What do you think when you read the word “yoga”? Before, I care less when seeing this. It’s stuff posh people do, and I’m not a posh person. Here comes January 2020, and I landed a home-based job of content editing in a travel-like company. Most of their packages are yoga holidays, so I got to learn more about it. I never thought yoga can bring so much wealth to your health and wellness. I got interested in this and been wanting to attend a yoga class. However, I know that it is expensive.
After the Taal’s eruption, a Facebook fundraising event caught my attention—a donation-fee yoga class! Tada! You are so great, Lord! What a surprise!
Ms. Cath Nanta, a Filipina yoga instructress, graced me by teaching breathing exercises for beginners. To tell you the truth, I arrived after the event because of the heavy traffic. Ms. Cath was so kind as to accept my request to still teach me yoga. She asked me what do I want, then I answered if there was a yoga exercise to clear my mind.
After several minutes of yoga breathing exercises and chatting, I waved my farewell. Later, several meters from the venue, I realized that, hey! I don’t feel exhausted and I feel very light and refreshing. Would you believe that yoga could do that?
Fast forward, Ms. Cath invited me to a Cultivating Yoga Ethics talk by Madhava Dasi, a certified instructor of yoga, asanas, and tai-chi. It’s an event through Google Meet. So here are the newfound treasures about yoga I learned during the talk.
Yamas, the Dont’s
1. Ahimsa - It is respecting all living forms and refraining from violent acts. It’s just not the physical pain that you can cause but also verbally like hateful words.
2. Satya - Always speak the truth. Lying is not an option.
3. Asteya - This means non-stealing. I kind of remember God’s 10 commandments here.
4. Brahmacharya - This is being aware of directing your energy. Dasi focused on having celibacy, being in control of your sexual desire, and abstain from doing sex if you’re still single. I strongly agree with her. Every single person should reserve their body to their spouse before marriage.
5. Aparigraha - It’s freedom from greed. It is living a simple life—you don’t collect material things because your mind will not be still as she explained.
Niyamas, the Do’s
6. Shaucha - or clean. Your body & mind should be clean, inside & outside. You should be careful about what you expose your senses to because it can cause a disturbance.
I don’t read too many posts on my Facebook newsfeed because I don’t like to receive negative vibes from rants.
7. Santosha - or satisfaction. Dasi explained to us to learn to keep your mind satisfied, material happiness is fleeting (here today, gone tomorrow) with no fulfillment. She shared a story. When she was still working in a very luxurious boutique hotel, the first in the world, she observed something. Items like a pillowcase and gold bangle priced $200 and $25,000 respectively. A male royalty shopped there. Before entering the store, he looks sad and when he finished, he still looked the same.
You can never find genuine happiness in worldly things.
8. Tapasya - or austerity. She taught us we can tolerate all kinds of difficulties. Like this quarantine period. As the adage goes, “This too shall pass.”
9. Swadhyaya - the introspection. She said that in the morning think about what you are grateful for and things to do for the day. Practice meditation. This is the time for your purpose. It’s studying to become a better person, at work, etc. Learn the scripture and the holy people.
The thing I like about spending the morning alone time is that I can hear my thoughts and contemplate.
10. Ishvara (supreme Lord) Pranidhana (devotion) - Who are we doing this for? This is focusing on the Lord’s pleasure. It differs from dry speculation - learning the glory of the Lord with your mind, without studying.
Dasi also defines what kirtan is - it cleanses the mind and the heart’s longing. We did a relaxing mantra that goes Gopala Govinda Rama Madana Mohana, (balakhilya.com translation: all glories to the Supreme Lord Govinda (Gopala), whose eternal consort Radha is the source of His enjoyment).
What I love about the entire talk is how these beliefs make one life simple, balanced, and some of it is already being practiced in my life. It can be great guidance in living life peacefully in this commercial-filled era.