The Path of Yoga

The Yoga Path
“If flexibility were the secret to yoga, certainly contortionists would be the greatest Yogi's and Yogini's. Regrettably, this is not the case,” Yogi Baba Prem.

Most people when the word yoga is mentioned the first thing that comes to mind is asana practice, but asana practice is only a small part of the practice of yoga.

In Yoga Sutra 1:2 Patanjali states: Chitta vritti nirodha. Chitta is the mind, vrittis are the thought waves, and nirodha is stillness. Yoga is about stilling the mind and reaching Self-realization. To achieve Yoga we need wisdom to be aware. We have to especially be aware and mindful when chasing desires.  We have strong desires that create the illusions of happiness. When we think that if I do this or that to be happy, we are still chasing desires and our energy will flow out. When we realize that chasing our desires don’t bring true happiness we come to a point of frustration. This is when it is time to make the effort to sit and meditate. Meditate is a more important practice than doing asanas.

Patanjali also gives us the Sanskrit word Abhyasa, which means consistent practice without a break. It means that we have to make an effort to meditate everyday using techniques such as mantras, focusing the eyes in a mudra, and keeping the body and mind still. It takes many years or life times to still the mind because the mind is like a wild monkey that has been stung by a scorpion and took a shot of whiskey. You have to develop your inner voice to be strong enough to bring the mind back to the point of focus, and to bring the mind back with no judgment. No one is going to wave a magic wand over you to make it happen. You have to make the effort, which takes a lot of work.

The mind will tell us not to meditate today and that same mind is the cause of our problems. There has to be determination, which happens when we are fed-up with suffering. It is OK to be aware of suffering because that is a sign of wisdom. There has to be awareness when we are in the world because most of the time we are in a state of frustration.  In a state of dense suffering one does not feel the state of suffering. For example, if you were injected with morphine and your arm was cut off you are not going to feel that because of being in a dense state of tamas (dullness and depression). Our practice feeds into sattva and increases the sattva guna giving us peace and harmony. 
Once we start obtaining sattva, raja guna will start to alleviate.  We then don’t want to go back to the rajasic state of mind. We get caught in the web of maya (illusion), which is a state of insanity. We think we are something we are not. Yoga is about stilling the mind and experiencing something beyond the minds vrittis. Saturate your mind with the wisdom of the beautiful teaching of Yoga. The Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita is a great place to start.

Don’t get frustrated when you start the practice of meditation, it takes time to get the mind and body to be still. We have never ending desires and none of them ever satisfies us. Desires will never end and they never bring us satisfaction. The cause of our suffering is desires. Our culture tells us we will find happiness in pursuing our desires. Consume-Consume-Consume.  We are constantly getting hit with ads to fulfill our desires and this will make us happy, beautiful, younger looking, sexier, etc. This is all an illusion.  Happiness comes from within. The more you absorb your mind in the Yogic practices the more your mind will become peaceful (sattva) and you will take your mind out of the world of rajas (agitation).