It’s about being happy, taking away suffering; meaning being happy, truly happy. Not the happiness that I get from acquiring something and then after ten days I am bored of it. Acquiring a nice car, then you come, there’s a scratch on it… oh misery. Happiness; or in other words, not suffering. That’s what Patanjali is saying. And how do we practice? He says in three ways; tapas, svadhyaya and isvara-pranidhana.
Tapa is a focused effort. Not dispersed, but concentrated. They used to do tapa standing in the cold freezing water on one leg and sitting in the sun, with seven fires around you. All extreme things, even till today, they are called “tap, tap karna, tapna”. Fully concentrated effort. Practice like this; one pointed and fully powered practice. A little bit doesn’t work.
Svadhyaya; sva- oneself, adhyaya- study. Study of oneself. As far as I’m concerned, is studying how I am, how I move, what is important for me. Studying all the things that I indulge in, all the things that give me happiness. Giving that attention; adhyaya- making a study of it.
Study of the self; what is happening, what is arising, why is it arising, what is the root of it all? Which is only possible with meditation and not possible otherwise, what will you see? What will you notice? What is arising, what is going, what is coming? Thus, the second way that you practice is putting all that effort on yourself, self; studying it.
Isvara-pranidhana, pranidhana (surrender) to isvara (God). Full effort, watching whatever you do, do it in a meditative way, so that you learn about it. But how? In total surrender. Otherwise, “me the great” arises, the great ego has arisen. And what is the point of this? Surrendering, surrendering all your actions, surrendering everything. These three elements, in these three ways we practice.
Once you’re firm on your path it’s very amazing. Everything that is needed comes. You just have to be open to see that it is coming. It comes. You have to be truthful to your path and everything comes. And I mean everything. Some people think, but if I practice yoga, how will I eat, how will I… hey just try it. Be like this and everything will come. I mean it. In my daily life I don’t read newspapers, I do go online, neither do I look at the news online, but whatever I need to know comes in front of me through someone, through something. Whatever you need is given to you. This is the law of existence. If you are truthful and honest, everything is given to you. Everything.
Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora
Article derived from the “Pranic Healing” Intensive Yoga Course
At the Himalaya Shanti Ashram in Dharamsala in October – November 2013