How to live my life to the fullest?

how to live life fullest

Are you observing life in mute on a TV Screen or
are you fully immersed in this moment,
this very moment when life is happening around you?

How can I fully be immersed?

For starters
just BREATHE

Close your eyes

Take one full breath
feel the air going in from nostrils to your lungs

This very impulse of life,
this feeling of being alive,
this breath
is travelling through you now

Exhale and let go of all worries, anxieties and
tensions for the moment

Feel the air leaving your body and
merging with the world around you

Feel the connection you have every moment
with everything living around you

Do this 5 times

Be one with everything around you and
at the same time

Go inwards into that place

that place of quiet
that place of calm
that place of bliss
which is always inside you

Now open your eyes

Extend your hands and arms out and
take in the world in your embrace

Feel the rain,
feel the sunshine,
feel the snow

Feel Existence

Celebrate that You are Alive
Right now
in this very moment



What is advanced yoga?

As a teacher, I often get this question from students: How do I do Advanced Yoga?

There is a wrong understanding in the very question itself

Lets first understand what the word “advanced” means to most of us

For us, it means Doing more
If you are a beginner at cooking, you may make 10 items, when you get advanced you will make 100 items

If you are a beginner in sports, you may score 100 runs or goals. As an advanced player, you score 1000 runs or goals

This mindset carries over to Yoga also.

As a beginner I know 10 asanas as an advanced student I should know 100 asanas

In addition to this, there is an expectation of rising difficulty.
It gets more difficult to play with advanced players. It’s difficult to cook an advanced disk.

And hence in Yoga, more “difficult” the asana is, more it is assumed to be advanced.

This goes against the very definition of asana given by Patanjali in Yoga sutras ie sthir sukham asanam or only a steady and easy pose qualifies to be an asana

In fact, the very next sutra says “prayatna shaithilyam” ie effort should be relaxed

Advanced in Yoga is more about intensely experiencing the Self than doing more

From Human doing to Human being

Our doing is a rajas activity which is driven by our desires and hunger for more and more.

Our being is sattvic where stillness and equilibrium are the main qualities

The more you experience calmness, stillness, more intense the experience is and more the advanced practice is

The sole aim of asana, pranayama and kriyas was the yogi wanted a still physical and physiological system so that he could direct and hold his attention on the inner world for as long as he could hold.

If we don’t intend to be yogis and want Yoga for well being and health, then this advanced approach should appeal to us even more.

Our life is full of distractions where our senses and mind run behind the next exciting idea or task.

At the end of the day, we feel drained and tired and we accept this as a fact of life.

An advanced yoga practice should create a calm and still mind on demand.

When you can summon this mental state at will,
you can rejuvenate and re-energize your physical, physiological and psychical system at will and on demand.

This is how advanced yoga helps regular householders like us.

After all, we all seek happiness and peace in life.

Both are mental states which already exist inside us.

An advanced yoga practice should help us access these mental states on demand any time anywhere.

Ask yourself:

Is your yoga practice advanced to deliver these experiences to you?

Kriya Yoga Yoga Sutra Chapter 2 Sutra 1

Tapah svadhyaya Isvarapranidhanani Kriya yogah

English Translation: Austerity or Self-Discipline, Self-study through study of scriptures and Complete surrender to Ishvara (God) is Yoga of Action (Kriya Yoga)

Sage Patanjali outlines an alternative method of Yoga where the practice of these three elements, Tapa, Svadhyaya and Ishvara Pranidhana leads to what he terms as Kriya Yoga.

Tapa:

Tapa has various meanings, but in this context, we will take it as Self-Discipline through Austerities. Tapa can be done at three levels: Kayik (Bodily), Vachik (In Speech) and Manasik (Mental).

Svadhyaya:

Svadhyaya means Self-study that is Self with the capital letter S. What does that mean? It means understanding the true nature of Self or Consciousness. Hence, a scripture which leads to understanding the difference between our conditioned self and our true Self is the correct Svadhyaya. It also means repetition of sacred mantras

Ishvara Pranidhana:

It means complete surrender to Isvara or God. Patanjali has defined Ishvara in Chapter 1 as the perfect role model. Hence, we can interpret Isvara as God or Consciousness or any form of Higher Reality whose universal presence we acknowledge as superior to ourselves. Ishvara Pranidhana means the complete surrender of our actions or the surrender of the desire for the fruits of the actions.

Objective:

Objective of Kriya Yoga is to help the intermediate student (madhyam adhikari) experience trance consciousness (samadhi) by reducing Kleshas

The primary purpose of Yoga is to reduce the kleshas. Kleshas are the structural defects of the mind.

How does this work? Lets take an example. Suppose you get angry quickly and you have realized that this is not good.

Yoga tells us that Anger comes from the feeling of hatred (Dvesha) towards something or someone.

Kriya Yoga hence tells us that you need to reduce Dvesha if you need to reduce the times you get angry.

If your habitual reaction is to yell and scream, the first step would be Tapa. Here, you may decide to keep quiet before reacting immediately. This keeping quiet is called mauna (silence)

As one keeps quiet, first you hear your own angry thoughts eg “how can that person speak like this? how dare they do these things?” etc slowly you realize that you are not the thoughts. You are just observing the thoughts. This gives you a glimpse of being an “observer”. Maybe you notice your state of mind and say “this is peaceful vs where I was just a few mins back” Maybe you say “what is it like to be permanently in this state?” These observations, reflections and hopefully the realization of being an observer is Self Study or Svadhyaya.

Kriya Yoga urges us to take the next step and surrender the fruits of this observation to Ishvara or God or Higher Reality. The rationale is that if you don’t, it may lead to the wrong conclusion that all that you achieve is solely due to your efforts when the reality is that so many have played their part in making you successful. This surrender is Ishvar Pranidhan.

While Sage Patanjali suggested Kriya Yoga to the intermediate student, I find its application even to beginners provided they are ready to act with faith.

Do you feel you can apply this in your life? If yes, where would you? Do share in your comments.

If you want to make understand more about Yoga Sutras, I have an online course where every week I uncover one sutra at a time and discuss its application in daily life. Click on link here if you are interested -> (Yoga Psychology)

How to sleep better with a 5 mins routine

sleep yoga routine

You are tossing and turning in the bed trying to sleep.

“I must sleep, I must sleep.” you tell yourself but it’s not working

Instead, you are hosed with thoughts like a fire hydrant gushing water and your mind is like that small child which is jumping around in that water.

And you are the stern parent telling the child “Stop jumping, come inside and stop playing around”

The child is still jumping.

What do you do?5 Mins Routine to better sleep

Research says that more than 60% of adults are suffering from sleep deprivation. Not only that sleep deprivation is affecting your health and wealth. First, its insidious effects work on your attention span then, your circulatory system (read heart problems) and then, your nervous system (read agitated, distracted)

Great, what should I do?

The child needs an activity and we give it. But, one which helps to quieten it.

Here is the step by step process:

Continue reading “How to sleep better with a 5 mins routine”