Happy Diwali

I wish you all a Happy Diwali 

It is the day when Lord Rama returned home after completing 14 years of exile, and killing the demon Ravana. We celebrate this special and auspicious day by, listening to Lord Rama’s stories, singing His glories, worshipping Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of Wealth), lighting diyas and candles, exchanging gifts & sweets with friends and relatives, eating many different kinds kinds of sweets, and reflecting on rights and wrongs in our own lives and how we can move from the wrong to the right.  Diwali

Saint Valmiki wrote the story of Lord Rama, called Ramayana, during Lord Rama’s lifetime, over 10000 years ago. It is a beautiful poem written in Sanskrit.

However, it was the Saint Tulsidas’ version of Ramayana, which he wrote just over 500 years ago, that became very popular with Hindus. It is written in Hindi, also a poem, and is highly devotional. In addition to Ramayna, Saint Tulsidas wrote hundreds of other poems, all very devotional, and mostly dedicated to Lord Rama.

His writings have been a great influence on my life. They make my devotion towards Lord Rama very alive. A couplet from one of his songs is my most favourite, in which he says to Lord Rama.” There are many different types of relationships between You and me, and I am happy with whichever relationship You  choose, but please always keep me close to You, at Your Lotus Feet.”

Lord Rama, though present in every heart, is felt and realized only by a devotee. Though the Diwali is about Lord Rama’s  returning home, but in fact, a greater Diwali happens when a devotee returns home, and finds that Lord Rama was always there. He never left. He never leaves.

 

Happy Diwali!

May your life be filled with sweetness!

AOL Therapeutic Yoga Retreat in Langkawi Malaysia, and SAHC

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Last month I conducted the Art of Living Therapeutic Yoga Retreat in beautiful Langkawi, Malaysia. In this picture, it is Lay Hwa on my left, and Zok Lim on my right, both with the help of many others made the Yoga Retreat a great success. Zok Lim’s sankalpa was to get 150 people for the retreat, and she managed to get 201. She was always one step ahead of me. Whenever I wrote to her about something that needed to be done. She replied immediately ‘already done’:)

Langkawi -Group

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During the past fifteen years I have been fortunate to meet many such beautiful people who have helped me in taking yoga to their countries and around the globe. All these yogis are  filled with amazing enthusiasm, energy, determination, organizing skills, and passion for yoga.  I am so grateful to them all. With their help I have experienced different dimensions of yoga, and  oneness in diversity.

 

 

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SAHC (Strengthening and Healing Contractions): Pronounced as ‘Saahsee’

It is a technique we teach in AOL Yoga Level 2  course and Therapeutic Yoga Retreat. It is a very powerful technique with amazing benefits that people have reported. People often ask me how this technique was developed.

I believe it was in 2010, when I was teaching the 1st AOL Yoga Level 2 course in Gujarat ashram and was having some issues with my right knee. One evening as I was doing knee exercises, I discovered that contracting and relaxing my hamstrings and quadriceps several times was very helpful in reducing the knee pain. That was the basis for developing SAHC.  Next day I introduced SAHC in Level 2 course in Gujarat, and fully developed it as a physical and spiritual practice during the next Level 2 course in Kerala.

Of course, all good things happen with the Divine grace. For me, there is no difference between Guru, God and mySelf. They all reside in me as One. My yoga comes from this One Consciousness.

In gratitude,

Krishan

 

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