When times are hard our yoga practice becomes our sail-boat that helps us cross the stormy sea. Our yoga practice is not only the daily practice of physical postures known as yogasana or simply asana but also the daily practice of living our lives.
When times are hard we feel fragmented. It is a great challenge to stay focused, to move forward with our lives. Such times demand that we make conscious use of our most precious resource, namely time. The ancients have given us three modes of being that, to continue our metaphor, allow us to cross uncharted waters in our sail-boat. Any one of these can take us safely across when combined with our asana practice.
The first mode is known as bhakti yoga. This is the devotional mode. One dedicates every waking and sleeping moment to a cause, a deity, a principle, anything that one believes in whole heartedly. Bhakti yoga is very effective when you have something that you can single-mindedly focus on. That then becomes your meditation, night and day.
The second mode is known as gyan yoga. This is the mode of the intellect. One immerses oneself in the discovery of new knowledge, gaining a deeper and deeper understanding and perspective upon our subject of study. Gyan yoga is not simply book-knowledge. You study for your self the practical implications of that knowledge and act upon your understanding.
The third mode is known as karma yoga. This is the mode of work-for-the-sake-of-the-work-itself. The Bhagavad Gita defines this mode as follows: You have the right to your work but not to the fruits of your work. You simply immerse your self in your work with no thought of the results but simply connecting to the act of working as your meditation practice. The beauty of karma yoga is that anyone can do it in absolutely any kind of work that one is engaged in. You could be hand-washing dishes, working in a library, painting a house, directing a movie--all that matters is that you do your work with no ego-attachment to the results of the work.
Which mode we pick depends on our personality and personal preferences. Joining any one these modes with our asana practice allows our sail-boat to stay afloat and cross the stormy seas. After all the word yoga means to join: we must join the practice of living and the practice of doing to create wholeness in our lives.
Posted by Abhay Burjor Ghiara at 11/21/2016