HOW TO BE PEACEFUL, FOR AN HOUR, A DAY OR A LIFETIME
IN CELEBRATION OF JUNE 21ST — INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA
The key to peace and happiness is knowing how to “yoke” the wavering mind — this is where yoga comes in. The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root, “yug,” which means to yoke. The art and science of Yoga was brought forth, 5,000 years ago by Maharish Patanjali, through Yoga Sutras (threads) which include, personal and social ethics for peaceful living. The tenets of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, help to put guardrails around our thoughts, speech and actions, in order that we can live life happily and to our highest potential.
A few years ago, I was in New York City for a large-scale event on non-violence, where Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was the keynote speaker. On my way there, I met an an Associated Press journalist in an elevator and invited her to attend it. She listened politely and then explained what she was up against as a journalist, in today’s world, “ An event that moves people toward non-violence is definitely worthwhile, but the fact is, the only way I can cover it, is if any violence breaks out. If that happens, call me,” and she handed me her business card.
Just imagine how life could be, if everyone was taught wisdom at home or in school, that nurtured human values such as: sincerity, non-violence, honesty, service to others and friendliness, along with techniques to release stress and center ourselves? All of society would have the chance to grow up with self-confidence, a sense of belonging with themselves and others, healthier relationships, more happiness and a broader vision. And we certainly wouldn’t have the level of violence, in the world today.
More than twenty-years ago, when I started on the path of yoga, most people made jokes or simply resisted it altogether, out of wrong concepts. The good news is that today, Yoga has become a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States, with leading universities and medical institutions regularly providing research on its many benefits.
Peaceful living isn’t just for yogi’s who spend their lives meditating in caves high in the Himalayas —it’s possible for everyone.
A yogi is one who practices yoga as a way of life. A yogi is calm, serene, centered, uninhibited and free like a child, with a heightened state of awareness and a developed consciousness.
While most people think mainly of asanas, when it comes to yoga, it’s just one limb, of a comprehensive 8-limbed tree. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, explains: “Yoga is not just a physical exercise or asanas. Yoga is a complete science. It unites the body, mind, spirit and the universe. Yoga brings that much needed peace in every individual. It also makes a big difference in one’s behavior, thought pattern and attitude. I would say yoga is almost indispensible. If you want to be sane, sensitive, sensible, strong and intuitive, you have to follow yoga.”
Sounds good…but how to have a peaceful life…even for a day?
The list below outlines effective steps to help facilitate the release of stress and toxins from our body and mind. These steps increase our prana (life-force energy) and help to raise our level of sattva — which is the pure and virtuous energy. The combination facilitates a centered, healthy and happy state of mind….just like a peaceful yogi. You can being with one step, several steps or all of the steps…it’s all good. The key is to take the first step!
1.EAT VEGETARIAN & REFRAIN FROM INTOXICANTS/ meat and seafood take a very long time to digest, which creates toxins in body and mind. Intoxicants dull the consciousness.
2. BE HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU HAVE / desiring what others have leads to discontent. A yogi is contented with what is.
3. DROP ALL COMPLAINTS / complaint is a reflection of an unaware mind.
4. REFRAIN FROM CURSING, GOSSIPING OR SPEAKING ILL OF ANYONE / words are meant to uplift consciousness and to bring peace of mind.
5. MEDITATE / meditation brings about a relaxed state of awareness, increases energy, sharpens the intellect, develops intuition — creativity and contentment, along with a happy state of mind.
6. REFLECT ON THIS QUESTION: WHO AM I? / The spirit of self-inquiry lifts us to another dimension, free of negativity or any kind of lack consciousness.
7. TAKE A YOGA CLASS / the benefits of asanas are numerous: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
8. LEARN A PRANAYAMA / these specific breathing techniques help the breath to become smooth and light, bringing energy and relaxation to the body, mind and spirit.
9. OBSERVE YOUR MIND THROUGHOUT THE DAY (no judgement!)/ observing our own mind develops an awareness of habits and patterns that don’t serve us, paving the way for self-transformation.
10. EAT A MEAL IN SILENCE. (No phone, talking, texting, tv, reading, music) / eating with full awareness can become a meditation. Also, digestion improves, the mind becomes calm and we receive more prana.
11. SPEAK ONLY PLEASANT TRUTH, TELL NO LIES / purity in speech brings purity in mind and greater happiness to you and others.
12. SMILE THROUGH ANYTHING UNPLEASANT WITH FOREBEARANCE / It’s easy to smile when life goes our way, the skill is to have the strength to keep your smile come what may; we become free and unshakable in life.
13. CONNECT WITH THE DIVINE (in your own sacred way) / remembering that we are all part of one divinity, we are beyond limited identifications such as gender, culture, religion and race — brings us closer to the truth of who and what we really are. We are not this body.
Patti Montella is a personal transformation expert, who has dedicated her life to uplifting humanity through the ancient Yogic Sciences. For over 20 years, she has studied directly under the guidance of renowned spiritual leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Patti regularly travels the world teaching practical wisdom for living life with greater ease and happiness.
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