Thursday, January 11, 2007

Healthy Spirit - Part III

Healthy Spirit Part 3- Become a Seeker
Swami Sitaramananda
Morning Satsang, Sivananda Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, CA

The scriptures say that all physical disease comes from negative mental patterns, which starts with wrong thinking. The body is the instrument for you to go back to school, that’s why the state of spiritual health, or liberation is freedom from rebirth. It is said that when you are actually spiritually healthy you are not reborn. Can you imagine? That means you have paid all the karmic debts, and you are free. There is no area of darkness, no illusion; you have completely realized your nature as Satchidananda, immortal self, absolute consciousness, absolute bliss, and absolute reality. If you can accept it, and try to be in Satsanga, or company with those who are experiencing this bliss, they radiate it and they talk about it. That energy will inspire you and give your life good perspective. So keep yourself in satsanga. Most people think, “What are you talking about? I just want to be healthy happy, have my family, my job, do what I need to do, in life that’s it.” So don’t expect to know everything, to think everything, but just know that there’s way to get there and one of the ways is being in the company of the wise. That’s why you come to the ashram; to learn the teaching of enlightened people, yogis, masters, and hear this kind of thing. Refresh your memory and know there is another dimension. There’s no magazine in the world that will say that. No place in the world that will talk about that. You see, you go to a place of enlightenment to get some light, you don’t go to a place of darkness to get some light.
The more that you are able to do that, the more that inside you will believe in it and want it to know more. You become a seeker, you become a yogi, you become a Sadhak; a person who seeks. In the Bible it is said, “Seek and ye shall find.” If you don’t seek you will not find. So first you have to seek. You have to know that you don’t know. You have to know that what ever you know is only a limited idea. And then you have to go to place of knowledge, with people who know, and after some time it starts to make sense. What if you cannot be there, cannot be in the ashram forever? Then you go home and you can also practice. You have to learn and practice and learn and practice. So what is it that you practice? You practice self-discipline; you practice the control of the senses. That’s what it means. Control the senses means the tendency to always believe in something external to you, coming through the senses. So you either eat to live or you live to eat. If you live to eat, you are moving in the wrong direction, it is that simple. So already you can practice proper diet in your life. That means eat to maintain the body, but don’t lose yourself in your senses, by living to eat. This is wrong thinking. You can do this immediately; practice control of the senses.
Start moving in the right direction, with proper exercise. Do Asanas, the yogic postures, everyday. Because when you practice asanas, you stay balance and centered and clear, because the postures move the energy in your body. These practices will bring you back to an awareness of your self. After proper exercise you practice proper breathing. Learn how to manipulate your Prana, your energy. Learn how to breathe, learn how to balance your breath. Because when you balance your breath everything is okay. Your right brain left brain is balanced. Your personality becomes balanced. And then what? Proper relaxation. When you truly relax, it’s very deep and profound. Proper relaxation means letting go of grasping, letting go of worry, letting go of control, letting go of thinking “I know,” letting go of ego, letting go of desire. Because when you try to relax, and you cannot relax, it is because you have nourished the idea, “I need to control, I need to do things, I have so much desire in my mind I need to run- do this, do that.” The practice of letting go, the practice of self surrender, the practice of not wanting anything, the practice of openness of heart, of acceptance, that’s part of eventually letting go of the body. If you do not let go of the body you don’t relax. This is the ultimate relaxation in the class. You have to let go. You also have to let go of your mind.
After you’ve let go of the body, let go of the mind, what remains? What remains is Spirit. You have to relax more than five or ten minutes a day. You have to let go in your life. Let go of the body, let go of the mind all the time. In the yoga class you’re doing that in a very focused way. Life is a big yoga class. In the yoga class you have 12 basic posture. In life you have 1008 postures. In yoga class you have only the inhalation and exhalation; two positions of the mind. But in life you have100,000 positions of the mind. But still you have to be balanced, be aware of the body, aware of the mind, knowing that you are not the body, knowing that you are not the mind. This is the state of absolute awareness, absolute detachment; being in the body without being in the body. Living life without being lost by life, all this takes training. So everyday you do asanas, pranayama, proper diet, proper relaxation, positive thinking. You understand your thoughts and your emotions and know how to deal with them. And everyday you meditate, so you can have the experience - the direct experience of that state beyond your mind. And that’s it - you are on your way to enlightenment.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Healthy Spirit -Part II

Healthy Spirit Part 2- Changing Consciousness
Swami Sitaramananda
Morning Satsang, Sivananda Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, CA

To be spiritually healthy you have to find your bliss independent from objects, and that is a difficult task. Your habits make you constantly go down same pathways either emotional, or mental, or physical, and that makes you unable to experience the bliss that is already there. When you love something, instead of saying, “Oh that thing is so beautiful, it’s so wonderful. I want to unite with that thing because that’s the goal of my life.” Instead of saying that you have to understand that if you want to be healthy in spirit, you have to cease to say that there is an illusion out there that is perfect for you that you love it to the point of losing yourself. You have to cease to do that, and you have to realize that the love that you see and that beauty that you see outside is within yourself. The moment that you realize that the love and the beauty that you are ready to be lost for is within yourself, then you can experience that beauty and that love with detachment. You still experience it, but you are not losing yourself, and you start to be healthy. You don’t react. You are whole. But know that at your weak point you will react.
To be healthy is to be enlightened, that means you have to know how to how to have light, how to have the knowledge that will dispel the ignorance. If you were not ignorant, you would not be here. You are working your way out - that is true of everyone on this journey. Everyone is on the journey towards liberation, whether you are conscious of it or not. We are all searching for the same thing.
The Yoga tradition has different methods for attaining liberation, and it’s very, very well thought out, very well thought out. It’s very systematic, that’s why you need to take some time. In one lecture I cannot tell you all the secrets of yoga, and even if I tell you, you are not going to make it. Why? Because in order for you to make it you have to have time to apply the teaching. You have to apply and apply and apply and then you have to see, by trail and error where you make mistakes, and then you have to do it again, do it again, do it again. You have to bring it in your life and you have to make it so far with your life. And then, it is said, the teaching will change your consciousness.
The application of the yogic teaching is called Sadhana or spiritual practices. In order for you to be healthy, you have to practice Sadhana. When you do spiritual practices, immediately you get to a place where you are healthy. That means that you have to keep yourself healthy, otherwise you are out of balance, and you become unhealthy again. Health and ill health is just like that. One moment you are healthy because you have right thinking, right feeling, right conception of yourself, and the next moment, boom! You become thick and dark, and unhealthy; you go back to your old habits. So that liberation, or that enlightenment, or that knowledge, freedom, or that health is something that you have to do all the time until you establish a new way of thinking, new way of feeling, new way of behaving, new way of seeing yourself, and it becomes more and more established.
The definition of a person who is spiritually healthy is a person who is steady in wisdom. You all have wisdom, you have glimpses of it, I am sure, but it comes and it goes. Steady wisdom means you remain there. And it’s not that easy, because you have been born. The fact that you have incarnated shows that you have past karma to work out. You are living in an imperfect kind of way, looking for something that is completely out of your reach because you are looking from an imperfect standpoint. If your consciousness is imperfect, then how can you find something that is perfect?
That relentless search for life, enlightenment, liberation is not easy. It seems out of your reach because of your conditioning. Sometimes there is some moment of awakening, and you must keep doing what’s called Sattvic life- practice Yoga and Ayurveda to regulate your life until it becomes sattvic, then you have glimpses of health. If you stay sattvic, then eventually you will become healthier and healthier in body and mind and eventually you will become healthy in spirit.

Healthy Spirit - Part 1

Healthy Spirit Part 1- Living in Unity
Swami Sitaramananda
Morning Satsang, Sivananda Yoga Farm, Grass Valley, CA

When you talk about health, talk about physical, mental, and spiritual health. Spiritual health is most important, because it governs the body and mind. But how do you have a healthy spirit? The idea is to know that there is only one reality, one spirit, one universal spirit that includes you - you are that One. Universal spirit and you are nothing different from that. Period. You think yourself to be different and from there comes your struggle to come back to the right understanding of who you are that is not separate. Your struggle to obtain harmonious union. Union of the individual self and the cosmic self, between you and me, or union between the inner and outer. To realize that underlying consciousness that is truly ourselves and not identify with the different layers of ourselves that is only the instrument. In the same manner, when you drive a car, you do not say, “I am a Mustang. I am worth $10,000, and I am red, I am very powerful, I am sports.” So you don’t identify with the qualities of the instrument. So being spiritually healthy means that you identify with your immortal spirit. I am Atman. Atman means, I am the Self. Atman is indefinable, indivisible, unqualified, with no attributes, that means eternal, unconditioned by time.
Your existence is conditioned by time, constantly. Whatever you say is conditioned by time, your body is conditioned by time, but there is an experience or reality of yourself that is unconditioned by time and is unconditioned by space. It is neither here nor there. So when you live in the body, your experience is that there is always a here and there is always a there. Therefore you are always unhappy, going here and there. But you go here and there and you never find IT, because IT is neither here nor there. And also it is said that the experience of the self is an experience beyond causation. That means, in your normal experience something has to have a reason to be. This causing this, this causing that. This is the origin of this, this is the origin of that. But in the absolute experience of the self, then nothing exists from nothing. That means existence itself is self sufficient. So you can see already the problem. You are constantly conditioned by time/space causation. You think you are mortal, you think you are separate; you think you are doing something.
So to be healthy is understanding that you are everything - existence absolute, with no beginning and no end. You have to have a very expanded consciousness in order to think like that. To know that you are Satchitananda, existence absolute, knowledge absolute, you are the consciousness of all beings, you know everything from within. Therefore you don’t need to see anything from outside, because everything from outside comes from the consciousness within. So knowing that “I am that consciousness,” makes you become one and know everything there is to know from within because there is no external thing from your Self. Another way to describe this state of enlightenment is Ananda; bliss. Bliss absolute means to be in a state of complete satisfaction, of bliss that comes from no contradiction, no frustration, no feeling of separation, as in the eternal search for love.
Why are you constantly searching for love and never finding it? Because the love you are pursuing is always limited love. The nature of love itself is your nature, therefore you constantly search for yourself through continuous stories and dramas that would redeem you, and would make you completely blissful and give you the Ananda state. But the love that you have is not giving you that. It gives you glimpses, at the best moment, but then it stops, and ends in drama. All love stories end in drama.
To be spiritually healthy means that you are not afraid of death, because you know that you are not this body coming and going and getting old. You are going to lose if you think like that, because every single day you are approaching your death. You try not to think about it, think it only happens to other people, the old people, but very soon you see that you are the old people, even if you are young, your young friends also die. Death comes very quickly. It can happen to anybody. That’s the truth of it. If you don’t want to think about it you are not healthy. Because you are trying to deny an aspect of life. Facing your mortality, understanding your mortality is a good way to be spiritually healthy.
Living in unity and turning inward is another way to be healthy. Turning inward means to know once and for all that everything and anything that exists out there without your consciousness is illusion. It doesn’t have any value for your life. If you run after it, you just waste time and come back to the same place, because your life is consciousness, therefore you have to live in a way that is meaningful for you, your consciousness has to be in it. If you are in it then you are happy no matter what you do. You can wash dishes, or dig a trench. If you are completely aware of yourself, that consciousness gives you yourself, and you are absolutely very happy. But if you are a millionaire living in a five-star hotel, penthouse suite, with the best food brought to your mouth, you still not very happy, because you still think, “I need another kind of food, and this hotel is not the best hotel, and I must find another better hotel because someone looks wealthier than I.” You are never happy. One has to understand once and for all that your strategy to find fulfillment is inadequate, because you are not thinking right. And you would have to cease to think in that way.
The point of being healthy is that you cease to be that. You have to cease to run after illusion, you have to look at yourself, once and for all and do not look out, because there is nothing out there. It is always by looking in that you find the out, because the out and the in are one. So that’s the starting point of being healthy.

To be cont’d

Wednesday, January 3, 2007


Satsang with Swami Sitaramananda on Prana
Dec. 07 2006

Swami Sita: Can you tell me which one of your nostrils is working without checking?

Satsang students: the right, the left, the right.

Swami Sita: Who has both nostrils working? You have to check your nostrils all the time to know how your energy is. When both work then you are able to meditate. The breath, the energy, and the pranic flow corresponds to your thoughts. So if you are always blocked you can already deduce that something is wrong. So you have to endeavor to correct it, it may take some time due to impurities or some kind of blockage in the mind or the emotions. So you have to do lots of pranayama to alternate the breath or alternate the flow of energy, and also change your diet. This is very important, and then you have to change your lifestyle. From your lifestyle you create a certain type of energy, or prana, so lifestyle, food choices and thought choices, all these are affecting your energy. So checking your breath is a very good way to ask yourself how am I? It’s like you’re driving a car, and you have to constantly know if you are between the two lanes or not, are you facing the right direction or not, sometimes the car goes too much to the left, and you bring it back, it goes to the right, you have to constantly navigate or pilot. So ask yourself the question how am I, now at this moment, and then you have to check, how is my mind, how is my breath, how are my emotions, am I calm, am I focused, am I jumping around? And the breath is a very good way to check, you cannot catch the mind but you can feel the breath. The breath is the external manifestation of prana so you can feel it. Take a deep breath and exhale and you can already see that you are moving to another state of mind. You are not stressed out. And if you are in a stressful situation in work or life, try to find a space that you can be quiet and do pranayama. People will find it very strange that you are holding your nose but…do relaxation in your mind, and then do pranayama. So advanced people do pranayama all the time, except you don’t see them holding the nose. They know the breath and they know the connection between the breath and the prana and the thoughts, so by changing the thought they can bring themselves to balance.

So what is Prana? How do you get more prana, more energy, so you are not stressed out? What are the sources of Prana?

Satsang: Water?

Swami Sita: no, start first, common, we always have to start first at the level of the lowest chakra.

Satsang: Earth

Swami Sita: Earth So how do you get prana from the earth? Walk barefoot, walk in nature. If you walk on cement you can tell there is not much prana there. If you live in a metal and glass building, you can tell there is not much prana there, if you live in the fresh air you can already tell there is a lot of prana there. What else? From food. That means you have to think of the food not only in terms of color and shape, but in terms of prana. Is this food going to give me the energy I need? Because you need a lot of prana in order to think and cope with challenges and find your way in life. So some foods give more prana than others. Anything that is processed has low prana. Anything in a natural state that has prana from the sun will have more prana. That is very simple.

Water. How do you get prana from water? By drinking pure natural spring water. If you drink Coca Cola or coffee or tea, then your prana will go down. It actually takes prana in order for you to deal with this. So it is very important to drink the proper water. You can also swim in water, in a river or the ocean.

Earth, water, next comes Fire. The sun is the main source of prana from the fire element. If you live in a building under tube lights and never see the sun, you walk to your car on cement, drink coffee and cigarettes only to survive, drink other things to survive, then you can see the prana is down down down. It becomes a pranic debt. And worried thinking, driving with a cell phone, reading a newspaper about the problems of the world, this will make you loose prana. So be in the sun, anything with heat, even hot water, especially if your mind is worried. If your mind is worried the worst thing to do is drink gassy cold water

Next comes Air. The best source of prana is in the air. So breathe natural, not polluted air. Learn how to breathe; the air can be there but you need to know how to breathe. INHALE and EXHALE. That’s all you have to do and half of your problems are gone. I think more than half, it is the first step in Yoga life. Breathing with an exhale that is twice as long as the inhale. Inhale is 3 the exhale is 6. Then you have to be aware of your breath. When you feel stressed out and want to have prana, then Inhale and Exhale. Alternate nostril breathing helps to regulate the prana, because your whole system is a pranic or energetic system, so all the problems come from having the system out of sync with the pranic flow of the universe.

Last comes Ether. Ether is a very subtle element which you can also call space. How do you get prana from the ether? It comes from the thought environment. You can go camping in nature, so you have the prana of the nature, but you don’t have the prana from the thought environment. Of course in nature no one is there to pollute the thought environment, but you can also be in nature and worry or have negative thoughts. Since thought is such a powerful thing it influences, so if you are in a positive thought environment it will lift you up. You will get prana from the thoughts of the people. The people who are present or the people that are absent, that is difficult for us to understand. People are like a channel of thoughts, like a radio, and their thoughts might not be expressed like me right now, my radio is on because I’m talking, but the thought is there. So let’s say you are in a group like this satsang, the thought environment is there. Imagine these young nice people at the ashram doing selfless service, meditation, and practicing yoga—guess what, the thought energy is high. And the thoughts also stay in the atmosphere. This place exists for 30 years, morning and evening the thoughts are here—people come here with good intentions, with a good heart, wanting to improve their own life, these are very valuable thoughts to hang around. Also the thoughts of the Masters are here. You cannot see these thoughts, but you can literally feel them. So it’s not just the physical space—earth water fire air—but the ether is also important for prana.

If you are in a place where people hate each other, like some work environments, people are stressed and hating each other but outwardly they are polite, you feel down but you don’t know why. It’s because you are absorbing the thought prana. So it takes a lot in that situation to survive and keep your thoughts healthy. Hospitals are another area where the thought prana is very low, full of worry and disease—imagine the flow of thoughts in the hospital--if you visit someone there you come out drained. Bars and clubs are also areas with low thoughts and pranic debts. People go to bars and clubs to drink their sorrows away. When the thought environment is chaotic it also creates problems. When there is no distinct thought, like at an airport, train station, subway, or restaurant, at that time your thought world jumps around and becomes incoherent.

You have to learn how to acquire prana, to balance prana, to channel prana, and to conserve prana, these are the 4 things one must know in order to have a prana surplus. It is like money—if you use it properly you get more, if you use it improperly you get debts. So you have to invest your prana in the right place.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Swami Sita's Teaching Calendar 2007

DEC.19 - NOV1, 2007 : New Year Retreat :
Retreat website at
Reservations (email)
Jan. 1-6, 2007 Yoga and Fasting Retreat: Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm Fasting Retreat website
Reservations (email)
Jan 13- 14, 2007 : "Remembering the Roots of Yoga" 2 day Intensive program at the SF Center.
SF Sivananda Yoga Center website
SF Center Email to reserve
Jan. 20-21, 2007 : "Remembering the Roots of Yoga" 2 day Intensive program at the LA Center.
LA Center website
LA Center Email to reserve
Jan. 22-31, 2007 : Meditation Intensive Course (10 days) : Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm Meditation Course website
Reservations (email)
Feb.4- Feb.13, 2007 : Meditation Intensive Course (10 days) - Sivananda Yoga Retreat, Bahamas,1-800-441-2096
Feb.14- 20 , 2007: "Yoga of Recovery" (7 days) Sivananda Yoga Retreat, Bahamas,1-800-441-2096 - Yoga of Recovery website
Feb. 24-25-26 2007 : "Sivananda Yoga is a Complete Body-Mind-Spirit system"
Singapore affiliated center - Sivaram website (+65) 6223-7635, Mobile (+65) 9118-6945
MAR 1-10 2007: "Meditation Intensive Course" (10 days) Sivananda Ashram , Neyyar Dam, Trivandrum, Kerala, South India
MAR 14- 23 2007: "Yoga of Recovery" (10 days) Sivananda Ashram , Neyyar Dam, Trivandrum, Kerala, South India
MAR 23 - APR 4, 2007: Yoga Retreats in Viet nam. (in Hoi an and in Vung Tau) . For information contact Tram Therese <>
APR 6- 8 2007: Yoga Retreat in Koyasan, Japan For information:
APR 13-15, 2007: Yoga Intensives in Tokyo, Japan . For information: Sivakami "kumi.M" <>
APR 28 -MAY 26, 2007: Teachers Training Course ( 4 weeks Intensive) Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm TTC website Reservations (email)

MAY 26, 2007: "Remembering the Roots of Yoga" Celebrations in honor of Swami Vishnu-devananda, remembering his 50 years of pioneering Yoga Teaching in the West, 1957-2007"
SF Sivananda Yoga Center, SF Center Email to reserve

MAY 27 -MAY 30, 2007: "Remembering the Roots of Yoga" Celebrations in honor of Swami Vishnu-devananda, remembering his 50 years of pioneering Yoga Teaching in the West, 1957-2007" Installation of the Gurus' statues, celebrating the opening of the yoga barn building.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm website
Reservations (email)

JUN 3- 12, 2007: "Meditation Intensive Course" ( 10 days)
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp website
email Sivananda Headquarters for reservations
JUN 17-22, 2007: Yoga of Peace.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm website
Reservations (email)
JUN 23-24, 2007: an Intensive in SF Center. (to be confirmed)

SF Sivananda Yoga Center website
SF Center Email to reserve
JUN 29-JUL 2nd , 2007: 8th Annual Jyotish (Vedic Astrology) Conference:'Career, Dharma, Moksha through Jyotish' , in collaboration with ACVA (American College of Vedic Astrology) find information at:
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm Conference website
American College of Vedic Astrology website Reservations (email) JUL 4- 28 , 2007: a Himalayan pilgrimage. (to be confirmed)
AUG 12-17: "Yoga of Recovery" (7 days) Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm's Recovery page, - Yoga of Recovery website
AUG. 18-19, 2007: "Satsang with Swami Sita": The vedantic philosophy of the nature of the Self. Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm. Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm Satsang website
Reservations (email)

SEP 1-3, 2007: Labor Day program on "The Power of Forgiveness" at the Yoga Farm.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm Labor Day website
Reservations (email)
SEP 4, 2007: Krishna Jayanti, celebrations of Lord Krishna birthday at the Yoga Farm.
SEP 3-21, 2007: West coast US tour on "Remembering the Roots of Yoga" (full program to be announced.) For information on which cities where the series of lectures and programs will be , pls enquire at: Sivanand ashram Yoga Farm . .
SEP 6-9, 2007: Participating in the "Vedic Astrology Symposium" organized by ACVA, Phoenix, Arizona. For more information: American College of Vedic Astrology, P.O. Box 2149, Sedona, AZ 86339 tel. 1-800-900-6595
SEP 22-23, 2007: Sivananda West Coast Teachers Meeting: Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm Teacher's Meeting website
Reservations (email)
SEP 23- OCT 2, 2007: "Yoga Psychology and Jyotish Counselling" (10-day Course) at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm.
OCT 6- NOV 3, 2007: Teachers Training Course ( 4 weeks Intensive) Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm TTC website
Reservations (email)
NOV 9-11, 2007: Peace Satsang with Swami Sitaramananda commemorating Swami Vishnu-devananda 's Mahasamadhi: Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm Satsang website
Reservations (email)
NOV 11- 20, 2007: Vedanta and Silence Retreat (10 days): Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm Vedanta website Reservations (email) NOV 22-25 , 2007: Thanksgiving Retreat on "Spiritual Poetry and Arts": Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm Thanksgiving website Reservations (email)
DEC 22- JAN 2 , 2008: Holiday Retreat: Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm.
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm Holiday website Reservations (email)

Friday, December 8, 2006


Q. In case of not knowing what to do, what do I do?
A. choose the option that will bring you up to your ultimate Self ,and not the option that will bring you down.
Q. What will bring you up and what will bring you down?
A. That which makes you feel the most challenging is bringing you up and that which is easy will bring you down.
Q. But whatever way I choose I feel that it is somewhat difficult.
A. Think a little more. What you have known is easy. What you don't know is more difficult.
Q. How about emotional happiness?
A. Sublimate emotion to devotion and intuition.
Q. How about attachment?
A. Attachment always pull us back . It is contrary to spiritual progress.
Attachment is very strong weapon of Maya.
Q. How do I deal with it?
A. You would have to learn more the meaning of "renunciation" and "detachment"
If you really want something, you have to renounce something else.

Q. How to keep myself busy and not creating karma?
A. Do service to the Guru.
Q. How to feel useful and meaningful?
A. Service to Guru get you out of the mind, and fill up your life with real value.
Q what do I do after?
A. continue service to Guru for a minimum of 6 months - one year.
Q. Really?
A. Yes, you are just in the beginning of your path, and Swamiji said that it is important specially in the beginning of your path to be very vigilant and intense in Sadhana - away from distractions and from your own past - so that you can take root! You are like a little new plant, it needs to take root in new grounds.
Q. I will think about it.
A. This is my advice for you, the rest is up to you.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Are you healthy?

Transcription of a satsang talk at the Yoga Farm dec.3, 2006 by Swami Sitaramananda

In Yoga we say that we are comprised of body, mind and spirit, therefore, if you want to be healthy, you have to be healthy in body, mind and spirit. Health is not only physical. Actually, if you are healthy in spirit you will be healthy in mind and body, not the reverse. Sometimes we think that the body is not healthy therefore I am depressed, but you have to think reverse: the mind is not healthy, that’s why my body is healthy that’s why I become depressed. If you ask your self, am I healthy in body mind and spirit? That’s the right way to think.
So what constitutes physical health? Swami Sivananda our SatGuru, was a medical doctor. His definition of physical health was: all organs of the body functioning in an optimum manner, under the intelligent governance of the mind. That means, we are equipped with all the organs of the body and they have to function perfectly, optimally, but under the intelligent control of you, of your mind. The organs have to function, but by your lifestyle, what you eat, what you do, you make sure that your organs function well. So if you ask yourself, “Am I healthy physically?” you have to consider the mind working with the body, and think: “what do I do to regulate it, what do I do to make it better?” Change your diet, change your lifestyle, change your exercise, take supplements, do whatever you need to make sure it is working. Yoga, is the best thing to make it work, because yoga asanas work on all the body systems together.

If you ask yourself “Am I healthy mentally? ” then you have to consider a few things. If you are healthy mentally, the mind has to be strong, the mind has to be calm, and the mind has to be without negative thoughts or emotions. If you are addicted and craving all the time then you are not healthy mentally. If you are angry, upset, grieving, depressed all the time, them you are not healthy mentally. If your mind is so distracted, that you cannot focus, then know that you are not healthy mentally. You are using energy. Because when we talk about the mind we also talk about your level of energy, in yoga energy is not physical, yoga energy is subtle, it is absolutely connected to the mind. So your level of energy is very important. That means you have to have energy, so all the time you have to check in and find out: do I have energy? My energy is up? my energy is down? And you have to know that negative thoughts and feelings bring your energy down while positive thoughts give you energy. When you are stressed out, you are not healthy, mentally your energy is squeezed. You don’t have enough energy to handle difficulties in life. The difficulty of the whole set up of the body and mind is incapable of responding to demands, what ever the demands may be. External or internal. The thought is too big, the emotion is too big. You don’t have a solution for it, so you get stressed. When you have stress, you lose more energy. So you try to deal with the stress by taking external things that give you support; drugs or alcohol, or anything to deal with the stress. That stresses you more because it weakens the system. It makes the system too weak to deal with it. If you do that a lot then you have a crutch. The system constantly has to be propped up. But if you stay healthy; that means health is your natural state, then you have all the resources to be healthy. You have all the inner resources to deal with your problems.

Sometimes you think, “But my problem is bigger than yours, so it’s nice for you to sit there and say - but you are not in my situation. My problem is bigger that’s why I am stressed, that’s normal.” Not true. The truth is everyone has their stress. The truth is every life is difficult, the truth is the amount of stress, of difficulty, is always tailor cut to who we are, and what we are capable of. The way we cope with our stress will determine who we are.

Energy is unlimited in the universe. That means you can channel that energy in. That means your potential is unlimited. That means you have the whole universe to back you up. . You just have to know how to use the support that you have. And not shut it off. Sometimes we need help, and at the same time we close the door. Educate yourself on how to deal with energy, educate yourself on how to control your mind, so your own thoughts aren’t blocking you, is the practice of yoga. Yoga is more than asanas, more than exercise. Exercise, relaxation is excellent for physical and mental health, but the deeper aspects of yoga teach you how to balance your energy, charge your energy, control your mind and how to tune into the infinite source of energy and power. I encourage you to study yoga, not just in the superficial aspects, but really study deeply.

So, are you healthy mentally? Then you have to have energy. You have to be positive. You have to be on top of your life, on top of yourself not dragging behind, not thinking life is passing you by, not thinking that you are not in the life you deserve, not thinking that you are a victim of circumstances, not thinking that someone is better than you, not thinking that the life you lead is not good. Anything negative that you think makes you unhealthy. So when you are healthy mentally you are centered, balanced, in harmony with everything, in harmony with your life. The life you have is the life you always wanted, the life you have is the life God has given you, that is a healthy state of mind. Focused. You have to be focused. Not distracted, not restless, not desirous, not running around, confused. This is mental health.

Spiritual health. That is more difficult to figure out. Spiritual health is when you feel in complete harmony and life and with God. God is the perfection you feel within you. When you are spiritually healthy, you have the idea that you and God are very close, you and God are one. That means that perfection, or that infinite power of God is with you. Most of us are not like that, right? We struggle and struggle against life, we question, we drag ourselves, we don’t know why we are living, we suffer, have misery, questioning all the time - with glimpses of happiness, followed by stretches of misery. Spiritual health means you are always happy. Can you imagine that state of mind, all the time joyful and all the time happy? All the time? You experience it from time to time. That’s when you are healthy.

So you see, health is a big topic. Yoga teaches you this. It is necessary to study Yoga philosophy to understand who you are in reality. If you think you are something you are not, you are not healthy. That’s why your concept of who you are is capital to your health. If your concept is unhealthy then your actions and thoughts constantly confirm you are not the person you think you are. If you understand who you are everything is fine. You start to act healthy, think healthy, behave healthy. You can take any amount of supplements or herbs, get a massage, or anything, but if you don’t have a healthy concept of yourself, you just miss the point. Health is in your hands. No doctor or anyone can help you, really. All the doctors can forgive me. Doctors can be helpful when something goes wrong, because they know the different systems of the body. More or less, they can help regulate it. We are body mind spirit all connected, but the body is subservient to the mind and the mind is subservient to the spirit. Spirit is supreme. This is basic, you have to turn it around. If you think of the body first, then you miss out, because the body is only what you see externally. What you don’t see is the energy and the mind. What makes the energy in the mind the way it is, is your spirit, called your sense of self, or your inner connection with your spiritual self, or your connection to the divine, your connection to God. It’s all connected.

So if you have that connection to God, then the mind will not be out of control, you will understand your challenges in life, and you will not create new confusion; you will be content, happy and in harmony. Not self-creating problems or self-sabotage. We do those things because we cannot connect with the intelligence of the spirit within us. The body will be healthy because the body is connected to the energy. It’s incredible. You have seen spiritual healers- they heal. Doctors check things out, and say they cannot help you, and then a you have a miracle healing, the healer will switch something and all of a sudden everything becomes aligned, and things that are not perfect disappear, because you have the trust and faith that spirit is powerful and it heals you.

In summary, when you talk about health, talk about physical, mental, and spiritual health. Spiritual health is most important, because it governs the body and mind. Know that your life is perfect, no matter how it is, know that challenge is normal, because it makes you stronger and that’s how you become healthy. So know that there are things that you can do in order to be stronger, and positive, know that infinite energy is there for you, but you have to learn how to access it, know that most of your problems are self-created. Not most - all of your problems. All. Not your husband, not your boss, not your neighbor. It is self-created. That means, if something negative happens, you have the tendency to blame others. If you can change something - do it, if you cannot change something, accept it, because everything is always perfect. It’s you who needs the training. The situations are there for you to be trained. But everything is perfect. So you want to find that perfection and that perfect health? You need to work on yourself. You need to have the right idea. You cannot think the world is at your feet and you can do whatever you like and you’ll be healthy. That’s the bottom line.