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

The point is the following; you want to learn yoga and we’ve got the place for you but it’s not enough just to have a place. Your willingness to experience yoga is necessary; otherwise it’s not possible. You have to want to experience YOGA, yoga is not exercise, it is not even asana, it is the wanting to be quiet. For what reason? to experience and know your-self. You experience the world in many ways, we are very clever these days we know a lot about a lot of things but that’s not what yoga is about. There are many clever people, many geniuses, who know a lot but they don’t know themselves, and that is what you’re here for. Unless we shut down the doors to the outside the inside is not revealed. Look, there are two directions, there is a road and you can either go this way or this way. We keep going out, we don’t ever go inwards. Now that’s what you’ve come here to do; to turn around and go the other way. But you have to turn around because you can only walk in one direction.

Himalayan Iyengar Yoga Centre
Yoga Master Teacher Sharat Arora
Article derived from Intensive Course at the Himalaya Shanti Ashram,
Dharamshala, 16 March 2015


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Master Teacher Sharat Arora was born in 1953 and discovered yoga in 1978. He went through intensive, full-time training for seven years with Guruji BKS Iyengar at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Institute in Pune and assisted Iyengar on all levels of Asana classes. However, more significant in his development as a practitioner and teacher was his involvement in the daily therapy sessions, serving countless patients. His fusion of this experience, with his extensive study of medicine, greatly influenced his continually-evolving Yoga technique and sharpened his unique Yoga therapy skills.


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