Learn these two simple requirements for yoga and you’ll never miss a day again
According to The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, yoga is the stilling of the mind patterns to know your true nature. There are two requirements for yoga. What do you think they are? Not a yoga mat or any other yoga prop. Not music, clothing or the perfect space. A teacher? Nope. It’s much simpler than all that.
The two requirements for yoga are practice and equanimity.
In this instance, “practice” doesn’t necessarily refer to yoga postures. More broadly, it refers to any ongoing effort to move into a state of inner stillness. It refers to the stilling of the mind patterns; the mind waves that keep us stirred up and distracted; keep us in the illusion that we are our thoughts. The purpose of practice is to open us to an enormous revelation about the very nature of our being.
There are a plethora of ways to practice. Practice can be as simple (and profound) as remembering the idea of stilling the mind waves and choosing actions and words throughout the day to cultivate and support that ideal. There are breathing practices, meditations, self-inquiries, and lifestyle choices that would help to move a stressed, confused, anxious mind into a state of inner calm.
Obviously for a lot of people asana has that effect. In asana, the mind is focused on breath, on movement, on sensation, on balance, strength, steadiness. Some styles of yoga asana are meditations-in-motion. When your practice is that focused, the mind patterns, are interrupted for a while. But eventually it works its way back into your awareness, that internal banter that says you aren't good enough or you are better than someone else. It is a "separation mentality". That's where the second requirement comes in.
Equanimity. This means not getting stirred up. It's easy to be right; it's easy to be self-righteous. Its easy to be pulled along by our programming and our emotional states. Yoga is hard. If you pay attention to your opinions, thoughts and words you may be surprised at how many of them contribute to your inner agitation. (And all this time you thought it was everyone else!) You may find yourself worrying about the future, or replaying something from the past.
Who are you without your opinions? If you are satisfied defining yourself as your thoughts, then yoga is not for you because what you'll find when you start working with a broader practice will literally blow your mind.
Without special clothing, music, a mat or any physical ability, and without taking an extra minute of time from your busy day you can take on these two most basic requirements for yoga. If you stick with it, yoga will ultimately set you free from self-limiting thoughts. In that freedom, your words and actions come from a whole different place. Without all the blaming and naming, you're better equipped to communicate clearly and move in a way that is infinitely more effective. Less splashing around, more efficiency of action, more clarity and integrity.
You will find more tips on cultivating inner stillness right here on the smilingyogi blog. If you’re ready to take the plunge, get on my email list for a weekly thought-provoking blog post sent to your inbox.
Share with the circle of friends: What ways do you practice? How do you stay in balance and quiet an anxious mind in the midst of chaos, confusion, anger, disappointment or fear?