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Peace of Mind

     Yoga is a daily practice.  By practice I do not mean just the physical part of postures, but how I conduct myself on a daily basis.  How do I show up in the world?  How peaceful is my mind?  How close am I to living by the yamas and niyamas? (For further details about yamas and niyamas see Blog posts March 22, 2021 https://somalumina-yoga.mykajabi.com/blog/the-niyamas  and March 29 2021 https://somalumina-yoga.mykajabi.com/blog/the-yamas ) These self-restraints (non-harming, non-lying , non-stealing, not over indulging the senses, and  not being attached to our possessions) and observances (cleanliness, contentment, austerity, self-study, and the recognition of something which is greater than ourselves) are just as challenging as any posture. These self-restraints and observances are the supports for bringing the mind to peace.

     Last week I shared my personal attempt at the niyama of cleanliness by eating a cleaner whole food diet. Improving my diet is in effort to build prana shakti or vitality. Vitality supports better physical and mental strength. Creating a stronger mind and body leads to better ability to be in the stillness of meditation. To be in the stillness of meditation is to open the heart to an inner peace and joy that gets expressed outward as lovingkindness and compassion.

     Yoga was intended to reduce human suffering by beginning within our own body-mind.  How much am I established in peace of mind?  How easily do I get irritated?  How quickly do I jump to judgement? An irritated mind or judgmental mind is not at peace and suffers.  If the mind is not at peace, then there is no joy.

     Hatha yoga works to purify the body to restore balance of prana. When prana is balanced the mind is centered.  Raja yoga emphasizes cultivating a purified, one pointed mind, and from there the mind and prana are stabilized.  Other paths of yoga such as bhakti yoga purifies the emotions and jnana yoga refines the intellect.  All the different paths have the one goal of becoming Self-realized. It is this state of Self-Realization we become more known to ourself as that which is greater than the injustices that humankind can fling at one another. With meditation and contemplation  we become more familiar with our own internal battles we learn that these battles are best approached not with armor and defenses, but with kindness and compassion. As we become more internally self-realized peace of mind becomes more established. The outward battles of me against them fade into understanding and compassion to the suffering of others, as our own suffering is dimmed by our widening of self-love. Daily practice may not always be on the mat, but should always be an effort to continually expand our own self-love that can then overflow onto others.


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