The new season is imminent and there are some changes and announcements worth mentioning.
This year Shiva Yoga is ten years old, and I notice that I now look forward to a short sabbatical. I would like to use it for a further deepening of my Vedanta study: the knowledge and explanation of the ancient Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and the comments that form the basis of yoga. Now there is the chance to go to an ashram for two months where my Indian teacher (Swami Tattvavidananda) teaches. Two months every day, from early to late, filled with Vedanta, yoga and Sanskrit! Grateful for the opportunity to be here, I consider this a wonderful gift to step in on my birthday.
I will not be there from 18 September until 27 November. But I hope – and expect – that you will continue with yoga. As Patanjali says: “your practice (sādhana *) is well-founded when you do it continuously, for a long time, and with consistency.” You need that if you pursue the goal of yoga: to obtain a calm mind and to deep inner transformation.
Continuous means without interruption. Doing yoga on and off, even if you do that for ten years, has little effect and meaning with regard to that goal. Yoga is a discipline and, like any other discipline, requires time, attention and commitment. Without discipline and enthusiasm (tapas) there will be no continuity. When you use all sorts of reasons such as the weather or your state of mind to do yoga or not, there is no tapas.
Consistent means that what you feed in yoga, what you learn and experience, also takes you to your other life situations. This too is practice, self-study and discipline. Discipline is a concept that seems almost out of favor in a time when ‘everything has to be possible, whenever you want’. Connecting to something, committing yourself, seems to limit your options, but also gives structure and therefore rest.
Swami Tattvavidananda says about a multitude of choices: ‘Freedom is not having limitless choices. Freedom is the ability to say no to what’s not right. ”
Sometimes it is good to check again what you stand for, what you really want to connect with in your actions. This is alignment and this gives peace. When you experience conflict and dissatisfaction, stand still, breath and research that you do not give space (anymore) to. Usually that is something that is important to you and what you are almost forgotten by crowds. And yes, often you have to leave something to be able to do what is right for you. Do you want a calm mind or do you want to do everything on your list?
I have every confidence in those who will observe my teachings, and in you to take the experiences of my lessons with them.
For those who follow devoted and consistent lessons for years, a deep bow.