NOTES FROM SHARATH’S CONFERENCE ON THE 22TH OF DEC
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.