Yoga Tips – Cotton or Rubber Yoga Mat?

November 8, 2016

3 min read

Summary: One should not wear socks when practicing yoga. In many postures, your heels and big toes need to actually touch. Sadhguru tells us that when doing yoga, it is very important to be in touch with the earth. He says - "If you can afford to do this, for maximum impact in hatha yoga, you must make a space with packed mud, clay, and use either a raw silk or cotton cloth – raw cotton, not sanforized – and do yoga on that".  Also, it is best to use cotton mat or raw silk mat when practicing yoga.

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Yoga Best Practices: What Kind of Yoga Mat Should I Use?

Q: Can we wear socks when we do yoga? And what kind of yoga mat should we use?

Sadhguru: Socks are not necessary when you are practicing yoga. If you do hatha yoga right, it generates enormous heat in your system. Ushna will be generated on the cellular level. Once that happens, even if it is a cold country, you will not feel cold.

There are certain points of your body that do certain things when they touch. In many postures in hatha yoga, your heels and your big toes need to actually touch. There is a whole lot of “circuitry” there. If you wear socks, you will obstruct that.

One With the Earth

Above all, when you are doing yoga, your first relationship of being one is with the earth. To be in touch with the earth is important. If you can afford to do this, for maximum impact in hatha yoga, you must make a space with packed mud, clay, and use either a raw silk or cotton cloth – raw cotton, not sanforized – and do yoga on that.

You might have forgotten, but the body always knows that it is just a piece of the planet. When you practice yoga, you want that to become a conscious and living process for you, so that you experience yourself as one with the earth on which you are living. I would say eighty percent of your health depends on how much you are in tune with the earth. Eighty percent of your chronic ailments can just vanish simply because you found a little rapport with the earth.

Are Rubber Yoga Mats Ok?

About using rubber yoga mats, I know there are Isha-branded rubber mats. They tell me, “Sadhguru, cotton mats get dirty, who is going to wash them. So we made the rubber mats,” and, “Sadhguru, this is some special material which really insulates you.” What I want to ask you is – are you here to experience life or dodge life? Unknowingly, in so many ways you are insulating yourself from life.

You might already know this, but you are more bacteria than human. Microbes are constantly going in and out, they are not just staying within the body. If you isolate yourself, that itself is sickness. If you insulate yourself from the rest of the world, the potential of who you are is lowered continuously.

So, if you are a home-bound person, which means you wake up in the same place every day, it is best you use a cotton mat or a raw silk mat for your yoga, because you must be connected with earth. Organic material makes this possible so that there is no break.


Yoga Tips – Don’t Drink Water Between Your Practices

June 2, 2014

3 min read

Summary: Yoga increases ushna (heat) in the body. If you drink cold water between your practices, this will fall and cause various other reactions in the system. Your system will become susceptible to allergies and excess mucous. You should also not go to the washroom in between your practices. You should work out the water in the form of sweat. The level of purification is much higher when the water comes out as sweat.

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Why You Shouldn’t Drink Water While Practicing Yoga

Questioner: Namaskaram, Sadhguru. You said we should not drink water or use the restroom during the practices – why not?

Sadhguru: When you practice yoga, you are systematically raising the ushna in the body. If you drink cold water, the ushna will rapidly fall, and this will cause various other reactions. You will become more susceptible to allergic conditions, excess mucus and such things. If you are doing intense asanas and you suddenly drink cold water, you may catch a cold immediately. So never drink water when you are doing asanas. And never go to the bathroom during practice time because you should work out the water in the form of sweat.

The idea is to reduce the compulsions gradually so that one day, if you sit, you become yoga – you are not just practicing yoga.

Slowly, as you practice, as your yoga takes shape within you, if you do any asana, the sweat must pour out from the top of your head – not all over the body. The rest of the body may sweat according to weather conditions, but the main sweating should happen from your head. That means you are directing your energy in the right direction, and the asanas will naturally do that. Ultimately, you want to become a fountain head of something else, so you first practice with waste water. If you keep working up your ushna, it will naturally take the waste water upward. If your system gets too hot, slow it down with a little bit of shavasana, but never reduce the heat with cold water. You should sweat it out rather than going to the bathroom because the level of purification is much higher when the waste water comes out as sweat.

During practice, if you are dripping with sweat, usually your clothes will soak it up. But if you are bare-bodied, always rub the sweat back into the body because there is a certain element of prana in the sweat, which we do not want to lose. When we rub the sweat back into the system, it will create a certain aura and strength for the body – a cocoon of your own energy – which is also known as kavacha. We do not want to flush this down the drain. Yoga is about using the body to its maximum benefit. If you do asanas regularly and you rub back your sweat into the system, you will generate a certain level of ushna and pranic intensity. Hot weather, cold weather, hunger, thirst – it is not that you are completely free from it all – but these will not bother you as much.

The idea is to slowly grow beyond your physical compulsions. Whether it is food, drink, bathroom, or whatever else, the level of a particular compulsion is different from person to person but the physical is a series of compulsions. The idea is to reduce the compulsions gradually so that one day, if you sit, you become yoga – you are not just practicing yoga. To become yoga means that your level of perception is such that there is no distinction between you and the universe. You have to build your system in such a way that it can take that. Otherwise, if by accident someone perceives something very intense and their system is not ready for it, their fuse will blow out. Many people who have done whacky yoga through books or whatever else have lost their minds. It is very important that you build your system in such a way that the higher ways of living and doing things will naturally come to you. For that to happen, you have to climb high enough. Do not sit here and ask for higher dimensions to come down to you. If they come down, it will not be good for you. You have to climb to a place where higher dimensions are with you.


Yoga Tips – Be On An Empty Stomach For Your Yoga

May 13, 2014

5 min read

Summary: If you want to be healthy, it is essential that your colon is clean. If you do Hatha Yoga, you must make sure that you are not only on an empty stomach, but your bowels are also clear. If you want your energies to move upwards, then anything that is not naturally part of your system should be out. Only water is fine.

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Why An Empty Stomach is Essential for Hatha Yoga Practice

Questioner: Why should we do Hatha Yoga on an empty stomach?

Sadhguru: You should not only be on an empty stomach – your bowels should be empty too. If you do Hatha Yoga, you must ensure to leave at least 10 or better 12 hours between your last meal and your practice. That way, you give enough time for digestion so that when you get up in the morning, the body will naturally purge. If you eat late at night and get up early, the digestion will not be complete.

In traditional Indian medicine, whether it is Ayurveda or Siddha, whatever health problem you have, first they will purge your colon. If you want to be healthy, it is essential that your colon is clean. The colon cannot be clean for people who eat certain types of foods, and who have the habit of eating in between too much. Especially dairy products and non-vegetarian food remain in the colon for long periods of time.

Anything that is not an actual part of your body should be out if you want to move your energies upward. Yogic practices are not exercises – they are methods to restructure your system. In a way, you are trying to recreate yourself by remolding your system the way you want it to be. For this to be done, there should be nothing but your body. The only thing that is okay to have is water.

The source of creation, the intelligence which functions within you, treats anything else as an external substance, which will not participate in your asana.

Practicing yoga means beginning a partnership with the Creator. You cannot do it all yourself, but you can create the necessary atmosphere for the Creator to do the job. You want that which is the source of creation to become your willing partner. The first time you were made, it was not your choice – it was your parents and forefathers who decided how your body should be shaped, and how it should function. It happened from genetic memory. This is why in this culture, we refer to enlightened ones as dwijas or twice-born. Once born out of your mother’s womb – the way you were born was not your choice. But now you are reinventing and recreating yourself, step-by-step, the way you want yourself to be.

Your life will not change if you have a nose job done or if you get an implant in some part of your body. Your experience of life will change only if the very way your body functions energy-wise, the way it thinks, the way it feels, the way it responds to the universe around, can be altered. If you change your nose or you do some other kind of cosmetic procedure, how someone else looks at you may change. It may change the experience for the beholder, not for you. Your experience will only change depending on the extent to which your body is in line with the source of creation.

If you really look at creation, you will see everything smacks of phenomenal intelligence. If you pay enough attention to a simple leaf, you will know what kind of intelligence has gone into making this, and how many functions it has. In a way, a leaf is a plant’s energy source. The dream of today’s scientists is to create a leaf as a renewable energy source that could power your house, and even provide food and water for you. Scientists have been working on this cutting-edge technology for years. They are struggling so much to produce one leaf, because it is incredible how many things a leaf can do at the same time. Even in a single atom, phenomenal intelligence is involved – we are not able to really figure it out.

The nature of the Creator is intelligence. You may think you need love, money, wealth, or whatever else – no, you need a little more sense – no matter what your IQ is. How many times have you looked at people around you and thought, “I only wish they had a little more sense.” If not just your intellect but your intelligence doubled today, you would grasp everything so much more easily. What you would otherwise learn in fifty years, you could learn in five years.

Being partner with the source of creation means getting a huge infusion of intelligence, a kind of intelligence that you would not believe possible. For this to happen, obstacles need to be removed. This body is the work of the source of creation. The food that you have put into it is not yet part of the body, and the stool that you have produced is not part of it either. Therefore, your stomach and bowels should be empty. But if you are doing yoga for four, five hours continuously, it is all right to lace the water that you drink with a small spoon of honey. We want the water to be tepid because if you drink cold water, the body has to warm it up, which results in a loss of energy. If the water you drink is within three degrees above or below body temperature, the body treats it as part of itself.

Tepid water and honey are the only two substances that are allowed in your stomach, and nothing else. There must be only body – no other obstacle. Otherwise, the Creator will not have anything to do with you. The source of creation, the intelligence which functions within you, treats anything else as an external substance, which will not participate in your asana. The Creator or the source of creation must function and participate in your asana – only then does an asana become a yogasana. Otherwise, it is just a posture.


Yoga Tips – Wear The Right Clothes

April 17, 2014

2 min read

Summary: Sadhguru tells us that when he did yoga as a young boy, they used to wear only a small loincloth. Traditionally in India people did not wear stitched cloth, so that the movement of energy does not get restricted. When practicing yoga, you should not wear synthetic clothing, the kind that athletes wear. It would be best to wear organic clothing - organic cotton, or raw silk. Also, before doing yoga practices, you should remove all objects from your body, especially metal.

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What Kind of Clothes Should You Wear For Yoga?

Sadhguru: When I did hatha yoga as a young boy, the only thing we were allowed to wear was a small loincloth. The idea was that there should be as little obstruction as possible. Traditionally in India, people did not wear stitched clothing. Both the dhotis for men and the saris for women are just pieces of unstitched cloth. When clothing is stitched, the movement of energy gets restricted to some extent – you want to minimize that when doing sadhana. This does not mean that you need to start wearing a loin cloth, but yoga practitioners should not wear synthetic clothing such as the kind that athletes wear. It is best if your clothing is organic – either cotton or raw silk. Since organic raw silk may be too expensive and difficult to get, organic cotton would be the best option. Wool is all right too.

Before starting your sadhana, you should remove any objects from your body, especially metal ones. If you take an image of electromagnetic waves, even a small object will create a certain circulation around itself. If you put any object on your body, it will tend to disturb the free movement of energy. Except for a few parts of the body that are dormant, like the earlobes, any kind of metal should be removed – even nose studs. Only your rudraksh and the snake ring, you can keep on. Rudraksh is a good support that creates a cocoon of your own energy and makes you available to grace. The snake-ring because it prevents the one-in-a-million chance that you accidentally slip out of your body when you do certain sadhana. For women, if you are using any kind of metallic clips on your spine, that should go. Plastic is better than metal in terms of energy.

For the practices, you must remove your spectacles too. Many people have gotten rid of their glasses through the practice of proper yoga. For your vision to correct itself, you need to avoid wearing glasses or contact lenses for some time. If you can manage without glasses or contact lenses, try to do so. In case you get headaches, spend more time with eyes closed. If you are using contact lenses, do at least your morning sadhana without them. That way, mild vision problems may improve over a period of time.


Yoga Tips – The Best Time To Do Yoga

November 6, 2015

7 min read

Summary: The best time to do the practice would be during the twilight or transition perdiods, the sandhya kalas (sunrise, noon and sunset). Also, because the yoga practices generate a certain ushna (heat) within the system, the practices should be done either before 8:30am or after 4:30pm. Sadhguru says "The Brahma Muhurta is the best time for you to do practices if you want to transcend your physical nature or know dimensions that we refer to as spiritual" (Brahma muhurtam is from 3:40am - 4:20am)

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The Best Time to Meditate and Do Yoga

Q: Sadhguru, what is the significance of doing certain practices before sunrise or after sunset?

Sadhguru: Practices like Surya Namaskar and Shiva Namaskar should happen at these times of transition, in the twilight zone between night and day. During the sandhya Kalas, around sunrise and sunset, everything is in a state of flux. If you practice at that time, your ability to transcend limitations is better because your life energies are in a state of flux. That is one aspect of it.

Is it Hot? Not the Best Time!

Another aspect is that all these practices generate a certain amount of ushna. There is no equivalent for the word “ushna” in English, but it usually gets translated as heat. Heat, not in terms of temperature but as one of three aspects – the other ones being sheeta and pitta – that control various functions in the human system. If you have excess ushna, or in other words, if your samat prana is high, you feel your body is hot, but if you take your temperature, it is normal. Ushna is not like having a fever – it is experiential heat.

Because yoga evolved in tropical climates in India, we always said that all yogic practices must happen before 8:30 in the morning or after 4:00 or 4:30 in the evening.

Samat prana or samana vayu is in charge of maintaining the warmth of the body. A yogi always wants to keep the body slightly on the warmer side because heat also indicates intensity and dynamism. If the body cools below a certain point, it creates inertia in the system. Almost all the practices are designed to take you to a somewhat higher realm than what people normally live at. A higher realm does not mean a higher level of metabolism. If the metabolism becomes high, you will exhaust yourself physically.

When your energies are in a higher realm, your body will function at an easier pace. We can prove this to you in a matter of three to six weeks – if you do certain practices and get your energies to a certain level, your physiological factors will settle down and go at an easier pace. When your energies are low, your body tends to go at a higher pace to keep the life process going, which will deplete the system. If your bodily functions go at a certain speed, your mind will go crazy, and above all, it will reduce your lifespan.

We are conscious that doing practices will raise the ushna in the system. If the temperature outside is high and the ushna rises beyond a certain point, it will cause cellular damage. That is why yogic practices are always to be done in the cooler hours of the day. Between day and night, there is a transition that reduces the friction within the system, and therefore, the practices will generate less ushna. Because yoga evolved in tropical climates in India, we always said that all yogic practices must happen before 8:30 in the morning or after 4:00 or 4:30 in the evening.

Times of Transition in Yoga & Meditation​

With yogic practices, you are trying to remold yourself. You may have great regard and respect for your parents, but you do not want to end up just the way they made you, or just the way they are. You want to be something different or something more. If you only psychologically and emotionally remold yourself, at some point in your life, you will fall back. There are many people who, when they were 18, said “No way!” and rebelled against their parents, but by the time they are 45, they walk, sit, talk, and behave like them, because mental changes will only go that far.

If you want to be a being of the future, it is necessary to remold the fundamentals of who you are. That is what we are trying to do with yogic practices – we want to remold ourselves into something entirely different.

Attitudinal changes will not last. After some time, as life situations change and you become less conscious, you will fall back. If you say you are the way you are because your father was like that or because it is in your genes, you are saying you are a creature of the past. If you want to be a being of the future, it is necessary to remold the fundamentals of who you are. That is what we are trying to do with yogic practices – we want to remold ourselves into something entirely different.

The best time of the day to do this is always the sandhya when the energies on the planet are going through a certain transition and the friction within the system is greatly reduced, which allows the remolding to happen more easily. There are other aspects to it, but these are the two most fundamental reasons why yoga is practiced morning and evening.

Brahma Muhurta – ​The Best Time for Spiritual Progress​

If you are looking for dramatic spiritual progress, you must do your yogic practices before sunrise, which usually means starting the practices at the Brahma Muhurta, which is the last quarter of the night – anywhere between 3:30 a.m. to 5:30 or 6:00 a.m., or whatever is the time of sunrise. At that time, there is a certain process that you will become naturally conscious of if you do your practices in a certain way. If you are doing yogasanas, once your biology adjusts itself to the planet’s biology, every morning, you will wake up by yourself between 3:20 and 3:40.

The Brahma Muhurta is the best time for you to do practices if you want to transcend your physical nature or know dimensions that we refer to as spiritual.

This is not a confession, but it is supposed to be a matter of pride for me – when I was a little boy, and even when I became a little older, I just could not wake up in the morning, no matter what. It took an hour-long effort from all the family members to wake me up. After some time, they gave up calling me because I anyway slept through all the calling. Since shaking did not work either, they would make me sit up – I would sit up and fall asleep again.

Then they would drag me out of the bed. My mother would put toothpaste on the brush and give it to me. I would stick it in my mouth and sleep off. After I brushed my teeth, she would say, “Bathe before you go to school.” I would go into the bathroom, sit down there, and fall asleep. Once I was awake, you could not stop me, but waking me up was something else. If no one woke me up, I would sleep until noon time. Only when I got too hungry, I would wake up – otherwise, nothing else would wake me up.

I started practicing yoga at the age of 11, and after about 12 to 18 months, it began to happen, and has been so ever since, that when I first wake up and check the time, it is always just before 3:40. I may choose to get up or to lie down again depending upon what time I went to bed, but every day, no matter which time zone I am in, for at least one moment, I am awake at that time, because once you do certain things with your system, your biology is in sync with the biology of the planet. 3:40 is not a time that someone came up with – there is something within the human system that is connected to the planet and will make you come awake.

The Brahma Muhurta is the best time for you to do practices if you want to transcend your physical nature or know dimensions that we refer to as spiritual. But if you are looking just for physical health, then the sandhya kala around sunrise is the best time to do practices.


Yoga Tips – How To Breathe While Doing Yoga

November 5, 2014

5 min read

Summary: You should never breathe through your mouth when doing yoga asanas. You should always breathe through your nasal passage. When doing asanas, don't push yourself to a point where you have to breathe through your mouth. You should breathe slightly deeper than normal. Sadhguru says - "If you remain in the full posture for one minute and there is no aberration in your breath or your pulse rate, it means your body is coming to ease. If it comes to such a state of ease, there will be no dis-ease".

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Breathing Easy During Yogasanas

Questioner: Sadhguru, people who come to the yoga class with experience in aerobics or other types of exercise tend to breathe through their mouth while doing yogasanas. Does it make a difference whether we breathe through the nose or mouth? And why should we breathe slightly deeper than normal?

Sadhguru: If you are running at a certain pace, there is a tendency to open your mouth because breathing through your nostrils may not be sufficient. But you never ever breathe through your mouth during asanas. This is not an aerobic exercise – asanas are about building internal strength of the organs and the whole system. Within a few weeks of practicing asanas, naturally, your system will become more capable and your pulse rate will decrease.

Breathing through the mouth is both unaesthetic and unscientific. You should always breathe through your nasal passage.

Breathing through the mouth is both unaesthetic and unscientific. You should always breathe through your nasal passage – except in emergencies. If you are just born and they hold you upside down, or you are running a marathon and your pulse rate goes beyond a certain level, or it is your last breath and you want to live for one more minute – then it is all right. Otherwise, always breathe through your nostrils because the nasal passage is there for this purpose – make use of it. There are many benefits to this. One is the purification of the air. Another is that the temperature of the air gets adjusted to your body temperature before it enters the lungs, which is important.

In yogasanas, there is absolutely no necessity to breathe through your mouth. You should never push yourself to the point where you have to open your mouth. You must steadily build it up in such a way that your ability to breathe keeps increasing. We say you should breathe slightly deeper than normal because otherwise, if you go into an extreme position and I say “breathe normally,” you will not get enough oxygen and after some time you will gasp. Any gasp is an aberration in the breath. Any aberration in the breath naturally has an effect on various aspects of the body.

If you breathe in hot air, even if you are at sea level and there is enough oxygen, you will gasp as if you were in high altitude. The human body is comfortable at a certain temperature and it needs a certain air mixture. When I used to ride my motorcycle across the country and I would go up a mountain, from about 4000-5000 feet above mean sea level, the oxygen becomes less and the engine starts behaving differently. Since I always wanted the same level of power, I would stop, open up the carburetor, make the necessary adjustments, and only then ride on. If you come down to sea level, the engine starts knocking and you have to adjust the cylinder head again.

Bringing the body to ease

Recently, I was at the Volvo truck plant and they were showing me the electronic instruments that are attached to the engine nowadays. It detects the efficiency of the firing inside the internal combustion engine, the fuel temperature, the oil temperature, and if there is any small aberration, it informs the driver that this is what is happening. The driver may not be educated enough to make use of this information, so there is another computer which is correcting all these things. For a truck that is lugging up to 130 tons, even a small change in engine performance will translate into a big overall performance drop. This is just a small imitation of what your body always does. Even a small change in the air temperature will affect it, but the body has correction measures if you are breathing properly. It will correct itself for the rareness of air and for even a small change in the air temperature.

This time when we went to Kailash, we were at an altitude of over 16,000 feet for almost eight, ten days. Except for the Sherpas who always live in that altitude, I was the only one who did not take altitude-sickness medication, even though all the other participants were practicing more yoga on a daily basis than I do. But if you build your system over a period of time, you can enjoy the benefits on all levels, all the time – not only in high altitude. If the body comes to ease, the other possibilities open up. If the body is not at ease, the other possibilities will not open up because everything is focused on making the physical part right.

This is what yoga is about – you want to bring your body to such a state of ease that you do not even know whether your body exists or not. You cannot forget the parts of your body that hurt right now. You can only forget what is at ease. To bring the body to such ease, you must breathe slightly deeper than normal, and over time, in any asana, if you are in the perfect posture, your breath should become normal. If your body is in good shape and you are within a certain age range, after about 12 to 18 months of intense practice, you will come to a point where in a full asana posture, there will be no need to breathe deeper than normal anymore. Just the normal breath will be more than enough, without gasping. If you remain in the full posture for one minute and there is no aberration in your breath or your pulse rate, it means your body is coming to ease. If it comes to such a state of ease, there will be no dis-ease. And if there is no state of dis-ease in you whatsoever, then the body has energy to explore other dimensions of life. Otherwise, the body keeps you busy for the rest of your life.


Yoga Tips – How To Make The Body Cooperate?

July 22, 2016

4 min read

Summary: Sadhguru tells us that every body is the way it is, and will behave a certain way, because of the karmic information that it has. You may notice that in certain asanas, the body does not bend. Sadhsguru says - "If you pay close attention to the body, you will see, in certain parts of the body, there is no experience, no sensation. There are blocks or gaps in the sensory process because of your karmic structure. Do not pay attention to such gaps. You cannot consciously fix them. Your effort should just be to create a conducive atmosphere within you. When you have done everything that you can do, just wait, without counting the time."

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Hatha Yoga – How to Deal with Physical Weak Points?

Question: Namaskaram, Sadhguru. There is a part of my head where there seems to be some kind of blockage. This impedes my ability to focus and be totally involved. I can feel the rest of the body much more vividly. What can I do about this?

Sadhguru: Hatha yoga is a way of paying attention to the various layers of the body – Annamaya Kosha, Manomaya Kosha, Pranamaya Kosha, Vignanamaya Kosha, and Anandamaya Kosha – physical body, mental body, energy body, transitory body between the physical and the non-physical dimension, and the non-physical bliss body. Even on the level of the physical body, in different asanas, you may notice that certain parts of your body do not bend or respond. But if you take an MRI, everything looks okay. The body has taken shape in a particular way based on the karmic information that you have.

Your effort should just be to create a conducive atmosphere within you. When you have done everything that you can do, just wait, without counting the time.

There are different levels of information or memory in this context. There is evolutionary memory, there is genetic memory and there is karmic memory. In a way, the evolutionary memory and the genetic memory are also a karmic process. Depending upon the nature of your karmic memory, certain parts of the body will behave in a certain way. No matter what you do, they do not cooperate, even though, if you check them out with your doctor, they seem perfectly fine. If you pay close attention to the body, you will see, in certain parts of the body, there is no experience, no sensation. There are blocks or gaps in the sensory process because of your karmic structure.

Do not pay attention to such gaps. You cannot consciously fix them. If you try very hard to do so, they may even increase in size and intensity. Just keep doing your sadhana. Sadhana is about generally creating a conducive atmosphere. It should never be focused on a specific benefit. There are certain aspects of you that can never be changed with conscious effort. This does not mean they cannot be changed at all, but that is not within the realm of your conscious will. Your effort should just be to create a conducive atmosphere within you. When you have done everything that you can do, just wait, without counting the time.

Using the Physical to Transcend the Physical

If you do not know how to wait, your entire life will be limited to the physical, because you will always be thinking about how to get from one point to another. When you want to go somewhere, you want to cover a distance, which means it is within the physical realm. In a way, time is also a physical quantity. You can describe a geographical distance either in units of length or units of time. For your daily activities, you may have to fix a time. But for your own growth, never fix a time. If, let us say, you start counting how many asanas you can do in a particular time, yoga becomes circus. The important thing is to melt into it. Every asana is a way of becoming fluid and a part of it.

Hatha yoga is about making the body so strong and so subtle that you do not even know if it is there.

We are using the physical to transcend the physical, not to strengthen it. But we know, we understand and we respect that the physical has a right to be, and that it has a power of its own. If we do not keep it at absolute ease, it will be in our way. If your body is not in a good shape, it will take your entire attention. Only when it is really well, you can completely ignore it. We are keeping it well so that it does not become an obstacle. There is a difference in the fundamental ethos of yoga and exercise. We are not doing yoga to build, look at and present our muscles. Hatha yoga is about making the body so strong and so subtle that you do not even know if it is there. If it sits here, it just sits here, without even asking for water, food, going to the toilet and things like that. This means it is very low maintenance. That is the quality of a good machine, and that is the quality of a good body too, that it does not seek your attention. But the world has turned this upside down – for most people, a good body means it is seeking attention all the time.

Do not worry if a certain part of your body does not cooperate. Use the remaining part of it well, do your sadhana, and create a conducive atmosphere within yourself. Then a little push, and things will clear up.


Tips To Get The Most Out Of Yoga Practices

April 13, 2013

5 min read

Summary: Sadhguru gives a few tips and guidelines to follow to make the most out of your yoga practices. #1 Closed eyes - When doing asanas, keep your eyes closed; #2 Empty Stomach - While practicing asanas, you should be on an empty stomach; #3 Cold Water Dip; #4 Frequeny Of Practices; #5 Using Mirrors / Listening to Music - never use mirror or music when practicing; #6 Speaking - never speak when practicing.

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article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Classical Yoga: The Right Conditions

#1 Closed Eyes

Sadhguru: For a human being, the visual apparatus are the most dominant. When you close your eyes, the world disappears – unless you have your own false world in your head! The eyes will naturally close for any internalization because the visual apparatus engage us with the outward. If you just close them, you can still hear, smell and feel, but half the world is shut off. So internalization happens best when your eyes are closed. When you’re doing asanas, you want to internalize everything.

#2 Empty Stomach

While practicing yogasanas, you should not only be on an empty stomach, your bowels should be empty. Anything that is not the body should be out of the body if you want to move your energies upward. Yogic practices are not exercises, they are a way of restructuring your body and recreating yourself the way you want to be. If such a thing has to be done, nothing should be there other than your body.

Yoga means you are beginning to have a partnership with the creator; you can’t do it all by yourself, but you can create the necessary atmosphere for him to do the job. The first time you were created, it was not your choice, it happened from genetic memory. But now you are reinventing yourself step-by-step the way you want yourself to be.

Being a partner with the source of creation means a huge infusion of intelligence, the kind of intelligence that you cannot believe possible. If this has to happen there should be no obstacles – the food you put in or the waste you produced, both these things should be out.

#3 Cold Water

Before beginning your practice, it is always best to be immersed in or to allow a certain volume of water which is about five to eight degree centigrade lower than room temperature to flow over you. If this happens, the pores between the skin cells open up, and that’s important for practicing yoga because we want the cellular structure of the body to be charged with a different dimension of energy. Why one person seems to be far more alive than the other is essentially because of this. Once your cellular structure is charged with energy, it remains youthful for a very long time.

#4 Frequency of Practice

The Yoga Sutra says – sukham sthiram asanam. The goal is to achieve a state where your asana is comfortable and stable; if you remain like this for any number of hours it stays the same way without causing any disturbance internally. This is when your perception becomes bigger and bigger.

The point is not about doing yoga every day or twice a week, the intention is to knead the body in such a way that we can re-mold it. So, how much time do you have, to do the necessary work upon yourself – that much time you must do it.

This body is just clay. It gets burnt with your karmic stuff and becomes rigid. Established memory is what we are referring to as karma. It is because of that bank of memory that the physiological and psychological substance becomes rigid. We are trying to undo that. The idea of asana is that you are working with the body and kneading it in such a way that after some time it is un-burnt. Then, you can shape it whichever way you want because the energies are mobile.

#5 Using Mirrors/Listening to Music

There should never be a mirror or music when you practice Hata Yoga. The culture of using mirrors has come from body-building and gymnasiums because they want to admire their bodies. In yoga, that should not be the attitude at all. If you look at many yogis, their physical structure is not like that of an athlete – they are quite ordinary. Many of them are even pot-bellied because they never look at a mirror. For them, the only thing is they must grow.

If you want to get the involvement of that which is the source of creation within you, your body, mind, and energy must be absolutely involved. If you look at a mirror, will you look at just yourself? Let’s be straight about this. You will look at everyone else, isn’t it? And your mental focus is most important while practicing asanas.

Classical yoga demands a certain involvement of your body, mind and energy, and the innermost core. That which is the source of creation, which we usually refer to as the divine, will not yield unless you are one hundred percent. If you hold back or deviate a little, it will not be there for you.

#6 Speaking

An asana is a dynamic way of meditating. Because you can’t sit still, you’re doing something else to become meditative. That which is absolutely comfortable and stable is your asana. When your body is at ease, your mind is at ease and your energy is at full vibrance and balance. If you sit like this, you are naturally meditative. To come to a state of naturally being meditative, the preparatory step is asana. So in a way, asanas are a dynamic way of meditating.

If you speak, so many things change dramatically, not just physiologically but in the energy parameters also. So, not talking during the asana is not just a norm, it is a rule. You must never, ever speak in postures because your focus, breath and what happens to your energy system are most important; otherwise you will disturb the system. If you want to speak, there’s no need to do asana. Just go jogging and talk to each other.


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