Yoga is not just what you do on the mat. In fact the yoga done on the mat is a very small part of yoga. Here are some things that are also yoga:
1. Be kind – Every thought and action of a yogi is done with the idea of not hurting anybody and providing solace to those who are suffering. Kindness is the essence of yoga. This is not just in actions but also in thoughts.
2. Stay clean – The idea of cleanliness is integral to yoga. It is not just external cleanliness but internal cleanliness too. Internal cleanliness refers to the cleanliness of thoughts and emotions and clarity of mind. This level of cleanliness comes with practice, discipline, and self-control.
3. Do not envy – Satisfaction is a key aspect of an yogic life. As our yoga deepens our heart expands. This is when we realize that happiness is not in things but in relationships and love. We then grow to enjoy other’s prosperity and jealousy departs from our life.
4. Fast – Discipline and self-control are a key aspect of yoga. At the heart of yoga is the ability to have control over thoughts, and one way to get this is to stop feeding the senses. Fasting is one way to gain control over senses. When done without force and with humility it becomes yoga.
5. Pray – Surrender to the Divine is the essence of yoga, and prayer is an integral part of this. When our every thought and action is surrendered to the Divine then our every breath becomes a prayer, and we become instruments of the Divine.
6. Do not waste energy – Negative thoughts and negative emotions are a huge drain on our conscious energy. The beauty of yoga is that it slowly takes us away from the negative and pushes us into light. We can help the process by stepping away from things that feed our negative cycles.
7. Maintain a day of silence – So much harm is done when we speak carelessly. Instead of love we cause hurt. Instead of healing we cause suffering. This is why it is important to gain control over our tongues. One way to do this is by periodically observing a day of silence. As we silence our tongue, we gain better control over our thoughts and our emotions.
8. Laugh– A yogi lives life lightly and laughs easily. When you surrender your worries to the Divine then all that is left to do is to experience the joy inherent in each moment. The laughter that is without malice and rancor comes from being in such a place.
9. Watch a sunset – When we watch a sunset or a beautiful scene, our ego-identity dissolves for a moment. At that moment we touch an inner silence and we experience yoga. This is why yogis love to climb mountains or walk through forests because it gives them opportunity to experience yoga.
10. Humility– The essence of yoga is humility. When we silence our ego identity we understand the contribution others make to our success and our well-being. In addition we are able to conserve our energy as we stop spending it on furthering our ego’s agenda. This allows us to channel our freed up energy into building connections and doing creative work.
When we allow yoga to overflow from the mat and into our lives, it slowly turns our life around. Instead of being petty and vain we become comforters and healers. Instead of takers we become givers. Instead of running after success we run after meaning, and success follows. Rather than spending our energy in worry and waste we become masters of the moment. In sum our lives become worth living.
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Credits:This has been written by Raj Shah and edited by Ketna Shah.