Yoga = Stirring the Ingredients = Balance

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Yoga = Stirring the ingredients = Balance

Recently been wondering about how “easy” it is for yoga practitioners to get off their yogic practice path and fall into illness, sadness and/or depression.  It always surprises me how when someone new to yoga marvels about their feelings of balance and peace.  Shortly thereafter, they are equally amazed about how the experience dissipated.  True hatha yoga is about energy cultivation.  This classical hatha yoga from India is a process for the art of living well.   There are so many priorities in our world that may confuse or overwhelm us.  When we give up on ourselves we are allowing everything else to have power over us.  In fact zapping and depleting  our energy, and then what are we left with? Satsang can be translated to community for conscious exchanges and yoga classes can be our satsang.  When we have others around to help us stay on the path, to share their experiences, concerns and discoveries this all helps us in our own trust in our yoga.

One way to keep the glimmer of satsang is to keep inspirational texts close by to muse.  In this age of the internet, Youtube and blogs we can see, listen and follow those who share conscious living quite easily.  Like refreshing your computer screen these little visits refresh our outlook – inwards as well as outwards.  I found this quote from Sadhguru that helps me as a teacher see what may be happening for practitioners:

…The science of yoga essentially means this – even a little baby, if you pinch him, he will cry because he can feel his body.  But he may not be able to feel his thoughts and emotions to start with: he can just feel his body.  So the body is the first thing he feels.  The journey of yoga is to take you from the body, to different dimensions of who you are, to the ultimate core….in that sense…then you may be equipped.”

Many of us when overwhelmed lose our memory of our wellness when the “other” priorities take over.  In these depressed economic climates it is understandable that people are juggling priorities to stay protected in their work environments.  But is it worthwhile to forget ourselves and lose our personal power/ourselves?  While awaiting Sandy – the Epic Storm of our Lifetime, I have noticed so many institutions actually offering concern, guidance, and even compassion.  Banks offering forgiveness due to projected lapses due to the storm.  Businesses closing days early, cities closing public transport and roadways, colleges sending dormitory student populations home days ahead.  All this to get families together to manage the crisis as a unit, perhaps as a financial decision that does in fact allow for some family bonding.  Rather amazing that the crisis elevates institutions to compassionate legislation and executive decisions.  Do we have to wait for a crisis of an even greater magnitude for executive decisions to remind us to stay on our yogic path.  Perhaps yes?  Sadhguru commented when asked    “is 2012 the end of the world?” – What is there to worry about if the world is over, no worries he says!  Our real concerns are what to do with our problems plaguing us with the environment, poverty, famine, corruption, etc.  How easily we can be distracted from the main event!!! We can become so numb that we cannot see how our thoughts are distracting us from our real priorities to be effective in all aspects.  We rather contemplate doomsday prophecies than work on solutions to the real crises that plague us.  We are in general the type of being who lapse in our practices and fall ill or sick, time and time again.  We can become like the little baby who cries when pinched…because we ignored the information at the mental, emotional, energetic screens.

What does Sadhguru mean when he says…“then you may be equipped” ? Equipped to grow up towards: strength, health & well-being, compassion for self and others, higher creativity, mental clarity with ease, higher powers of intuition, successes in all endeavors, these follow once the equipment is in place.  The question I continually have for practitioners is are we doing hatha yoga for exercise?  When classical yoga is anaerobic not aerobic, one should not confuse the two and both activities are necessary for optimal health.  True hatha yoga is like stirring a pot of soup to mix the ingredients, to blend and marry the flavors evenly….after some time when we stop stirring the ladle in the pot the ingredients slow the revolutions until it comes to a dead stop….stillness.  Are we doing hatha yoga for energy cultivation and harmony then why stop the stirring before we are ready for a full stop?   Frankenstorm aka Sandy is stirring up lots…are we equipped to manage during the storm and equally important to handle the aftermath?  Namaste

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72 responses »

    • This question of how people are so easily able to lose track of their spirituality and yoga practice is something that I have experienced and often do not understand because I feel so good when I do yoga and eat well. For me it has been a mixture of being too busy in my everyday life or something like the storm, where i was unable to get proper excersice and lost my routine. Times like these are when I find myself to disconnect from from myself and my body. I guess everybodies goal should be no matter what happens in the world around us there should allways be a constant conciousness of being active and aware. I would like to use this blog to come back to when I feel like I am slipping away and hopefullly catch myself before getting taken over by emosssions and life. As I will finish school and work this January I am looking foward to concentrating on my body mind and spirit so as Sadhguru said I will be “equipped” for anything that comes my way. Thank you for sharing this inspired blog.

  1. This post is very eye opening. I too have seen myself slip away during times when it is not as easy to stay aware. I often wonder whether not taking yoga will make me lose my direction because missing a day of class or a weekly assignment veers me off course and I can see myself losing understanding. Although I constantly remind myself so that I don’t ever forget, it becomes harder to enforce in my mind when I am faced with people who do not grasp these concepts or feel the same way that I do. It is discouraging and saddening to face opposition and it is during these moments that I feel as though I need to turn to the practice or to this blog along with other useful sources on the internet. Because of things like this blog, I can see that other people feel the same way I do and they confirm many of the things I have realized on my own. Incidentally I have observed that I will have a realization and soon there after it will be the topic of the next reading basically indicating that I am right on track with my progress and I am making the right connections right on time.
    The main reason anyone ever loses sight of themselves is when they focusing too much on the things in the future that they cannot control. If there is no immediate solution, then time should not be spent dreading some pending doom that may or may not happen at all. If we stay connected to our understanding of awareness we can easily see how by making the future foreboding, we cannot enjoy the moment we have now. The only way to see to it that things go our way is by acting upon it and making it so.

    • Sadie Yogini, you have made-up one absence now by reviewing both of these posts! Try not to have any further absences to stay within your best grade for the course and enjoy your holidays. OM

  2. I can relate to this article immensely because I have anxiety disorder and am constantly focusing too much on the things that I cannot control as well as over thinking and making situations worse for myself. For me, I find myself going back and forth between good days and bad days; on bad days I lose sight of myself while I’m wrapped up in my own overwhelming thoughts, but on good days I can see myself for who I really am and can identify my irrational thinking. Although it shouldn’t be, it’s a challenge to enjoy each day for what it is rather than focusing on the future. Each day my focus is stay in touch with myself and control my thoughts, however I don’t always succeed. Rather than living in my thoughts, I must let go of things that I cannot control and work towards a happy lifestyle that I can ensure for myself on my own through my own proactive actions.

    • Emily, it is so powerful that you have been able to see yourself and identify these issues, you deserve recognition for this…now you can put your efforts towards developing new experiences to support your new direction, I wish you the best with all your goals, Namaste

  3. I think it is ironic indeed that only during what was projected to be a devastating hurricane did we finally find some sort of peace as a nation. We spend all our days running around and worrying about every little thing that pops up, which is extremely unhealthy. It was fantastic that the government, local authorities, etc. really stepped up to try to make Sandy go by as smoothly as possible while keeping the people as safe as possible. And, like you said, Sandy became a bonding time. My roommates and I stayed at school during the storm, and the school advised us not to sleep in our bedrooms because there are trees outside our windows. We all camped out in the living room, and for once had a chance to actually bond. We always spent our time doing schoolwork and going to our jobs that we realized this was the first chance we really got to sit down and just talk. It really turned what was an almost scary experience into a good one.

  4. I commented on this a few months ago but I see my comment in a whole new light. I describe being saddened or downtrodden by opposition or negativity. After reading over the article and my comment at this moment, I feel quite different about it. Yoga IS like stirring the pot because the energies are stirring and broadening more perspectives. But what happens when we are so occupied by the priorities of daily life and we lose track of our time to maintain our balance? We can stir the pot in other ways. We need not lose track of where we are because we can be compassionate to others and remind ourselves of what we are by also teaching others. Stirring the pot takes time, but if we are constantly aware and sharing our compassion with others, the pot may being to simmer.

  5. It is quite easy for one to fall “off course” in life, due to distractions such as other priorities like work, school, family, relationships, and so on. Yoga is such a great practice to promote wellness within one’s being. I have definitely noticed falters in my health due to the absence of yoga practice in my life. Early on in the semester, I was focused on yoga, and althought my friends have been sick, I remained healthy. As finals, work, and other stress took over, I lost sleep, adapted poor eating habits, and ultimately sacrificed my health. Focusing on a yoga practice is important, not only for the practice, but to maintain good health, and stay grounded. Strength, health, mental clarity, among other things will really guide to have more fulfilling lives.

    Megan Ong

  6. I find myself slipping off from the path fairly often in my life. I will be practicing yoga and feeling wonderful and eating right… but then I become bombarded with tasks, projects, and emotional turmoil within my personal life and it causes me to fall into a slump. This passage has been more than helpful in reminding me that I’m not doing anything wrong and that this sometimes happens and I just need to try a little harder. I know I have to focus on being my strongest self. That bit about having an inspirational text nearby to refer to and read often is something I do myself. I have a rather large picture of a Buddha Dordenma sculpture with cherry blossom trees growing freely behind it. On this picture is a quote by Confucius that reads,

    “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”

    I love this quote so much and I believe that it pertains to this so much in that both are urging us as practitioners of yoga to balance ourselves within the world, that even though external stimuli and issues will try to fight their way into our lives, it’s always best to slow down but never lose the flow of your yoga.

  7. I believe that veering off a course of positivity that the practice of yoga due to an unforeseen negative circumstance stems from a lack of routine. So much of one’s capability of handling those circumstances are because one is not taking effective preventative measures. When one’s mind, body, health, and spirit are in line, events that are particularly large and affecting seem less so, not because one is simply ignoring the issue and not dealing with them, but rather because one is on such a positive course that they are capable of handling the event in a way that does not veer them off course. I have not been practicing yoga for a long time at all, but I do have a particular set of rituals that keep me feeling good; a combination of medications which help to manage my mental health, eating regularly and healthy, stretching in the morning and at night, and going to the gym regularly. If I miss even one day of any of these, it can be very difficult for me to find the motivation to get back on course the next day. Slippages occur, life is not predictable and very rarely does it remain static. However, if I think about how great doing these rituals makes me feel, it becomes much easier to find this motivation; and in the end, I always end up feeling better.

    Anna Corbet

  8. I have terrible anxiety about social situations, especially about the way i will be perceived by others at wok, in class, even by strangers on the street. I go to great lengths to look like I have my life together, when in reality I feel like I’m always falling apart. The idea that this is the time when I need most to focus on myself makes sense but also intimidating. When I focus on myself, I feel the most vulnerable and have the strongest urge to keep to myself, but as said in the article, that is a time to look for support. To reset my thinking in this manner will not be an easy overnight process but it is one I need to take.

  9. Many moments in my life have caused me great stress, and usually I haven’t the slightest idea how to deal with them. I’ve had issues figuring out how to disperse my anger and sadness. From what brief experiences I’ve had doing yoga, and the little I’ve read about it, I really think it might be something that I need to keep doing in my life. The benefits it can provide to both physical and mental health make it something that I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to live without after this semester is over. Though I have very little experience with yoga and meditation as of now, I can already see what good they can bring my life.

    -Matthew Harris

  10. This post, to me, is incredibly important and really speaks to what I am working on currently in my life. Stepping into adulthood and working towards the goal of becoming self sufficient, self aware and self-caring is my main priority as I work to finish school on a strong note, keeping boundaries between friends and not allowing my energy to fall off the path, becoming absorbed by people and things that are vibrating on lower levels and need a pick-up. The notion of energetic cultivation is especially important in creating and maintaining a life that you are choosing to live. It is essential to continuing on a path that is best for you. Maintaining those boundaries with friends who are negative or having a hard time, and doing things not to save them constantly, not over assisting with someone else’s life but focusing on your needs and your life is crucial to having good days, creating good patters for good weeks and years. The endurance of your positioning, knowing yourself and maintaining your yoga practice instead of riding roller coasters or existing in states of turbulence, riding all the waves that pass through is the ultimate test and goal.

    I feel really strongly about this in terms of inner peace and balance which functions as information on it’s own as well as in terms of your yoga practice. Setting up behavioral patterns that ultimately help you, practicing on a schedule rain or shine is the key to maintained balance. Following your guidelines to live a life that works and is happy for you. Not living by someone else’s standards of happiness, beauty or life is what is really the glue that holds people in place. Not becoming discouraged and reaching out to the yogic community or a community of similar nature are all things one can do when feeling off balance. What yoga provides for people is amazing but forming it into a pattern is “יוצאת מן הכלל” which translates in Hebrew to outstanding, but is more beautifully expressed as “above the clouds”. I think this expression best relays the benefits of this pattern, because it is not larger than life, but it’s even better because it shapes your life.

  11. I resonate with this article, specifically in how it addresses how the outside world can affect your internal self. I find myself being thrown off my small interruptions that realistically have little consequence. Through years of immediately addressing these things as they come up, I have been able to regulate my energy. Something I’v noticed after practicing yoga, or meditating, is my sharp awareness of whats immediately in front of me. I feel connected to the earth and its happenings. This is similar to the mode I get in when resolving something by acknowledging the “mental, emotional, and energetic screens”. Its difficult to direct your attention to all of this at once, as something is disrupting your energy, however it is possible. I feel like yoga and reflection are a way of directing your attention towards the inner self in order to have a peaceful relationship with the outside world. Once you cultivate this, you can be kind and compassionate, which in turn affects larger cultural institutions that operate in an otherwise negative way.

  12. I had always considered yoga primarily in terms of what it does to and for the body. I imagine deep breathing and stretches. This post widens that view and speaks to how yoga is also an exercise for the mind as well. Yoga as a tool for centering, focusing and calming the mind moves past the meditation itself and into daily life. The effect of yoga therefore isn’t just improved health but an improved outlook, calmness and mindfulness.

    I also think that outside yoga it is important to supplement this. The internet isn’t often thought of as a tool for relaxation, focus and inner peace but I appreciate that it makes so much information available to us.

    I appreciate that yoga helps move us beyond thinking about our bodies and our minds alone – as the pinched baby does. Yoga also helps, I think, in widening that outlook eventually including our community and world. I think the tools with which yoga can equip us are physical tools but primarily mental tools. Focus, calmness and mindfulness, clarity, strength and vigor are even more necessary today than when Sadghuru said his quote. Though we have these skills naturally, like muscles I suppose they need to be worked to be strengthened. I hope yoga and meditation help me towards finding those things and extending them into daily life.

  13. …The science of yoga essentially means this – even a little baby, if you pinch him, he will cry because he can feel his body. But he may not be able to feel his thoughts and emotions to start with: he can just feel his body. So the body is the first thing he feels. The journey of yoga is to take you from the body to different dimensions of who you are, to the ultimate core….in that sense…then you may be equipped.” – Sadhguru

    I think what Sadhguru means by “then you may be equipped” is that feeling of being one with your soul and body. When you allow yourself to feel all the emotions. It’s when you don’t deny yourself from exploring every fiber of your being. Though I haven’t practiced Yoga for a long time, so far I have realized how much more in touch I feel with my soul AND body. Practicing yoga gives me the freedom to be myself in many different ways. I can explore many parts of myself that I’ve never explored before. I enjoy silence more.

    I also think that being “equipped” means being ready to take on new things. It’s having the strength to concur any obstacles in your life. Being equipped it’s not something that comes easy. I think that the more you practice yoga, and the more you allow yourself to be one with your soul and body is when you can start feeling equipped. It’s a process that we have to continue practicing. We can’t give up on ourselves. This inspires me to continue practicing yoga, and do my best to give it my all when I am practicing.

  14. Your note on the difference between aerobic yoga and anaerobic yoga resonated with me. It has always been clear to me how important breathing is in the practice of yoga, however I have never had the instruction to properly teach me the extent of controlling my breathing in order to better my practice and my overall health. Exercising in general is usually very taxing on me or I am not motivated to keep a regular habit of it precisely because of my inability to control and strengthen my breathing techniques. I found our lesson on breathing through various areas of the body (breathing through the nostrils versus through the diaphragm or heart, versus the toes, etc) enlightening, and am excited to further my understanding of breathing techniques in meditation.

    Sadhguru’s teaching that “the journey of yoga is to take you from the body,” is still something I struggle to fully comprehend, however I anticipate that my future meditations will clarify the journey being mentioned here.

  15. I believe that it is difficult to go through life without being worried all the time about our situations. We all have so many stressors that are difficult to comprehend and handle. For this reason, it is important for people to take a break and find an outlet. Yoga is, of course, one of the greatest ways to do this. Yoga helps promote health, and mindfulness. Because of my schedule, I have the longest day on Mondays and it tires and stresses me out to have a job and take so many classes. Even the weekend can feel like too much to handle because there are always people to meet, places to goal, and homeworks and assignments to do. Yoga at the end of the day helps me feel relaxed and thoughtful about myself and my life and helps me maintain my health through reducing my stress and promoting clarity and a healthier life.

  16. I thought it was interesting and very true about how when people start out doing yoga, they feel a strong and immediate sense of peace and tranquility, perhaps because this practice really does focus on self-care, unlike a lot of our daily tasks and work we do in our lives. And I do believe it is true that it does weaken if we don’t continue to practice it. I’ve been doing yoga on and off my entire life because my mother was a yoga instructor for many years and yoga was prevalent in my upbringing. But because of life circumstances, I became busy and never really progressed in my practices. But I do believe if we give ourselves the time to practice yoga, it will be super beneficial to us in the long term.

  17. I found this article to be striking. One statement stuck out to me the most.

    “When we give up on ourselves we are allowing everything else to have power over us.”

    This statement is exactly correct. We have all been through this situation which can bring a great amount of negative energy to the body. It’s interesting to see how people cope with negative energy in their everyday lives. Although I don’t incorporate the practice of yoga into my life, reading this article made me understand more why yoga is a beneficial path to keep in one’s lives to increase positivity in the mind and eliminating negative distractions.

    “The journey of yoga is to take you from the body, to different dimensions of who you are, to the ultimate core….in that sense…then you may be equipped.”

    This quote from Sadhguru left me asking many questions. I found it a bit hard to fully understand but I know with more practice I will hopefully be able to understand the idea of yoga taking you from the body.

  18. It is within this regard that I feel I am falling into Yoga quite nicely. I very much enjoy the states of relaxation that I find myself in at different points throughout the exercise. I find that there are quite a bit of little miscellaneous assignments that I must complete throughout the week and, recently, the yoga has proved itself to be a nice escape. I have had a great night sleep after every class and I have been waking up quite early every day, which is not usual for me.

    It’s interesting this post brings up Sandy because it very much affected and still does to this day. It has never had a huge toll on my well being, personally I have come to see it as more of a blessing in disguise. I am interested in how taking yoga, during the time in my life, would have affected me though.

    The most thoughtful part of this post is how you bring up letting our minds get cluttered with priorities. We let immediate problems stack on top of already existing situations and our thought process obtains tunnel vision. Letting our minds free with relaxation can really put someone in perspective and help them remember what is really important.

  19. This post was written in 2012 but I feel like the bit about natural disasters and being distracted by them, relieving our attention of the problems that we are truly facing is so relevant. Today we have so many more distractions than even then. We don’t need a giant natural disaster to keep us from looking away from the problem. Now, the very people creating the problem are the ones distracting us. Whether it be with “fake news” or bringing up something else inconsequential to take our attention away.
    It will be interesting to see how yoga helps me look past those distractions. Perhaps that is what being “equipped” is all about for me. You asked, what does it mean, I guess it changes for everyone. “Each to his own” as the idiom goes. I’m hoping yoga will equip me with the ability to see past my own distractions, help me really hone in on what it is I should be doing on that specific day, that week or even what I should be doing that year. I could see it helping on a grand scale as well as a smaller scale.
    As I’m looking to graduate there are many things that stand in my way to do before I can, I have a feeling this class will offer a moment of release from those thoughts and then I can look at the problems with a fresh mind and get rid of those that weren’t important and merely taking me away from the real issues I should attend to.

    -Laskaris

  20. Being new to yoga, the benefits of it are already surprisingly obvious to me. Aside from feeling that I’m standing taller and experiencing milder back pain, it has already shown to be a positive aspect for my mental health. Although I am not addicted to social media, the news media has been getting under my skin lately, making it extremely difficult to turn off and even to sleep some nights. I don’t believe I should be ignoring it, but I know it is not healthy to constantly be consuming it. Going into yoga, I knew that this would be one things I would like to address- learning how to turn my brain off. After my first three yoga classes, I didn’t look at the news once, which took very little effort because I felt no anxiety to do so. Furthermore, when going into the third class, I had just moments before left an extremely anxiety-ridden situation. Leaving yoga that day, I did not feel that anxiety. I actually was thinking about the whole situation clearer than I was going into the class. I did not worry about it during the class, because I was focusing on my breathing. My mind still wonders here and there to things that I should be letting go of, which I now know will improve with time, but for the first time in my life, I have been able to let go of a situation while being in the mists of it, and that gives me motivation to continue with this practice seriously, in class and outside of it on my own time, and even after the course is over.

  21. I very much enjoyed this passage and identified with many of the conflicts that you addressed in it. I find a very interesting and insightful reoccurring theme in this passage that reflects my own personal journey that has now intersecting with this passage and class. This theme is the absence of a threshold of happiness, balance, inner-peace and confidence that is ever-lasting once achieved. Nothing is ever-lasting, not even this very planet. One does not entirely overcome their deeply rooted insecurities and experiences that have altered their perception of life and who they are. Emotions and experiences that live within the darkest depths of you remain always but to let them shadow your experience of life narrows your focus only unto yourself and contradicts the social creature that humans are. I am a prime example as someone who can’t help but let the several heartbreaking events that have occurred in my life that have heavily weighed on me to eclipse the good that makes living so rich and meaningful. To push past these dark forces is an active and conscious effort that takes effort but eventually gets easier or in your words eventually cultivates energy of the healing kind. To give up on yourself takes more energy than to keep believing and this is even emblemed in our very physical structure as it takes much less physical effort to smile than to frown. Yoga operates in the same manner, as the practice should be consistently practiced to maintain conscious living.
    I think the themes you address in this passage are not limited to the practice of yoga and is wisdom for every kind of person. In this political climate it is very often seen the humans to which are self-focused and can’t bring themselves to live outside of themselves and see another human’s perspective. They must feel so low of themselves to think so lowly of another because of arbitrary and hurtful criteria. Emotions and, especially, self-love are rarely promoted and we are grown to deny our feelings and raised under the complex expectation to need validation in others other than ourselves meanwhile simultaneously expected to not reveal that we need it. You emphasize this when you say that we not only need other people but we need “our yoga”. I interpreted this as we need time and space to find the deepest roots of understanding and love for ourselves that we often don’t give ourselves the time to do which the practice of yoga beautifully promotes.
    On the contrary to the passage, the issue of not worrying about heart wrenching issues such as poverty, oppression, famine etc…is actually primarily at the forefront of my sense of worry and helplessness that I feel at times. As an anthropology and media, society and the arts major, as well as an artist passionate about activism and helping others I find that at the forefront of my dark emotions is the constant reminder of our political climate and how the President has done everything in his power to damage the lives of de-franchised groups. I don’t think that it is necessarily a bad thing but I think it is interesting in how the passage reflects a complex and fluid mixture of so many similarities as well as differences. Also different to the passage’s philosophy of people expanding there understanding of their bodies to that of their minds, internal infrastructure and emotions, I feel as if I have a firm grasp on all of those personal elements other than my physical body. I find that with the practice of yoga in and outside of class, I am almost getting to understand and know my body better, tapping into the language of movement and physical feeling that my muscles have been whispering to me since they could.

    • I personally do not practice yoga to run away from realities especially the stark bitter realities. Rather, I keep to my practice to keep myself aware, open, strong, receptive so that I may be able to identify truth from un-truth, when to act and not, to have courage to speak for those who cannot advocate for themselves….in short my yoga keeps me vital and able and I would be less affective if I did not keep my practice. Thanks for another well written essay, Namaste
      (have you seen 13th, a documentary?)

  22. My mother always tell me “when it rains, it pours.” That applies to anyone’s life. When we are overbooked, when there is family drama or illness, or heartbreak, it can appear to all come running at us at once. Of course, the irony is that during these times are when we need to be more mindful and respectful to ourselves. When school or work or life gets overwhelming, I’m guilty of putting my mind and body on hold. At the same time, I definitely face negative consequences for this, and at some point, I find myself in a vicious cycle that can be challenging to get out of. I hope this class and my commitment can help to start a true habit of self care for me.

  23. Maybe there’s an aspect of habit-forming involved? For many people, the amount of repetition it takes to create a habit can be very high, and remembering to do the things that help you to care for your physical and mental wellbeing are not always easy. Physical exercise is something that our society places more of an emphasis on, so it can be easier for a person, particularly someone who draws on their social environs for motivation, to keep up with. Society doesn’t tend to encourage emotional self-care in nearly the same way, so when faced with pressures from school, work, family, and friends, we find it easier to neglect ourselves than take the time to cultivate a healthy degree of contact and comfort with our inner lives. We are in the habit of allowing our mental health to take a back seat. If we don’t have the framework of self-care in place, that habit easily overwhelms the newer, harder habit of reflection and mindfullness.
    I’ve noticed that society is beginning to change. The zeitgeist is still full of chatter adulating staying up too late and drinking five coffees before ten AM, but there’s also discussion of catharsis, on the acceptance of one’s own feelings, and on the necessity of sometimes taking time for oneself.

  24. This post helped define the true purpose of hatha yoga, which makes forgetting about everything that is typically on my mind easier. I do often get overwhelmed by my thoughts and duties, making accomplishing everything I need to get done very difficult. Taking some time to focus only on my breathing, or a simple phrase, allows me to relax and refocus after practicing yoga and prioritize what needs to be done immediately and what can wait. I find that many of the looming deadlines or tasks that stressed me out are not actually so difficult to meet after practicing yoga, and I can more effectively focus on what needs to be done in that moment. I also focus on large issues that I really have no control over, and forget to pay close attention to the minor things that I can do to benefit myself or those close to me. I especially like the concept of cultivating energy. Long days at work and school are very draining, and incorporating something into my daily routine that helps restore some of that depleted energy makes my day much less overwhelming and exhausting. Feeling less stressed and tired has a very positive impact on my physical and mental health, and hopefully I can maintain my focus on these aspects of hatha yoga so as not to let everything else have power over me.

  25. The question you’ve posed regarding how yoga affects one’s mental state has really stuck with me. In a time of such turmoil when bigotry and hatred seem to be more prevalent than ever with the internet perpetually within our grasp, it would almost seem odd if people weren’t stressed and uncomfortable. Through a constant practice of yoga, and coming in contact with our true yogic selves, we can try to maintain the balance you touch on in this passage; that of happiness, balance inner peace, and consciousness. Like you stated however, this balance isn’t permanent but to be fair, most things in this universe are not. This is why one must maintain a level of consistency with their yogic routine, and incorporate their newfound “wholeness” into their daily interactions with the outside world. Through just the few weeks Ive been doing yoga, I’ve noticed a fairly dramatic change in my relaxation and over all calmness in my every day life.

  26. I think self care is incredibly important, especially in our current political climate. When one becomes too fixated on trying to take action in situations related to the outside world, what can happen is they can forget to care for themselves at all. This is true for all aspects of life. Our society (and capitalism in general) attributes a particular value to time, as long as its considered productive in terms of what you accomplish externally (ex working for money) but fails to attribute that same value to things you accomplish internally. They way you treat yourself dictates the way you can function out in the world, and to me, these things are all inextricably linked, so I really find importance in self care and nourishment.

  27. People are the type of being that often focus on the problem rather then the solution. At first, I though that Hatha Yoga is aerobic. However, it was a totally different activity after taking the first class. It was amazing that I could actually feel the benefit of relaxation not only the body, but the mind. People often facing numerous of stress and obstacles in their everyday life. However, seldom there are people really thinking about the solution of stress beside solving the problems one by one. Hatha Yoga let me able to lower the stress in my mind and body. Therefore, it is similar to the boost for everyday life enhancing the energy inside the body. The exercise combining meditation with stretching. One for the mind and the other for the body. This article is pretty beneficial, which I would constantly check when I feel lost in my life. Thank you

    Jesse Lee

  28. Leah Ashton-Facin

    I found the metaphor of stirring the soup very profound to describe the practice of hartha yoga. It takes time to blend all of these ingredients and aspects of the yoga to achieve the full self-discovery and truths of yoga. I think that this relates to the aspect of why to do yoga in the first place. The energy cultivation or health benefits are just a side effect of a greater ideological path. The effects that are not just simply health are still very important benefits to take into consideration. I think that with our materialistic capitalist culture it is difficult sometimes to see the benefits of things other than material or aesthetic. Also within the metaphor of the soup the expectation for instant gratification can also be an issue with this practice. The soup takes time in order to fully incorporate. I think that the patience and idea of slowly achieving all of the things that make you equipped is a valuable lesson within itself. This also adds to the idea of living within the present moment and having time to understand the inner self. I think that all of these things are important when examining the practice of hartha yoga, at least in my own interpretation.

  29. I very often struggle to find successful and healthy ways to cope with my anxiety and depression. Although Sadhguru is speaking of elevating our consciousness to a higher level than our bodies, his quote also spoke to me in the sense that it is much simpler to recognize, acknowledge, and try to heal the ailments of the body while those of the mind can often elude us. To recognize the necessity for a healthy change in your thoughts, habits, and life, are really the first steps towards becoming happy and healthy. It is clear that practicing yoga can offer many positive benefits for the body, mind, and spirit, but the challenge is to be determined and consistent in practice. I look forward to introducing it into my life.

  30. I too find it interesting how in times of fear and big storms that could turn into disasters people get together and stay with their families. I wish people were better to themselves.
    I fall victim to helping everyone around me before myself, and it’s something that brings me great pleasure (the resolution of conflicts, the resolution of hurt and emotional burden upon ones’ self) but also great grief.
    I’ve found most of my days are spent taking care of others, and not myself, though I do take time out of my day to at least meditate (saying “sorry, I’m about to do the Isha Kriya for today!” has brought me a nice escape from those around me). However, I still do not feel 100% when I go to sleep, for even at the end of my day (I stay up late, usually until 1:00am as I am a night owl when I don’ have a morning class) I am still being texted and messaged about others problems, asking for my advice.
    I feel I should reiterate that I do, in fact, find great joy from helping others. I never have time for me, and I wish I could help others but also have more than just my Isha Kriya throughout the day.
    This article really made me think about the above listed points. I’ll be looking into freeing myself up, and I hope I will be successful in doing so.

  31. Yoga is beneficial to the mind, body and spirit but sometimes its uses are taken out of context. Reading this passage I am reminded the true purpose for Hatha Yoga and the links between physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga helps us get aligned on all levels through our most tangible selves — the body. The world we exist in operates on a physical realm and it’s so easy to get carried away with just the concerns of the body and nothing else. We are not perfect and it so easy to slip out of balanced when you are focused on other things that don’t aid to your alignment.

    Yoga is a journey. I don’t believe that it ever ends. In growth there is always another stage, another chapter and so on and so on. I don’t think there is a point where you ever stop. Just like with anything, in order to get better, you must practice. It’s easy to forget what you have learned when you are not practicing it. Yoga practice does not only involve what we do on the floor mat but also how we take these lessons learned during class and infiltrate them into other areas of our lives. That’s what it means when Sadhguru says equipped. If we are practicing routinely, we can recognize crisis before it happens. Small issues that crescendo into bigger problems are stopped at its inception. We are able to tackle what life brings us and willing to go through hurdles with the security that practice brings. Practice is entirely about getting the perfect pose but going beyond the movements of limbs to expand ourselves in a much deeper way.

  32. As a college student, I very often find myself stressed about grades, money, social anxieties, and work. I have made a vow to myself to make my physical and mental health a priority over everything else this semester. I have been staying active, eating clean, getting sleep, and going to counseling. However, self care is easier said than done, as stress naturally finds its way into my mind unknowingly. This hatha yoga class is making my goal a lot easier. Although I am a beginner to this practice, the tools I am learning have already helped me to “cultivate energy” in a healthy way. I am able to push the frantic racing thoughts of due dates, expenses, etc away, clear my mind, and realize the bigger picture that I am a safe being of this universe. Having this strong grasp on my mind gives me the ability to later go back to my responsibilities in a clearer, calmer way. Hatha yoga also connects me to my body, making me aware of my body’s abilities and how each part connects to my core self. I hope to gain a strong control of my mind and body through this practice and bring these tools with me even after the semester ends so that I always possess an inner peace.

  33. I truly believe that hatha yoga and yoga in general is not only good for your body and body functions but also helps with your spiritual well being. That being said, sticking to a yoga practice isn’t always easy. I feel like other things in your life a lot of the time takes over and your practice can sometimes be pushed to the side or forgotten. I have been doing yoga sporadically for many years in my life, but inconsistently and irregular. I am happy that I am taking this class and will hopefully help me to get into a rhythm that I can use for the rest of my life.

  34. Surrounding oneself with uplifting and inspirational texts can be a reminder of the important things in life. On social media, that is something I practice. I follow and am inspired by others who have similar interests and do things that I also do. Yoga, spiritual awakening, nutrition, and practice, these are all types of accounts i follow in order for them to inspire me to keep striving towards the life I want to live. I would love to become a certified yoga instructor one day in order to spread the benefit of yoga to a community I can create where there may not have been one before.
    I strive to be a source of light for others, as well as myself, driven by compassion and love. In the above article i liked the note of coming together as a unit during hard times like hurricane Sandy. I believe this unity occurs when something so disastourous occurs and peoples instincts come out. In nature humans are compassionate and deep down just want to give and receive love.

  35. One thing I found very interesting about this post is the quote from Sadhguru. I often think about this before going into my yoga sessions. I think about what I want to achieve out of my session, and that’s usually to leave my body and focus on what really matters in my day-to-day life. I know that If I’m feeling my body too much or thinking about the uncomfortable position I might be in instead of my spiritual self, my mind wasn’t properly prepared for hatha.

    I also think that the section one this blog that speaks on keeping texts/online resources close to you is important. I gain so much in terms of subconscious knowledge and small mindset changes. It becomes a form of meditation itself, consuming information full of rich perspective, especially when you can relate to the source on a personal or spiritual level.

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