The Yoga Sutras, Patanjali’s seminal text on Yoga, starts off with this succinct definition.
Yogah Chitta Vritti Nirodhah (Sanskrit)
Yoga is the removal of the fluctuations of the mind
Often at the end, of a yoga class we may experience some meditative rest. But we can easily miss that the aim of yoga is not just great abs, butt, or even health benefits, but the stillness of the mind.
Why this emphasis on the mind?
It is quite simple. Our mind determines our reality. The quality of our mind determines the quality of our life. Imagine for a moment, lying on a beautiful beach, in a luxury resort. All the external circumstances are perfect. Yet, you just had a fight with a loved one and your mind is in complete agitation. Will you be happy?
On the other hand, the external circumstances could be miserable. You are out camping, with little luxury, you’ve been rained on, you’re soaking wet. Yet, you’re with friends, singing, your mind is joyful; you are at peace.
In the business and busy-ness of life, we often miss this simple truth. We rush into the yoga class, the asanas feel good and the sweat drips onto the mat. We wonder about the teacher. We check out the other students. The mind jumps from one thought to another. This posture is too long, the body hurts. One moment you may think, ‘I am doing this posture well’. And the next thought arises, ‘Is anyone looking?’ And finally, the 40 minute session is over. Mats sprayed, cleaned rolled up, blocks set aside, we run to the next life event. A thought passes sometime; yes it would be nice to meditate. Daily. But more often than not it is a fantasy, something to happen in the future.
Some of us try to meditate and either quickly give up, or continue shopping for the perfect fit. Most of us don’t even try.
Patanjali says, the mind is managed by practice. What kind of practice? One that is done with sincerity, continuously and without break for a long period of time.
This is like being in a meditation Catch-22. To sit in meditation would still the mind, but the mind needs to be still and sit for meditation. A rushing mind could not create that space, and time, to sit and when it sits, it could not do so for long. Sometimes it is even more difficult when practicing alone. Here is where a technique like Sudarshan Kriya® comes and swoops you effortlessly, reminding us once more, about the power of breath.
What is Sudarshan Kriya®?
Sudarshan Kriya® incorporates specific natural rhythms of the breath which harmonize the body, mind and emotions. This unique breathing technique eliminates stress, fatigue and negative emotions such as anger, frustration and depression, leaving you calm yet energized, focused yet relaxed.
Breath is a severely under-utilized yogic tool in mainstream yoga in the US. Other than generic instructions to keep breathing or breathe-in, breathe-out, there is very little about the breath in a typical yoga class. Some advanced yogis have learned certain pranayamas (controlled breathing), but rarely are these a part of daily practice.
Breath has a remarkable link to the mind and emotions. You will notice that every emotion we exhibit has a different breathing pattern. How is your breath when you are scared? It will usually be short and shallow. What about when you’re sitting near a waterfall? When you are angry?
Just as emotions influence breath. Breath can influence the mind and emotions. The Sudarshan Kriya practice has become an invaluable technique in my daily practice. It is a powerful rhythmic breathing pattern that automatically brings the mind to a meditative state.
We are lucky that the cognizer of this technique, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a preeminent authority on Meditation and founder of the Art of Living Foundation, will present a special session at the Get Happy Seattle program on July 7th and 8th at the Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue, WA.
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian leader, a spiritual teacher, and an ambassador of peace. His vision of a stress-free, violence-free society has united millions of people the world over through service projects and the courses of The Art of Living.
This two day immersive experience includes:
- Special session with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
- An experience of Sudarshan Kriya® – a powerful breathing technique
- Guided Meditations to reduce stress
- Wisdom to handle your mind and emotions
- Expert instructors from the Art of Living Foundation (AOLF)
Just breathe, Unplug, Tune In, Get Real, and Get Happy!
It’s an incredible event to be with and learn from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Do not miss it. For anyone, it is the next step on the path of Yoga.Tickets are only $95 for the Get Happy two-day immersion.
Co-written with Ashwini Iyer.
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