Practice is the anchor.
The Gita defines yoga as the sum of what one must do to realize the Self. It begins with the way of selfless action (Karma Yoga), passes into the way of Self- knowledge (Jñana Yoga) and ends with the way of love (Bhakti Yoga).
"Jñana yoga The Yoga of knowledge, aspirants use their will and discrimination to this identify themselves from the body, mind, and senses until they know they are nothing but the self. The followers of bhakti yoga, The Yoga of devotion, achieve the same goal by identifying themselves completely with the Lord in love.
In karma yoga, The Yoga of selfless action, the aspirants dissolve their identification with body and mind by identifying with the whole of life, forgetting the finite self i
n the service of others."
Bhakti ties it all together. This means that the intention with which we show up to this practice is the key to the practice serving as tool for growth. Krishna Das has a beautiful way of describing practice:
"Practice is like the anchor of the ship of our lives. It drops down to the bottom of the ocean. The wind comes, the waves come and they blow the ship around. If the anchor is dropped, the ship doesn't get thrown off course, blown away. It's anchored. Without the anchor we are at the mercy of every wind and every wave. These practices are a way of dropping the anchor in our own being and that anchor holds us when we get lost, or fucked up. It pulls us back into ourselves."
Developing a personal relationship to practice is essential for the anchor to drop. This means spending time on the mat exploring, coming to the mat with clean, selfless, mindful presence. Pure intention, heart felt intention.