Articles derived from yogacharya Sharat Arora (Anand Sagar) Teachings

How To Have A Healthy Mental State Through Yoga Practice

Your mental state leads you into the actions that you make: and the actions you make affect your mental state. There are people whose mental state requires self-assurance. There are people whose mental state makes actions with a goal in mind and when they do not achieve that goal they give up. Your mental state is a totality of all the things that happened to you in the past.  How you move in life and how many challenges you experience in life affects this state of mind and this is visible in the physical being. An individual’s walk indicates their mental tendencies and how they might interact in a given situation. From this, as practitioners of Yoga we can make a holistic diagnosis. For a Yoga teacher, diagnosing a body in motion will reveal much more about the mind than the diagnosis of a static body.

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How Do You Know Whether You Are Feeling A ‘Good’ Pain Or A ‘Bad’ Pain In Your Yoga Practice?

In Yoga poses like Supta Virasana, Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) and Halasana the arms can go numb because the circulation is restricted. Imagine a dam; when the gates of the dam are closed the flow of water is cut off from its direct path and is distributed in different directions. The same is true in poses such as these. The blood flow to your arms is constricted and the blood is diverted to other parts of the body. When the arms come back down they are flushed with fresh blood. This is a process that happens in many of the Asanas; blood flow is constricted in an area so that it can be flushed with fresh blood upon release. How we interact with the sensations that come with these processes though, can dramatically transform our experience. It seems obvious that if we say ‘my arms are numb, it feels horrible’ then our experience of the Yoga pose will be certainly be horrible. How then do we distinguish between?

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What is intuition?

Intuition is a faculty which all of us have. What most of us do not know is the difference between intuition and guessing. This is what we have to build up and practise. Intuition is a faculty. Any faculty that I have needs to be recognized, until we recognize it, it is not there. How are you going to recognize intuition? It is there within you and in every single person.

To nurture your intuition you need to enhance your presence:
In my daily life I live in my mind, everything that arises in my mind I start to interact with it and I take it for truth. I have to recognize that this is my mind and I do so by being present. As soon as I want something I am no longer present, I am in movement pursuing my desires and like this I get sucked in. Unless I am able to recognize the mind and to know that I am in its power, intuition is not present and I  am in the hold of the mind.

You know the Bob Marley song with the lines 'Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind'? He recognized it, we all do. We need to recognize when we are absent and thus practise yoga to bring us back to presence. It puts our mind on hold while we are concentrating on our feet, on our breath. What an amazing thing! I manage to reduce the power of my mind. The power that the mind has over me, I make it a little less. The moment I become unaware, I am again lost.

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Everyday Spend Some Time In Peace

When I have a problem, it is an indication of misalignment. All disease it doesn’t matter which one, arthritis, cancer, all disease arises because of bad alignment. Alignment is on many levels; mental alignment or misalignment causes tension in the body. I’m not talking about physical imbalance. I’m talking about mental imbalance. In life when I wake up in the morning if I’m not positive this is going to cause misalignment in the whole day. For this reason it’s not possible to learn yoga just working on the body. One has to understand what mental misalignment is. We have to understand why misalignment happens. It’s caused by all the things that I really desire in my life, when I desire something I really want to go and get it and so that wanting, that craving causes tension. It is caused by ego, either feeling great or for that matter lack of ego, feeling like a mouse. All our desires, all the things that I don’t like, and all my fears cause stress and this causes misalignment.

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Being In The Body

Hatha yoga means that from the time you begin your yoga practice till the time you leave the room you’re going to be conscious in yourself, especially the body. Eckhart Tolle calls this ‘being in the body’ which means having your awareness in the body. You are in your body, you are aware of your body, not as an outsider looking at your body, but as an insider feeling the body. As you stretch your toes are you feeling the stretch on the sole of the foot? You are doing to feel and then being aware of that feeling. This is yoga practice. By being in your body you come to be present. Now, when stretching your toes you take your arms to the side and press down through the centre of the heel into the floor. Presence is totally there and stays there. You make other movements but you don’t take your awareness from the foot.

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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...