“An ounce of practice is more precious than tons of theory.” -Swami Vivekananda
And yoga is practicing your way to perfection. A perfect body, a perfect mind, a perfect soul and…a perfect life? Yes!
The philosophy of yoga, like other ancient Indian philosophical practices, stands for the doctrine of changing life for a better You. Unlike other world philosophies which focus on a better future, better world etc., yoga promises a better you, as the old and wise sages knew that a better you is synonymous to a better future, a better world, and a better universe at large.
So how does yoga make a better you? To answer this question, let me tell you:
The story of a man and his master.
Once, a man was dying to find out the meaning of life. He searched everywhere for the answer, but in vain. He enrolled in spiritual courses, joined different workshops, but still could not find the meaning. Then, one day, he heard a master speaking. He waited for the speech to end and then put his question forward to that Master,
“Please explain the meaning of life.”
The audience present giggled to hearing such a bad, repetitive and cliché question, but not the master. Rather, the master picked up a tiny little mirror from his bag, caught a ray of sun with it and directed the reflected light back on the face of this man.
Then the Master asked the man,
“Can you see me catching light and channeling it to your face?”
The man nodded.
“That’s the meaning of life,”
said the Master. As the man looked flabbergasted, the Master explained,
“Life is to collect light and to direct it where you need it the most. Hence your purpose of life is to catch the sunshine and channel it to those dark areas of you and the world.”
So when you are embracing yoga as a lifestyle, you are exposing yourself to two possibilities – cleaning the mirror where you will catch the sunshine and directing the light to the right places. Here, the mirror is your body and mind. Unless they are clean, you will not be able to catch the light as a hazy mirror is of no use in catching sunlight. So a yogic lifestyle is about cleaning the impurities from your body while purifying your mind so as to prepare you as a receiver of light.
To attain the highest level of purification, you do not have to live the life of a monk, eat less or sleep on a mattress. All you need to do is following 5 basic rules of social conduct of yoga:
The 5 Yamas
Ahimsa (non-violence): To other living beings, to the world, to ourselves, and to our thoughts.
Satya (truthfulness): To ensure that no one is hurt or harmed in this process. If that means speaking truth diplomatically, let it be.
Asteya (non-stealing): Take only what you need, give or leave the rest for others.
Brahmacharya (faithfulness): Not celibacy, which is a common misconception. It means being faithful in your every relationship with persons or with the world.
Aparigraha (non-greed): Practicing simplicity and non-hoarding. Minimalism is the core principle of yoga and yogic lifestyle. And in this age of consumerism, this can save you from falling for the greed of luxury and consumerist illusions.
Practicing these 5 basic principles of yoga can minimize these worldly distractions and noise reaching your mind and prepare it for enlightenment, for inner peace, and for happiness.
Let us conclude with a line from the Bhagavad Gita:
Yogaha karmasu kaushalam…
“Perfection in your every action is Yoga.”
Yogasync me! Choose the yoga lifestyle by doing a short practice for each day of the week, and do them every day that you possibly can: