Jaggi Vasudev, also known as Sadhguru is headed to Seattle, Wash. this October 5th. Sadhguru, a non-traditional yogi and mystic of our time, is a humanitarian and spiritual leader. He is known as a contemporary Guru, rooted as strongly in mundane and pragmatic matters as he is in inner experience and wisdom.

Sadhguru is the most unusual guru that many will encounter. He makes a clear departure from customs and rituals and promotes scientific methods for direct and powerful self-transformation. Belonging to no particular tradition, Sadhguru incorporates and presents yogic sciences that are most valid for the contemporary life.

Traversing seamlessly from the ancient to the ultramodern, Sadhguru bridges the gap between the known and the unknown, enabling all those who encounter him to explore and experience the deepest dimensions of life.

Sadhguru is names as one of India’s 50 most influential people. He has addressed prominent global forums on issues as diverse as socio-economic development, leadership and spirituality. He has served as delegate to the United Nations Millennium Peace Summit and the World Peace Congress and has been a special invitee to the World Economic Forum (2006-2009), the Australian Leadership Retreat (2006) and TED (2009).

Sadhguru founded the Isha Foundation – a non-isha foundation sadhgurureligious, not-for-profit organization with over 200 centers worldwide and over one million volunteers.

Isha Foundation implements several large-scale human service projects. Action for Rural Rejeuvenation offers free medical care for under-served rural communities, Isha Vidhya provides schools to underprivileged children and Project GreenHands prevents and reverses environmental degradation. The Foundation’s efforts have earned it special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Project_GreenHands isha foundation plant trees
Volunteer of the Isha Foundation planting saplings.

In 2006, Project GreenHands planted 856,000 trees with the help of over 250,000 volunteers in a single day, earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

While newcomers are first tempted to take up yoga for a variety of reasons, many people begin by attempting to master yoga’s physical postures, asanas, in search of health benefits – weight loss, strength, balance, and of course flexibility. However, while yoga practice can indeed bring about all these benefits, yoga offers so much more than just the possibility to finally touch your toes, stay healthy, and break habits! Sadhguru, founder of Isha Foundation, and one of the foremost authorities on yoga, offers a deeper insight into health and wellness.

We had an opportunity to interview Sadhguru before his arrival to Seattle, Wash. Read below to gain insight on health and habits from this modern day guru!

SYN: How do you recommend people approach health? What are the things we should be doing regularly?

Sadhguru: “Fundamentally, the word “health” comes from the root word “whole.” So what we call “feeling healthy” means that we have a sense of wholeness in us. Medically, a person may be free of diseases, but that is only one part of health. When you feel like a complete human being in your body, mind and spirit, then you can be fully healthy. So there are any number of people who are healthy by medical standards, but unless they experience that sense of wellness from within, they are still lacking something. If human beings have to experience this sense of wholeness, this sense of wellness within themselves, it is important that their ody, mind and above all their energies function at a certain level of intensity.

Let’s say a man is walking down the street. If you look at the way he walks, you clearly know whether his body is well­ exercised or not. The very way he strides, you can tell. Similarly, if you look at his face, you can see whether his mind is well­ exercised. There are also ways to see whether his energy is well­ exercised. So as there are ways to keep the body fit through physical exercise and the mind fit through the process of education, there are also ways to keep the energies fit.

Physically, you may be medically healthy but your energies are still lethargic. If you get this checked out, you may find that everything is okay, but still you know you are not rolling the way you should be in your life.

Things are not happening for you on the inside or the outside the way they should be simply because you have not taken care of the well­-being of your energy. For every physical or psychological situation that a human being goes through, there is some chemical basis to it. Modern medicine has studied this extensively. And today, all medicine has just become chemistry. So for every problem that arises in a person’s body, people are just taking one chemical or the other to come to some kind of balance; that is how the whole of modern medicine is being handled right now. But we know very well that if you use one chemical to reduce or enhance something, something else is bound to happen. For one ailment, there is an antidote. And for the antidote, there is another antidote. It’s an endless chain because whatever is happening on the chemical level in your body, it is only controlled by the way your energies function. Now somebody says, “No, this man has got acids, so give him alkaline.” But why does he have acids? Simply because of the way his body, mind and above all, the way his energies function.

In yoga, when we say “health,” we don’t look at the body or the mind; we only look at the energy. If your energy body is in proper balance and in full flow, your physical body and mental body will be in perfect health. Now when we say keeping the energy body in full flow, this is not about doing a patch up job with some healing; this is about going to the foundation of your energy system and activating it in a proper way. It is about building a foundational practice which establishes your energy in such a way that naturally your body and mind are fine.

When it comes to health, no human being gets to live in perfect conditions. The pressures of life, the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink can affect us in many ways. The more activities we have in the world, the more we are exposed to things that can throw our chemistry off balance and create health problems.

But if the energy in our system is properly cultivated and kept active, these things will not have an effect. The physical body and the mental body will be in perfect health. There is no question about it.

Life functions in many ways. Let’s say you do not know anything about electricity. If the room is dark and I tell you that if you press a button, the whole room will be flooded with light, will you believe me? No. But if I press the button and light appears, you will call it a miracle, isn’t it? Simply because you do not understand how electricity works. Similarly, life happens in many different ways. But people have limited themselves to the physical and the logical — the physical in experience, the logical in thinking.

Right now, medical science is limited to just knowing the physical body. If anything happens beyond that, people think it’s a miracle. But it is another kind of science. The life energy in you created your whole body — your bones, flesh, heart, kidneys — everything.”

sadhguru hiking yoga

SYN: How do I break a bad habit? This may include having negative thoughts about myself or others.

Sadhguru: “The more you say, “I don’t want something”, that [thing] becomes the basis of your mind and starts to rule it. Let’s do an experiment right now. Don’t think about monkeys for the next 10 seconds. Hmm, try it. Only monkeys come to your mind, isn’t it? This is the nature of your mind. You can’t do anything head ­on with your mind. You need to understand the process of your mind and see what to do with it.

Now, people always come to me saying, “I want to give up smoking, what should I do?” I tell them, you are not smoking right now, why would you smoke otherwise? Your body is not the kind of machine that smokes; automobiles do, but not your body. If you don’t want to smoke, don’t smoke”. Then they say, “No, no, I am a smoker I am trying to give up smoking and it’s not working.” The question is not about smoking or not smoking.

It happened like this. A man and his lady neighbor were great friends. One day they were driving somewhere and as soon as the car was parked, his hands were all over her. She said, “You fool! What are you doing? I thought you are a decent fellow and I came with you, what is this nonsense?” He said, “No, I gave up smoking.” If you compulsively give up something, this is what will happen to you. It will take shape in some other way. Now, what is it that you are trying to do with smoking? Probably you are down, you are trying to stimulate yourself with nicotine, or psychologically you feel incomplete. By holding a cigarette in your hand, you feel little more brave and masculine. Kids start smoking because they want to grow up soon. A 10­ year­ old kid wants to smoke because he wants to become a man instantly. When he inhales and blows the smoke into somebody’s face, he feels like a man. Not anymore, but it was so 10 years ago.

Once there was a Sufi saint called Ibrahim. One evening, two of his disciples were sitting very morose in the garden of his ashram/centre. One said to the other, “I want to smoke but we are on a spiritual path, how to smoke?” The other one said, “Even I want to smoke; I don’t know what to do.” Then they decided, Let’s ask the master whether we can smoke.” In the past, there have been many Sufi saints who smoked constantly. So the next evening, one disciple was sitting in the same spot, totally miserable. The other disciple came here, smoking. The first disciple said, “Hey! Why are you smoking? Master told me not to smoke.” The other disciple asked, “What did you ask him?” The first replied, “I asked him if I could smoke when I am meditating.” “That’s your problem,” said the second monk. “I asked him whether I could meditate when I am smoking, and he told me to go ahead.”

So don’t try to give it up, bring awareness into your life. Bring awareness to every aspect of your life; you will see that everything that is not necessary will simply fall by the wayside. If you try to give it up, you’ll only struggle.

The image that you have created within yourselves has nothing to do with reality. It has nothing to do with your inner nature. It is a certain image that you have built, most of the time unconsciously. Very few human beings have built a conscious image of themselves. All others have built images according to whatever kind of patterns or external situations they fell into. Everybody has some image of what they are. Now, why don’t we create a new self­image consciously? The way you really want to be. If you are intelligent and aware enough, you can recast your image into a totally new image, whichever way you really want. It is possible. But you should be willing to leave the old one. This is not pretension. Instead of acting unconsciously, you act consciously. You can create an image that supports you best; that kind of image, which creates maximum harmony within you; that kind of image, which has least friction.

You work on the self­-image before actually sitting for a process to fix a new image on you. One that is the best for you and everybody around you. Think about it for the next one or two days and create a proper image for yourself. What should be the fundamental nature of your thoughts and emotions? Before we create something, let’s really see, if what we are creating now is better than what we have.

Choose a time when you would not be disturbed. Sit comfortably with your back rested and relax. Now, close your eyes and visualize how other people should experience you. Create a whole new human being. Look at it with as much detail as possible. See if this new image is more human, more efficient, more loving.

Visualize this new image as powerfully as you can. Make it alive within yourself. If your thought is powerful enough, if your visualization is powerful enough, it can even break the bonds of karma. The limitations, the karmic limitations, can be broken by creating a powerful visualization of what you want to be.

This is the opportunity to transcend all the limitations in your thoughts, emotions and actions. Sadhguru will be touring 17 cities during his North American Fall Tour and will be in Seattle on October 5.

Being in Sadhguru’s presence creates an extraordinary opportunity to experience one’s natural state of freedom, love and limitless joy. It is an opportunity to Meet, Mingle, Meditate and have your unanswered questions answered. Visit the event page for more details regarding Sadhguru’s visit to Seattle here.

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