Articles derived from yogacharya Sharat Arora (Anand Sagar) Teachings

Discipline with eating

To really experience Yoga and silence is not easy and it requires discipline. I hope they’ll make great food on this Intensive course but restrain your-selves. Did you know that humans can survive on a few grains? Therefore, eat, talk and interact with each other but in a disciplined manner. Eating in a disciplined manner firstly means eating with awareness.

Being aware, being patient, chewing your food, you will notice that you eat less. You can reduce your weight in one month by chewing the food till it becomes liquid, and only then swallowing it. When you chew your food the digestion begins in the mouth and so you give less work to your body and then because you give less work to your body it has more energy to do other things that are healing. What is healing? Healing is the process of eradicating what we suffer from.

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Distraction

What is a distraction? It can be something as subtle as a neighbour making coffee. You can smell it and at once it puts certain motion within the head, the brain, which feeds information to the mind that’s waiting to be told what to do. Then the mind takes it on, the mind is a genie and it can manifest anything that it wants. And then suddenly you’re caught up in that. That is a distraction, you being caught up through a simple process of smelling something, hearing something, seeing something. As if we did not already have enough going on in our head.

So, whatever comes up from our head comes up because there is external stimulation. You take away external stimulation and it’s possible to have less distraction. For example, a hospital, not that hospitals are good but I’m giving an example. Normally a patient is not allowed to go out of hospital, so we provided that kind of environment here, you cannot go out and there are no external distraction so that, and this is important, so that we actually experience the sense of peace or experience silence. When we go into the sutras of Patanjali we will see that that’s what yoga is all about – minimising distractions equals yoga practice. For this reason we built the ashram for the Intensive courses, so that people can come and stay and be discharged only after three weeks of the Intensive. For this reason we told you to inform all your friends, your relatives that you are not available, you are offline. And for this reason we take your phones, laptops and books

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The Art of Relaxation

The art of relaxation is to learn how to completely surrender. If it was easy, we would be very relaxed people. Therefore, yogic relaxation is to be conscious of all those things, which are taking us away from surrender. Surrender, letting go, letting go…. Therefore not holding on. In our body there are many places where we hold on, without our knowing. So, yogic relaxation is about recognizing these places by being conscious and then dropping them. We experience that tensions are felt as tightness, as something hard. So when we do relaxations we’re watching in our body for anything that feels hard and we are letting that go, letting that go…

In our face, it’s a mask that we’re conscious of it and give it, therefore, our full attention. This is where we start off, the lips and the whole area around the lips. As soon as we start to become aware of the tightness there, then that takes us into the cheeks and down where the jaws meet, where the upper jaw and the lower jaw meet, a lot of tensions reside there permanently. Being fully aware there and letting go may involve making some movements between the upper and the lower jaw. The moment we give that area our attention and it starts to become soft, straight away it takes us to the area around the ears and down into the throat. It’s almost as if when one door opens, we’re able to see what is beyond that door. The throat is related to the tongue and of course the jaws. Being completely and absolutely relaxed in the tongue also involves watching, or making movements and watching what tightness there is. When the tongue is quiet it has the quality of smoothness as it flattens on the lower palate.

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Meditation

SELF PRACTICE

Usually mediation is practiced while sitting in a meditation pose. But actually we don’t necessarily have to sit. We can meditate in every relaxing pose like hanging Sirshasana or Shoulderstand. All we have to do is being concentrated, focused and inward going. We can just watch our sensations or the breath. That’s it. In case we need to discover something, if we need answers, then we can use the inversions to explore. By putting the attention to the problem, we’ll discover the nature of reality. Inversions help us to see and to understand.

What is the right time to practice meditation or asanas? Asana practice is waking us up. Some people get up and they are awake immediately. Others take a long time to wake up and get into the rhythm. These people, the Kafas, should not meditate or do Pranayam in the morning because they risk to fall asleep again. They should meditate after they have moved the body a bit and are more awake. Basically Pranayama and Meditation have to be done when we are completely awake because this is the practice that requires the most subtle awareness.

Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre, 13.10.15

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Eating and Practicing

SELF PRACTICE

Before the inversions – actually before all kinds of Asanas – we should not eat. Not even a little bit. Why? Because our body starts to digest. Vata, the air element, is responsible for all kind of movement in the body. And when we start to practice while the air is working, we bring it out of balance. It cannot work properly anymore. So we have to wait to practice until the digestion has finished.

Sleeping also disturbs the digestion. It is recommended to have some movement after food for minimum half an hour. If we do a siesta after lunch or we go to bed soon after dinner, we should lay down on the left side so that the right nostril stays open and the HA energy continuous to work. When we sleep on the other side, the digestion will not work properly, the food stays in the body too long and cannot really be absorbed. By sleeping on the left side we digest and sleep good.

Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre, 13.10.15

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