Learning to Flow with Life

Swami Muktidharma Saraswati (New Zealand)

My journey with yoga started in the early seventies. At that time the young generation were becoming conscious of the limitations of the industrial approach to life. They were searching for a balanced system of life, for something deeper, which could bring fulfilment to the human heart. It was this thirst for permanent fulfilment that brought the amazing science of yoga into my life. I became so immersed and dedicated to yoga that immediate results started showing in my physical, mental and deeper inner life. Yoga has continued to give me endless blessings and has transformed my life completely.

The journey of yoga took me to India and to my guru, Swami Satyananda. Living with him for 16 years, I imbibed the essence of yoga in my heart, and now have the great honour of sharing this with others. I have never opened a textbook on yoga. In the ashram, I did many types of work such as cleaning toilets, cooking, sweeping, gardening, packing books, construction and public relations work, almost without rest and expectation. These activities were transformed into yoga practices by adopting the right attitude. I learned that yoga is not only a science reduced to physical postures, but a posture of the mind adopted in order to flow with life. Many people talk about the art of flowing with life, but are not really able to do so. You will know if you are able to flow with life when a very difficult situation arises. If you can accept the difficulties with the same attitude as you accept positive events, then you can say you are flowing with life. The yoga of truly flowing with life was the difficult training that I was given in the ashram. Sometimes I slept in the worst room, and then I would be given the best room, and then moved outside under a tree with no room. I had to learn to have the same attitude in each and every experience.

Once, when least expecting it, I was assigned to teach a stress management course to 25 executives from an important company. I had no idea how to do this, but it was my guru’s instruction. Suddenly I felt an energy transmission in my heart and was able to give the seminar. Yoga came to me, not intellectually, but as a gift through my heart.

This personal story illustrates that it is important how we teach yoga. We need the scientific and practical approach to make it valid in this day and age, but true yoga comes through the heart and through a connection with a higher source. A yoga teacher should use the external knowledge taught in a teachers training course, but also reach deeper inside. The true teacher is able to empty him or herself, so that the teachings can come through. It is important to be humble when teaching yoga. It should not inflate our ego, rather we should have an attitude of service to humanity.

The necessity for happiness and fulfilment is obvious. This is why an increasing number of people are breaking away from present societal norms and searching for a more promising lifestyle. Forty years ago, Swami Satyananda said, “Yoga is the culture of tomorrow.” We can see how his prophecy is coming true. The ancient science of yoga is becoming one of the more popular systems for health management and life improvement. This is creating a fertile field for the birth of a new culture of more aware and balanced human beings. As yoga teachers we are an integral part of this shift and have the capacity to influence others in a positive way while continuing to grow ourselves.