To live a yogic life, you have to spread the yogic awareness throughout the day. One of the biggest shortcomings in people, even yoga practitioners and the advocates of yoga, is that they are not able to sustain a routine and discipline. They think, ‘My yoga is done in the classroom and when I am not in the classroom, I don’t have to think about yoga’. That is a big problem. It means you don’t understand the meaning of the word yoga. There is a sutra in the Yoga Sutras about regularity , continuity, and believing in what you do. If you remember that sutra, it will help you understand the path of sadhana.
Yoga is definitely not a classroom teaching. You have heard from all the speakers today, yesterday and the day before yesterday, that the yoga which they learnt was more from interaction, observation and self-correction and not in the classroom session of asana, pranayama, yoga nidra and pratyahara.
The biggest misunderstanding is that you think, ‘I practise my yoga every day from this time to this time and then I am free to do other things’. No. You are not free to do other things. You may not do your asana, pranayama, yoga nidra and meditation but still you are not free. You have to maintain the yogic awareness and attitude. It is that aspect which is going to help you in life, not the practice of asana and pranayama. So take yoga away into your personal life from classroom learning, teaching and practice to a ‘moment-to-moment’ practice.
To make yoga into a moment-to-moment practice, you have to look at the whole component of the Satyananda Yoga system that Sri Swamiji devised. We can make capsules of the practices for different times of the day. Spread the practice over a 12-hour period when you are doing it alone. In the morning practise the three mantras. The practice of mantras pacifies the mind. That is the meaning of the word mantra: that which pacifies the mind. You may think, ‘Why do I have to chant the mantras in the morning when my mind is already pacified? I should do it when my mind is disturbed’. Here you are only listening to the words and not the intention.
For you pacifying the mind happens only at the time of stress, the stress that you feel. However, mind is always under stress, even when you are not aware of it. The subconscious and the unconscious activities continue to take place. Even now conscious and unconscious activities are taking place but you are not aware of them. To develop that awareness is important. I am aware when I move my finger like this, I am aware when I move it like that, I am aware when I move my hand like this, I am aware when I bring my hands down like this. Not a single act that I do goes unnoticed by me. Even if it is flexing a finger here right now, I am aware that my finger is being flexed. That awareness has to come. Continuous, constant awareness has to be built up. This can only happen if in the morning you are able to make three sankalpas: one for the body, one for the mind, and one for the entire life. The body requires health – sankalpa of health. Mind requires wisdom – sankalpa of wisdom. Life requires distress-free living – sankalpa for overcoming distress. You begin with these three chants and sankalpas in the morning and you plant the seeds in your mind when you are fresh after sleep. After chanting the Mahamrityunjaya mantra , Gayatri mantra and the 32 names of Durga, go about your daily business.
—23 October 2018, Munger Yoga Symposium