he world has gone crazy.
The technology that was supposed to liberate us now seems to control us, the flood of information designed to inform now overwhelms us, and the lofty ideals of what we should be, have, and accomplish in life drive us into a frenzy of achievement. Today, stress, anxiety, and the constant sense of unease have become constant companions for most everyone on the planet.
But it’s not our fault.
Here's a fact: the human nervous system simply wasn’t built for the prolonged and multitudinous demands of our modern world. That’s because the nervous system evolved in a much simpler time: it’s at its best when it is faced with one or two challenges at a time; it’s at its best when dealing with threats that last minutes, not years; and it’s at its best when it is nurtured with periods of true rest and recuperation that simply aren’t afforded in the land of the 24-hour news cycle.
Yes, the world’s gone crazy, but you don’t have to. Thanks to the technology of yoga.
To be clear, I have chosen to use the word “technology” very consciously here. According to Webster’s Dictionary, “technology” is defined as: a manner of accomplishing a task especially using technical processes, methods, or knowledge.
And while few may be presenting it this way, yoga is indeed a technique-based science; it’s a rich collection of body-mind technologies that is the near-perfect antidote to today’s out-of-control world. Rightly used, yoga can neutralize most, if not all, of the overwhelming demands of modern life. Rightly used.
To help us all get the very most from this ancient science of mind, I’m offering the Top Three Secrets to Getting the Most from Your Yoga. I hope it serves:
PRO TIP #1: Regularity
Years ago, a prominent author from the U.S. was interviewing the great Swami Sivananda Saraswati at his ashram along the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh, India. The author was successful by all the usual standards with several books published including a New York Times best seller.
But he was curious.
He knew that Swami Sivananda too was an author, and was keenly aware of how he was able to churn out new works at an astounding rate. At the time of the interview, the Swami had authored nearly 200 books.
Given that the author couldn’t manage to pen a new work faster than one every few years, he needed to know what it was about the Swami that allowed him to be so prolific: was it the Swami’s connection with the divine? His ability to clear his mind? A secret stash of magical pixie dust?
So, near the conclusion of his interview, the author recognized his chance and put the question to the Swami.
“Swamiji,” he began, “I have been working on my latest book for over two years, and my previous novel took me over three and a half years to complete. You’ve written nearly 200 books and I can’t even begin to understand how you’ve done it. Can you share with me your secret?”
The wise sage smiled, and with a little chuckle, he leaned in close and said quietly: “Regularity is the key to all of my successes.”
“That’s it? Regularity?”
“Yes. That is it,” the Swami answered with a smile and a shrug.
What Swami Sivananda realized is that any great accomplishment, whether it be writing a book, fostering a healthy marriage, or forging a happy life, is not a single monolithic accomplishment. Rather, it is a compilation of a million tiny acts done regularly, and overtime. And it’s the regular performance of these tiny acts that births the magnificent result—whatever it may be.
And so it goes with our yoga practices.
The daily ritual of meditation, the attendance of our favorite yoga teachers’ classes, the intention to remain mindful in our activities, and the effort to be compassionate to those around us are just a few of examples of our yoga practice’s tiny acts that eventually yield that magnificent result we desire—our best and happiest lives.
It is the regular and consistent performance of these tiny acts that is the secret from which all greatness comes.
Begin each day with a mindfulness ritual. It might be a seated meditation, it could be in contemplative prayer, it could even be an act of communing with nature. The key is to engage in a measured and deliberate manner, one that will soothe both body and mind into their natural, calm state.
Engage in a yoga practice session a minimum of three times a week (note: this need not be a yoga class, although most of us do benefit from the structure and guidance provided in the formal class setting).
Pursue development opportunities that deepen your understanding of yoga’s technology and how it can be applied to nourish the out-of-balance body and mind.
COMING SOON: PRO TIP #2 & #3
Eric Walrabenstein is a best-selling author, ordained Yogacharya, and nationally-renowned educator in the fields of yoga and mind-body wellness. His work focuses on helping people to practically apply the lesser-known aspects of yoga and mindfulness to solve some of the most urgent and immediate problems of our time.
He is the founder of Yoga Pura, one of Arizona’s largest yoga wellness centers, the creator of the BOOTSTRAP Yoga System developed for the U.S. military, and the creator of the BrightLife Method, a first-of-its-kind program to help heal addictions of every kind. Eric's work has been widely featured in the media including on ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Success magazine, Yoga Journal, and beyond.