Conference notes


Tapah-Svadhyaya-Ishvarapranidhanani-Kriyayogah (Patanjali Yoga Sutra, II.1.)

Tapas means austerity. It means to lead a disciplined life.

Yoga practitioners (don’t talk about yogis) should get up early in the morning, follow a vegetarian diet and get early to bed. You should be able to maintain the discpline.

If you party in the night, you will struggle in your practice, because your mind is not focused.

Why should we follow strictly these guidelines? The mind is either focused or distracted. By an undisciplined life, the mind gets distracted and it’s impossible to go further in the asana practice.

Svadhyaya – selfstudy. You do your practice, teacher teaches and you think the whole day what your learned from him. You do your own research. Yoga books and yoga knowledge help us, but the student should put effort to understand. You can study and never understand even if you come 30 years to Mysore if you just hang around after your asana practice.

Asana brings calmness to the mind. If it’s not done properly, can bring aggressivity. We study the three limbs, Yama, Niyama, Asana to get rid of the disorders of the mind. That’s the purpose of doing asanas.

Ishvara Pranidhanani – Surrender to the Divine. Difficult for many people. When this is established, it’s Kriya Yoga. When practiced and established, you can go to Samadhi. When you surrender, nothing can hurt you. You become part of the Divine.

We think we are great and that’s why it’s difficult to surrender. The ‘I’ is always first.  When the ‘I’ is greater than yoga, the problems start. We act like we are everything even if we are just a tiny dot in this universe. Think someone is above us – Supreme God.

You should follow 4 things (when ready for Pranayama), Yama, Niyama, Asana and Pranayama, then automatically the rest (of Ashtanga) will happen. Dhyana (meditation) – you can see people doing workshop advertizing with pictures where outside they are like Buddha, but inside the mind is running. 😀


Q1:  How to develop faith? When I practice at home I don’t feel so inspired. It would be nice if something happened, but don’t believe anything happens through my practice.

A: You just do your practice. Your duty is to do. Fruit will come. God gives.

By coming to Mysore makes changes in you. It’s already an effort itself. If you don’t believe in this practice, try not practicing for a month and you’d understand the value of the practice.

Q2:  How to maintain spirituality if you’re not spiritual?

A: You are spiritual, but you don’t know it. You have to build a correct foundation. If the foundation is not correct, also the spiritual practice will tumble.

Spirituality has nothing to do with religion. Religions started often like this. You believe someone else’s experience instead of finding it inside of yourself. Fundamentally we are spiritual. Many things disturb us so that we don’t realize that. The change that comes through yoga is that first everything seems to be outside of us and after we find everything inside.

There are yogis in all the religions as there are non-yogis in yoga.

Spirituality is like growing a flower. You need to nourish the ground and the flower will blossom. In yoga you nourish with Yama, Niyama, Asana.

When you have children, educate them to respect the mother, the father, teachers, others and you become spiritual. It’s more spiritual than going to the temple and then do bad things after.

Q3: How do you share the experience of yoga with someone who doesn’t believe in God?

A: By practice. Once people come to yoga, they’ll come to know the spirituality. At least 30%-40% of them.

Q4: Do we need to do advanced asanas to reach Moksha?

A: No. Proper understanding is needed. Advanced asanas not a guarantee. It’s more how you do your practice that counts. You can have Dhyana state when doing asanas. Someone can be very flexible and so can do asanas easily, but the mind is not there. It’s not yoga.

Q5: Should we count in the practice?

A: Counting is important to know the Vinyasa.

Q6: So many asanas, some are stronger than others. In Yoga Mala Guruji speaks about Sirsasana and you seem to put a lot of importance on back bending.

A: You do so much forward bends, so it’s important to compensate that.

Q7: What should be the room temperature for the practice?

A: You must do efforts in asana practice to bring sweat from inside. If the sweat comes effortlessly (heated room), no use. It only dehydrates you and makes you weak.

Q8: Can you say something about the lifestyle business?

A: People learn 15 days in teacher training and then they say: “I’m a yoga teacher.” They are spoiling yoga and the name of yoga. How many of those “teachers” are dedicated to yoga? How many of them dedicated their whole life to yoga? These people give bad fame to yoga. It’s about Sa-tu-dirghakala-nairantaryasatkarasevito-drdhabhumih (Patanjali Yoga Sutra I.14.). You have to practice long time without interruption and with devotion.

Some people do many workshops with different teachers and then they put this list on their website. From yoga’s point of view not good to do different workshops. Do the same thing and maintain the dignity.

Students can feel the teacher’s energy. If the foundation of the teacher is not good, whatever they teach, is not good.  If you don’t practice, how can you teach others?

Q9: If yoga increases sensitivity and perception, how does it not weaken oneself?

A: You have to think and find what is good for you. The strength and perception comes through practice. It’s a process. It comes by time. You will have better clarity and understanding. If it doesn’t happen, your efforts are wrong.

2013-12-21 17.10.00~ Blossoming in Mysore ~

Narasimha on Purusartha

Four facets of human life which according to the Indian system

–  make us interact with the external world

–  form the aim of human existence

–  lead to happiness :

Dharma, Kama, Moksha, Artha

Kama – desire that is going out. When desire has to interact, it has to compromise. Therefore there has to be a predictable methodology of interaction for the Kama to lead to the satisfaction. It needs internal paraphernalia that there could be the total satisfaction. (e.g. not any food will satisfy everybody, it can only fill the stomach.)

Moksha – liberation from desire by action. For example, when we’re hungry, we eat and become happy. When we are tired, we sleep and become happy. (Also a wider meaning: when you have the total liberation, you don’t need to worry of any desire.)

Artha – a need for the paraphernalia, i.e. tools for satisfying the desire.  For each type of desire, Artha is different. This specificity of procuring the paraphernalia that satisfies us is called Artha.

Dharma – For all this (Kama, Moksha, Artha) we are dependent on the external world. How are we to procure these things to satisfy our needs without antagonizing the society around us? Dharma is the proper way of living by which we can procure the things that are desirable for us without antagonizing the society.

Dharma becomes the dominant drive on the basis of mutual understanding of the interaction. We provide satisfaction to the society, the society provides satisfaction to us.  Dharma depends on our age, family situation, personality, responsibility.

The ‘I’ is a combination of suffering and action. (KleshaKarmaVipaka of Patanjali)

Why do people easily welcome sleep? Because then there’s no need to decide, to choose, to worry.  Most of the addictions are the substitute for sleep, because people can’t cope with the world. By shutting off of the world (because you don’t want to suffer neither take action), you avoid taking responsibility (schizophrenia is one of the mind’s ways to get out of the reality). This way the Klesha-Karma overwhelms us. In a predictable world the decision making is easy. In this chaotic world the decision making is always hazardous.

Desire and satisfaction happen inside, not outside. The satisfaction is dependent on the coherence of the different functions in Koshas. The Koshas should be healthy. If Koshas are in contradiction, the chaos will appear and we are not able to understand the situation. Our reactions will be accordingly – wrong. We should be able to use our consciousness to operate in and to interact with nature and get the feedback. How to get rid of the interaction on the Kosha level?

Even when Koshas are healthy, one more complexity on the energy level appears, the Gunas:

The consciousness is made of three components.

Sattva, Rajas, Tamas

Matter stays in a place. Energy is always moving. Consciousness is an energy. When it decides, the matter moves. If no direction or no purpose, it just wastes its energy without no useful benefit for us. If harnessed, it should be harnessed to a creative, evolutionary direction -> vertical growth = Sattva.

If you think you can’t grow, you will destroy yourself. The decay is possible when our Rajas is stagnating within the system.

All energy is Rajas. Stagnation of Rajas = Tamas (Inertia).

All matter is Tamas.

Tamas is also essential -it should be used by Rajas to recover itself.  Tamas should not conduct your energy, it’s just for control.

Sattva is a directional and benificial way of thinking and acting.

Yoga is to transform Tamas and Rajas in Sattva. Yoga catalyses our activity towards the evolution and condenses the complex evolution within one birth. That’s why it’s painful. We should control our consciousness so that Sattva always dominates, because only then we can go on the path of evolution.


* Narasimha *