Living as a Yogi in the Modern Day

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Pallavi, Yoga Teacher shares

This is not a new concept for me from a spiritual perspective as I have been in the path of learning for a while but including Yoga with its philosophy and as a way of life will enhance what I am already practicing. When I embraced the path to self enlightenment some 20 years back, it was not to keep this separate from my daily life. It was to connect the spiritual self to the human experience and make the path a way of my life. I would say now that the efforts were fine but the attempt needed Hatha Yoga to complete that goal. According to me, the journey starts with my own self. At the outset, Asanas and my meditation practices will set the base of the body and mind. Once a neutral and detached state of mind is achieved, the next step is to look inwards and find my way through that maze of vrittis and the kleshas. I have adopted the Niyama Swadhaya or Self-study as my personal focus and hence that is what I am practicing before going outward.

The questions that I will daily aim to ask myself and study are :

1. What are the triggers that still affect me ?
2. What type of trigger is it ?
3. How do I address it ?
4. Have I addressed the root ?
5. Check for reaction of the mind, with same or similar situation ?

One of the many ways I can think of moving forward in any situation which brings in the big waves of separation from my inner self is to employ the practice of Chitta prasadanam. The four Brahmaviharas ( attitude) would be my foundation of living my daily life.

1.Friendliness toward the joyful
2.Compassion for those who are suffering
3.Celebrating the good in others
4.Remaining impartial to the faults and imperfection in others

( Yoga Sutra 1.33 )

When someone for example is disagreeing with me or screaming at me or showing displeasure at something which happened due an interaction with me, the first thought would be :  what did I do to hurt this soul ? how can I help reduce that hurt ? An apology ? If that is not working, and the resentment keeps increasing, it is best to bring forth impartiality considering and accepting that fact that maybe the soul on the other side is facing some dire circumstances inside herself and is struggling with his or her own vrittis and maybe I was the final straw. It is then best to step aside and let the soul breathe. Detachment and disassociation with compassion, would be my essential practice of the fourth Brahmavihara. More often than not, I would like to be centred in self awareness even when the mind is not listening to my training urges. That has been a practice I am working with for a while and I continue to do this with the Yogic Philosophy in mind going forward. When the body is toned with the balanced practices, the energy is flowing freely, the mind is also clear and it is possible to observe the pleasant and the not so pleasant vrittis and go beyond it rather than getting stuck in that flow. That is the purpose of my daily sadhana. Base my daily foundation on the mat and practice practically what I am learning or imbibing and constantly checking if that is the right path to be. On a broader perspective, I do plan to incorporate the Yamas and the Niyamas as much as possible.

Ahimsa or Non Violence in thought word and action is an important. As I continue my practice, the aim would be not to compare or resent my progress or lack of progress in comparison to others. Since I am going to be a student of Yoga for a long time, I need to find myself on the mat following the right alignments and knowing what I can attempt, where I need help and when I need to stop pushing myself. Listen to my body more acutely I would think. That would take me a long way and help me flow in my practice more wisely. Focusing as a teacher, the aim would be to ensure my student’s safety and focus on right alignments and understanding how to work with students with our without any limitations keeping the principle of encouragement, motivation, acceptance of self, and so on and teach the same to my students. It is ok to be where one is. We can always work from there.

Satya or Truthfulness :
My perspective toward this yama is always being true to yourself. It has been a philosophy I have attempted to follow in my corporate life which helped me steer away from nasty politics and also helped me have genuine professional relationship with my peers. This is something I also try and cultivate within my social circle and it does not have a great affect as people do misunderstand my attitude but I think I am more in sync with myself when I am myself. My relationship with myself is one of the most precious quality I have discovered in my path to self discovery. Silence and restraint would be something I would practice more and more. It helps to keep my mind clear and focussed on subjects that matter to my soul.

Asteya or Non Stealing :
Giving back more than I receive is what is going to be my practice. Besides the conscious attempt to respect other’s time and space and not fill my own mind with needless thought patterns which steal away my time with the divine that is inside me.

Brahmacharya or Energy Moderation :
Consciously managing my lifestyle keeping it as Sattvic as possible. The food I consume, the books I read, the company I keep, what I watch on TV or around me, would be in a constant state of awareness. This also goes when practicing asanas when I am not overdoing it with my body and pushing myself without understanding my body. It is an important element in my self sadhana. From a teacher’s perspective, plan a well balanced class to ensure that the students are not stressed and have enough rest between trying poses.

Aparigraha or Non Grasping :
My main aim would be to not cling to anything. I think at this stage of my life, I have already been practicing a lot of “letting go”. The hardest thing to let go was my secure job with a good salary. I am aware that I cannot be attached to even my practice and be content with what I have and whatever I achieve is my offering to the Divine and that is the thought that has been motivating me and that is the thought that will keep motivating me.

I find the shloka from Soundarya Lahiri to the Divine Mother, very apt in to connect to my practice for Aparigraha. This runs through my mind every morning before I start my day. As I drive/ride and as I practice /interact. It keeps running through my mind even as I retire for the day.

“ जपो जलः िशलं सकलमिप मुदािवरचना गितः पादिकण-कमण-मशनादा हित-िविधः ।
पणामः संवेशः सुखमिखल-मातापरण-दशा सपयार पयारय-सव भवतु यने िवलिसतम् ॥

Japo Jalpaha Shilpam Sakalamapi Mudraavirachanaa Gathih Praadakshinyakramanamashanaadyaahuthividhihi!
Pranaamassamveshassukhamakhilamaathmaarpanad-rushaa Saparyaaparyaayasthava Bhavathu Yanme Vilasitham!”

Literal Meaning:
“May everything that I do with the sense of self-dedication be items in Thy service- my prattle, the utterance of Thy mantra, the movements of my hand, the gestures and poses of Thy worship; my walking, Thy circumambulation; my eating, fire-sacrifice to Thee; the stretching of the body in sleep and rest, prostration to Thee, and all my enjoyments, offerings made to Thee.”

I would like to focus on 2 Niyamas. One is Swadhaya as I have already mentioned earlier. Continuously studying and observing my own self and being guided by the wise ones who knew where they were going. The other Niyama which I would like to work on is Tapas or Self Discipline or Right

Effort :
This will be turned totally inwards for self in the beginning. It will stem from being consistent with my practice and my goals. And observing the right means to progress. Tapas to be aware of what I am doing, and who I am being in living my life. Tapas to focus on my goals to be one of the best Yoga teacher and a persistent Yoga Student. Tapas to keep purity of thought and intention in everything and in all my interaction. Tapas to lead the lifestyle that is required for this life as an Urban Yogi keeping all urban context in mind and still living at my joyous best keeping my point of references in mind, like Chitta Prasadanam, Awareness of the Kleshas, Attempting to walk the path of the Yamas and the Niyamas to the best of my abilities. That would be my Tapas for myself.

These have been couple of thoughts that have been firing in my mind as I have been progressing in my TTC program and I hope to live the thoughts. Yoga in a very loving way has rekindled the fire inside me making me more connected to myself and my practices and bringing me to a place of accepting myself and pushing for my goals with more vigour and joy. The goals have changed, what gives me joy has changed but there are many things which have remained the same and re-emerged from the silent substrate of the mind which makes me, ME. That is what I will always treasure most about making Yoga my life and living every moment in joy and surrender to the Divine. All experiences are welcome, with the faith that I will see it through and Yoga will help me forge ahead with the quiet purpose that I have come here to complete this human experience

To find the student with in you, be a teacher .

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Make Yoga part of Life

The principles laid out in Patanjali’s yoga sutras dating back to 500 B.C. are still very relevant today, even in our modern information world. Yoga has evolved a lot from the days of Patanjali; it has taken different forms to meet the varying needs of practitioners all along its journey. Yoga continues to accept all changes, like the ocean accepts the river, absorbs, assimilates and grows. (A distinctive feature of sanaatan dharma of India)

 

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