Know
Practicing with the will to know opens the doorway to the laboratory of Self. We take time to explore our organic body. We study the particular pattern of breath associated with a given pose, the channels of energy where prana will flow, and the compression or extension of various organs. Ultimately, we penetrate beyond the organic body and move towards the stillness of being in the moment. The mind and consciousness move toward the Self, a profound benefit of engaging one’s will power. The intellect of the head surrenders to the intelligence of the heart and we become benevolent in spirit. This, in turn, inspires us to be committed to our practice.