The 2nd Principle of Yoga…. Satya!

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The 2nd Principle of Yoga…. Satya!

I consider the 5 Yamas and 5 Niyamas to be the two most important limbs among the Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga. The Yamas and Niyamas, a mix of ethics and restraints, are the needed foundation for one’s yoga journey. They are the pillars of yoga. But unfortunately their importance is not emphasized in most yoga classes, and many yoga students have not even heard of them.

The 5 Yamas are: Ahimsa (Non-violence), Satya (Truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (abiding in Self, moderation in sensual pleasures), Aparigraha (non-accumulation).

The 5 Niyamas are: Saucha (Cleanliness and purity), Santosha (Contentment), Tapas ( Self-discipline that includes service and sacrifice), Svadhyaya (study of the Self), Ishvara Pranidhana (Honoring the Divine with gratefulness and surrender)

For a clear understanding of Yamas and Niyamas, I highly recommend listening to my spiritual master Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s commentary on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (www.artofliving.org)

Today I have been contemplating on Satya, wondering how truthful I have been and how I can become better!

Truth is not in the words, instead it lies in the intention behind your words and actions. You may be speaking truth by words, but if your intention is to hurt someone or to obtain a selfish gain, then you are not being truthful. Only you know your intentions. A yogi is very mindful of his intentions.

I know, at times, it can be quite challenging to follow Ahimsa, Satya or other principles of yoga . Some situations may demand an action that is against the principles of yoga. In such situations, according to Bhagvad Gita, as long as your intentions are clean, you must take the needed action, but not let the action and its fruit affect you.

You need a master who can teach you this skill by example. I feel blessed to have one. I have learnt so much just by observing Him. He is so active in the world and yet His mind is so still. His intentions are clean. Only a still and truthful mind can be so compassionate.

During Navaratri I encourgae you to contemplate on Yamas and Niyamas and see where you need to improve.

Without feeling discouraged, happily continue…. 🙂

I will do the same.

Krishan

Happy Navaratri!

Navaratri is a very important 9-day festival for Hindus, today being the 1st day. We celebrate these 9 days in honour of Divine Mother Durga, the Creative and Protective aspects of Consciousness.

The spiritual mantra for Durga is ‘Om Dum Durgayei Namaha’. During these special days I chant this mantra a few times every night before going to bed, with an attitude of gratefulness for Her love and protection. I find that chanting this mantra, whenever I feel the need for help and protection, gives me the courage and strength to face difficult situations in life. For those of you who would also like to chant this mantra, the u in Dum is pronounced as the u in Sun.

During each day of Navaratri, I also contemplate on one or two principles of yoga, and think of ways how I can adopt them more in my life. The 5 Yamas ans 5 Niyamas of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras together constitute the 10 principles of yoga.

First principle is Ahimsa (non-violence)….which means not to hurt anyone, or have the intention to hurt anyone, with your speech, thoughts and actions. It also means not to carry any ill-feelings, anger, and negative judgements toward anyone. A yogi who lives this principle is called ‘adwaishta’. In Bhagvad Geeta Lord Krishna tells Arjuna to become ‘adwaishta’ toward all living beings.

So today on the first day of Navaratri, I try to become a better ‘adwaishta’ by not giving so much importance to the past experiences and associated emotions and judgements. I know that with continuous practice, today and everyday, I will become an adwaishta. This is the only way to witness each moment as fresh and new, and to bring out the compassion that is buried under negative emotions of the past experiences.

I always abide in this knowledge that there is no difference between Self, Guru, and God. On this auspicious day of Navaratri I express my gratefulness to my Guru for appearing as a living embodiment of Self and God.

May the Divine Mother Durga protect you!

Tomorrow I will share with you the 2nd principle of yoga.

Your yoga friend,

Krishan

Happy Shivaratri

Shivaratri,  a religious and spiritual festival celebrated by Hindus all over the world , is also a very important day for the seekers on the path of yoga. Shiva is the source of all that there is, including the knowledge of yoga.

Shiva means the ‘Consciousness’, and ratri means ‘night’

A seeker, on this day (and night) makes a conscious effort to remember that he is not just the body, thoughts, or feelings, which are temporary and ever-changing.  He remembers that, instead, he is a part of the pure Consciousness that is Non-changing, Immortal and Eternal.  He remembers this with honor and gratitude.

Just as our bodies receive rest during the night, the same way the remembrance, that you are a part of something infinitely big, frees you from the smallness of the mind and its weaknesses.  With continuous remembrance of this Truth your mind and inner being receive deep rest in the Self, the Shiva.

On this day, the seekers and devotees also remember and honor their spiritual masters who have realized the Truth that it is all Shiva.

A realized spiritual master can help you in realizing the Truth just as a lighted candle can light many other candles.

I feel blessed and grateful for having my spiritual master Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in my life.

 May you realize the Truth!   Happy Shivaratri!