Articles derived from yogacharya Sharat Arora (Anand Sagar) Teachings

Peacefulness Is Our True Nature

Peacefulness is our true nature, but because of all our wishes and desires that peace disappears. The path of yoga is the path of going back to the source, which is this peace.  On the elemental level this body, this mind and everything comes from Space, which in the Chinese terminology is called the Sky. From this, the body, the mind and the consciousness manifest. And the path of wisdom is to return back to this freedom, this space, which is peace. The sooner we realise that, the more useful our life becomes. The sooner we realise that our journey is actually back to the source of our being, the more useful our life becomes. Otherwise at the time of death we are still full of desires and wishes. And according to the Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, at the time of death the consciousness that remains is the one that takes birth in the next body. If there are more desires present when we die we will be born with a consciousness full of those very same desires in the next life. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense why some people are born poor and the others are born rich, and with different levels of intelligence. Use this time to transform, to create space in yourself, to connect to the peace which is in all of us.

Master Yoga Teacher Sharat Arora
Article derived from Introductory 5-Day Yoga Course in Beijing, Day 4 June 2016.

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Realisation of What is NOT True

The process of yoga is to lose false identification with the sense of ‘I’ as we experience it, or ‘asmita’, as Patanjali calls it. There are 5 things which stop us from seeing the truth. These are fear, hatred, our desires, our sense of pride, ego, and ignorance about what is true. Until this is realised we are ignorant. We are ignorant until we realise how these 5 keep us in constant unhappiness.

What is the true path to liberation and being happy? All of us think that we are interested in getting the latest model of phone or car and that this will make us happy. But that happiness lasts a very short time and then again, we are unhappy. Just reflect. There is no limit to all the things that we want. Desire is insatiable, unable to fulfil itself. So, a lot of people spend their whole life pursuing their desires but never find lasting happiness. This is in the teachings of Patanjali, the father of yoga. We spend our whole life running after this and running after that. We have to see this is not the path and realise it, not as a philosophy but as an actual realisation.

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Yoga Is About Living Peacefully

The origin of yoga was in India, but it is absolutely universal. It applies to every human being. Unfortunately, and we see this all the time, yoga has become a way to be more flexible, strong and agile, but that’s not at all what yoga is about. It’s about living peacefully, it’s about learning how to be happy. If you want to be happy, getting into lotus pose or being able to stand like this on the head or taking your legs here or there doesn’t help. What that will do is increase your ego and separate you from the others, causing more suffering, and this is the opposite of happiness.

Patanjali is a great sage who wrote down the yoga sutras. According to Patanjali a pose is to be done in a way where one is stable and easy in a pose. Therefore, as long as you are struggling the pose is not working. When your struggle stops the pose starts to work. Everyone has a very strange idea about what yoga is. They think that the more I struggle the better the yoga is working. Many people are used to doing very hard practice and creating all kinds of tension. Nothing comes out of tension. Only tension comes out of tension. If you sow rice you won’t get corn. You put tension in your poses you will get tension. We have to learn how to be relaxed all the time and from that relaxation we make our action. This was the first teaching of Lao Tzu which is more than 2500 years back, which means to go with the flow and not to resist. In our present times we are so fearful that all the time we have resistance and create tension. For this reason we do not want to create more tension, rather we want to learn how to do things well without tension.

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8 Unearthing Abundances with Yoga and Permaculture

Permaculture and Yoga are two systems which give guidance for how to live integrated, balanced lifestyles. In this article I will explore how the two systems speak similar languages and what they can reveal to us on the topics of abundance and wealth.

Permaculture has it’s roots in farming. It’s pioneer, Bill Mollison, in the 60s began to explore holistic approaches to design for agriculture, many of which had been employed by our ancestors for years but brushed by the wayside to make space for industrial mass food production. The Permaculture approach recognises that humans are but one element amongst many, in a vast and complex system of life, and that for our survival to be secured we must understand and respect our place within it. Since its conception permaculture has become a design philosophy which has multitudinous applications, from land, to community, to the self.

In a technical sense Yoga refers to a far reaching range of ‘values, attitudes and techniques that has developed in India over the past five millennia’. The word ‘Yoga’ comes from the verbal root ‘to yoke’, implying ‘union’. Amongst many definitions yoga can be equated to a state of ‘ecstasy’ in which one becomes liberated. George Feuerstein, in his book ‘The Yoga Tradition’ succinctly describes how ‘liberation is not a technique but a way of being in the world without being of it’. This suggests having an understanding of the systems of this earth without being overly reliant on them. Yoga shares a common aim with Permaculture for finding unity in the world through a deep understanding of oneself, one’s environment and our higher purpose within it.

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To Be Free in an Unfree Society

Let’s first specify what is freedom and what is not. We have certain freedoms in our society. We don’t live in tyranny and we can talk freely. However, we are not talking about the surface, we want to go deeper. Let’s find out in our life whether there are some forces from society, but also within ourselves that push us into doing things.

Are we free? Am I free to do the things I want to do, to think what I want to think, to go the way I want to go? In society, there are certain norms I have to follow. For instance, if I belong to the Hindu religion, I am expected to behave in a certain manner and I am being judged if I do not act accordingly. If I am a Christian, it is the same. My neighbours are observing: is this person going to church? Is this person doing this or that? We have that social pressure on us. Of course, I can always claim to be free and try to live a life which I call freedom not doing what I am expected to do. Does this bring peace in me? No. It does not because now I have to face people who are surrounding me and I can feel their rejection. I am expected to follow a certain line and “I” decide that “I” want to be free so “I” don’t follow this line and this creates tensions within myself. Generally, this state does not last very long and little by little we start doing some things, some even that we do not want to do. We have to do things for our parents. There are things we have to do, some duties such as meeting with our parents at least once a year, and then on that Christmas or whatever meeting, there is fear. What are they going to tell me? I have been told that at Christmas there is often a fear of explosion; everyone will express all the things they are unhappy about and “I” have to take that shower. Have you faced something like this? If not from your family, from your friends or neighbours? Therefore, what do we do? We say that it is better to follow than to create conflicting feelings within ourselves. Hence society’s expectations on us, on every one of us is not allowing us to be who we are.

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Sharat Arora
03 August 2016
16.10.14 When we do a practice like we do in our Iyengar Yoga centres, we gain understanding, so we increase our awareness about ourselves and about the world. We go inside and the mind slowly stops i...