Connect with health, meaningfulness and joy with yoga
Take the next step in your yoga practice. By Swami Sivadasananda
Reading time: 5 minutes
The simplicity of asanas is marvellous. Move through an easy sequence of poses and counter-poses and allow gravity to release muscle tension. Morning practice is invigorating. Visiting your yoga mat in the evening brings poise and creativity to the concluding hours of the day.
Pranayama, the yogic art of breathing, activates your respiratory muscles and expands your vital capacity. Through progressive breath holding, the nervous system is recharged. Conscious breathing improves your attention span.
Meditation helps to develop a new awareness in daily life: conscious observation, conscious speech, conscious eating, conscious walking, conscious giving. Mantra meditation relieves the mind of accumulated thoughts. Chanting the mantras or universal sound syllables is the easiest way to begin. Repeating a mantra mentally fills the mind with silence and inner peace.
Appease your hunger for a balanced diet. The conclusions of modern nutritional research are very supportive of the dietary principles of yoga. Learn from the traditional knowledge of the main body constitutions. Leave out three items which do not suit you and add three new ones which are meant for your constitution. You will be amazed at the increase in your wellbeing.
Meditation helps to develop a new awareness in daily life: conscious observation, conscious speech, conscious eating, conscious walking, conscious giving.
Self-practice at home: No doubt, it takes self-discipline to start. Find inspiration and guidance from a book or online. Body and mind are as much your home as the house or flat in which you live. Yoga increases energy and balance in your body and mind and bring a more positive outlook to your life at home.
Find a deeper connection in common practice. Share yoga with people from different walks of life. The common space and synchronised practice enhance the group atmosphere. Observing the self-effort of fellow practitioners can give a boost to your own motivation.
Make yoga a self-study project. Choose from the great variety of yoga literature: practical instructions, lifestyle advice, testimonials, the fascinating results of scientific research, commentaries of classical texts such as the Patanjali Yoga Sutras or the Bhagavad Gita, biographies of yoga masters and much more. As your thirst for knowledge is being quenched, more thirst for personal practice is awakened.
Teachings and the teacher: Yoga is time proven. Like the flame of a candle, it constantly renews itself. In the presence of an experienced teacher, doubts are cleared, and the next step for your yoga practice emerges. Gradually, you learn to trust your own intuition. A true teacher lives in the awareness of being a student of his or her own teacher. This is how the teacher can connect you to the venerable lineage of the yoga tradition.
Share yoga, share hope: Training as a yoga teacher is a life time experience. It prepares you to awaken the awareness for health, meaningfulness, and joy in others. When you sit with a group of students and guide them in asanas, pranayama, relaxation and meditation, yoga becomes a living universal presence for you.
There are many paths to the top of a mountain. The variety of teaching systems and approaches adds to the beauty of yoga. Choose what inspires you. What counts is practice. As you move a bit higher up on the mountain, the vision of unity in diversity emerges.
Swami Sivadasananda is one of the acharyas and senior teachers of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres in Europe and teaches on the Sivananda Yoga Teachers’ Training Courses worldwide. He is author of The Sivananda Beginners Guide to Yoga and Yoga – Your Home Practice Companion and shares a free online asana/pranayama workshop ‘Fire of yoga’ on intermediate level every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Everyone is welcome. Visit: sivanandalondon.org or sivananda.eu