Yogic Lifestyle Sadhana

In April 2020, Bihar School of Yoga launched the Yogic Lifestyle Sadhana online. Inspired by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, this holistic yoga sadhana is specifically designed for a world in lock down. The virtual world, however, is open to one and all, and this sadhana, with its hyper-links to books and audio, is a valuable addition to Satyam Yoga Prasad (satyamyogaprasad.net) for these challenging times.

YOGA magazine is pleased to publish the content of the Yogic Lifestyle Sadhana with the humble request to its readers to share it and the website links with family, friends, neighbours that all may benefit by introducing yoga into their lives.

Blessed Self Hari Om

The power of hope and faith shines most brightly in the darkest of times. The simple hope of today, that things will improve tomorrow, can become a guiding light and a force of illumination in life. The ability to change, to improve and to transform lies within every person, and this transformative force is enhanced through yogavidya. Yogavidya is the catalyst for positive change in life. Now we have ample time to apply the principles of a yogic lifestyle in our daily routine, to help, support and inspire each other to attain physical and psychological health and well being, and ignite the flame of hope and positivity all around.

For the benefit of people across the globe, following the inspiration of Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, Bihar School of Yoga is pleased to release a complete yoga lifestyle capsule, with techniques of sanyam, yamas, niyamas, chantings, asanas, pranayamas, relaxation, japa and meditation. Please share this website link with all aspirants, to avail of this opportunity to discover Satyam, Shivam and Sundaram in life.

With prayers for health, harmony and peace. Hari Om Tat Sat.

LIVING A YOGIC LIFESTYLE PROGRAM

Today, when we are spending more time at our homes with families or alone, the question comes “What do I do the whole day?” and “How do I spend my time constructively?” This time of lock down is a golden opportunity for us to reflect on how we live, what we want in life and how we can improve ourselves and our lifestyles now and for the future. It is a chance to adopt a spiritual yogic lifestyle and create a good structure for the day. This can be achieved by living our normal daily routines with a focus on:

  • acquiring good physical health to boost the immune system
  • good mental and emotional balance to maintain clarity, happiness, harmony, contentment, positivity and creativity
  • developing a spiritual culture in life.

Swami Sivananda Saraswati says:

Now is the perfect time to sow a thought, reap an action, sow an action, reap a habit, sow a habit, reap a character, sow a character and reap a destiny.

In order to achieve the above one needs to develop the idea of sanyam. Sanyam literally means restraint, but it also indicates a process by which all dimensions of the human personality and lifestyle are balanced and beautified. A yogic lifestyle is based on sanyam, along with a continued effort to improve and do better.

It will be a time of positive change for all of us if we apply ourselves. If we can acknowledge and accept our faults, and see our positive and supportive contributions to the problems we face. We as individuals can change our lifestyles to live more simply, more harmoniously with ourselves, our family and friends and our home – Planet Earth.

YOGIC LIFESTYLE SADHANA

A comprehensive yogic lifestyle sadhana is being presented here designed for this time of restricted movement from and even within the house. You are free to incorporate one, two or more components of this lifestyle sadhana to your daily routine. Select the components that you can easily follow and are inclined towards, adjust them with other daily commitments. Balance your family, social, professional, personal and spiritual yogic aspirations. Remember an opportunity like this is rare, so make the most of the day to improve and tweak your lifestyle. Connect to yoga and live yoga from moment to moment.

Please remember that this is NOT an anti-Corona yoga routine. The aim of this sadhana is to improve and enhance the physical, mental and pranic health of the individual and develop an immunity to ward off all future debilitating situations.

Please practise the yoga lifestyle sadhana safely according to your level of health, fitness and experience. Maintain awareness of physical movement and breath to ensure that you do not strain or overexert.

Yamas and niyamas

Apply the following yamas and niyamas of yoga in your life and routine gradually and as convenient.

Shaucha and swasthya, hygiene and health

Focus of personal, house and environmental hygiene. Keep all areas clean and prepare individual sets containing towels, soaps, toothbrush, tooth paste, shaving sets and other necessary items for the bathroom. At home do not encourage common use of soaps, towels, pastes and creams etc.; and similarly sets of cups, plates, spoons, forks, glasses etc. should be kept separate for each member of the household.

Focus on regularizing your practice of yoga asanas, pranayamas, exercises, meditation etc. to attain good health, immunity, vitality, relaxation and total well being

Santosha and aparigraha, contentment and minimum needs

Observe yourself and try to remain content and peaceful in all situations and times.

Cultivate the habit to live happily with minimum comfortable requirements and needs. Don’t be greedy, insecure and uncertain – for today’s restrictions are tomorrow’s freedom.

Kshama and namaskara, forgiveness and humility

Manage pressure, irritation and uncontrolled outbursts of emotions by forgiveness. Forgiveness helps in keeping a cool and clear decisive mind.

Develop humility in speech, interaction and behaviour. Humility is an antidote for many situations related to ego, arrogance and anger.

Danti and indriya nigraha, guiding the behaviour of the mind and the senses

Whenever an idea, thought or desire for anything crops up in your mind, ask yourself: Do I want it? Do I need it? And separate the fanciful desire from the actual need.

Manahprasad, gift of happiness

Be happy and make others happy. If you depend on external circumstances to make you happy, you will always swing from happiness to unhappiness. You have to tap into positivity that comes from within.

Niranjan challenge

Extend and live the moments of joy, happiness, harmony, humility and cooperation from few minutes to one full day and night – to 24 hours.

Early morning on waking, if possible before sunrise

Three mantra sadhana

  • Mahamrityunjaya Mantra x 11
  • Gayatri Mantra x 11
  • 32 names of Durga x 3

Shatkarmas*

  • Neti every third day
  • Kunjal once a week
  • Laghoo shankaprakashalana once a month
  • Drink 1 glass of water in the morning upon waking with a twist of lemon, then shower.

Morning sadhana

Daily chantings

  • Ganesh Atharvashirsha x 1–4
  • Hanuman Chalisa
  • Guru Stotram

Morning practices

Asana capsule*

To strengthen immunity, release tensions, awaken the vital forces

  1. Pawanmuktasana part 1
  2. Pawanmuktasana part 2
  3. Pawanmuktasana part 3
  4. Tadasana
  5. Tiryak tadasana
  6. Kati chakrasana
  7. Surya namaskara
  8. Shavasana, whenever required

Pranayama capsule*

  1. Kapalbhati x 10 rounds
  2. Bhramari x 15 rounds
  3. Nadi shodhana 1:1:1:1 x 15 rounds
  4. Deep yogic breathing, 10 minutes

Diet

Learn how to cook and eat home cooked meals safely and minimally. A yogic diet is a simple natural diet.

  • Breakfast – toast, poha, porridge (oats, dalia, suji) with dried fruits served with milk and sugar.
  • Lunch – khichari super food.
  • Dinner – soups or dal, chapatis, bread if available, potatoes, or locally available vegetables.

Do's and dont's before meals:

  • Incorporating mantras or prayers before meals encourages gratitude and respect for the simple food we are lucky to have.
  • Try and come together as a family for at least one meal a day. Share each other’s experiences and lift each one up in positivity and joy.
  • Avoid soft and hard drinks with meals.
  • During the day drink at least six to eight glasses of water.

Morning grih seva yoga routine

Collectively clean up the kitchen after breakfast.

  • Collectively clean, tidy and organize bedrooms, bathrooms, living area, the house.
  • Clean a different area each day with full efficiency and creativity.
  • Write a list of projects for the house and things to be done and start working down the list.
  • Finish the strenuous projects in the morning before lunch while mental and physical energy is high.
  • Take time to actively and efficiently participate in and finish your professional, official, social and family obligations. Don’t put off things for later.

Gardening

If you have a terrace garden, front or back garden, a plot of land, a green house, a farm, growing vegetables would be a valuable hobby. Even a small vegetable garden on a terrace can provide some simple daily requirements, such as tomatoes, lemons, herbs, eggplant, capsicum and other seasonal vegetables.

  • Look after and beautify your garden or terrace.
  • Create a place where you want to spend time.
  • Let your relationship with your garden and nature grow and find peace in your creation.

Afternoon

  • Rest after lunch for 40 minutes and practise yoga nidra.
  • Or set a time for yoga nidra practice daily at a specific time (morning or afternoon.) This sadhana is 30 minutes long and helps in destressing, relaxing, recovering, recharging. Use your sankalpa wisely.
  • Contribute to bettering of the vegetable and flower garden.
  • Help prepare dinner as fun and game with mantras, happiness and love.
  • Encourage participation of all family members in food preparation as well.

Evening

Develop a hobby such as music, painting, writing, crafts and creative innovations. There is creative power within us all, you have to discover and utilize them properly. Now is that time. Read a book that inspires you and increases your inner knowledge bank. Share your evening meal together. Do not share cutlery and plates. Start your dinner with mantras or prayers of gratitude for the food you are lucky to have by chanting the following mantras:

Om brahmaparnam, brahma havir, Brahmagnau brahmanahutam, Brahmaiva tenaghantavyam, Brahmakarmasamadhina.

After dinner clear away the meal and clean the kitchen together.

Sri Swamiji says that music has great power. Through mantras and music, the vibrations around us and within us can change and elevate our mood. Music can help us to become more positive and creative. Swami Sivananda would put music to all his teachings, to uplift, inspire and help us remember his words and wisdom. There are many recordings of different mantras available, use them throughout the day. Play and listen to the Annapoorna Stotram and other mantras, chants, kirtans, bhajans, stotrams, classical music, folk and traditional music as you prepare and cook dinner and/or even at other times of the day to create a positive and contented ambience in your place. Sing and play kirtans, stotrams and songs with family or alone.

Chanting of Mahamritunjaya mantra daily 108 times

The Mahamritunjaya mantra is a very powerful mantra for protection strength and healing. It should be chanted 108 times or one mala every evening. Try to maintain this as a regular daily sadhana. If there is only one sadhana you can maintain during this time, let it be the japa of Mahamritunjaya mantra.

Mahamritunjaya havan every Saturday

For those experienced practitioners who know the process of havan and have the training, havan kund, havan samagri and space required for havan should perform the Mahamritunjaya mantra havan every Saturday evening in the home as per the tradition of Ganga Darshan Vishwa Yoga Peeth, Munger. This havan has the power to purify the internal and external environment. All ingredients used should be pure and natural and the system as per the training given at Ganga Darshan Vishwa Yoga Peeth. The ash from the fire can be used in the garden.

If you do not have the training in how to perform a havan, simply chant the mantra 108 times.

Personal mantra japa

You can do your own personal mantra as per the number of rounds suggested at the time of initiation or use one of the meditation recordings every evening as daily meditations. (Mantra japa can be done at other times also, as time permits).

Meditations

Meditation can be practised anytime during the day, however as a routine it is often easiest to perform meditation when the family have gone to bed and the house is peaceful and quiet. Meditation before sleep leads to a deeper and more relaxed sleep.

Yoga nidra

If you do not know how to practise yoga nidra, you will find original beginners, intermediate and advanced yoga nidra recordings by both Swami Satyananda and Swami Niranjanananda as well as basic yoga nidras in over 25 international languages at satyamyogaprasad.net.

Ajapa japa

Ajapa japa is an ancient and simple meditation practice involving the awareness of breath, mantra and prana in the psychic pathways of the body. It is a powerful meditation for calming and stilling a turbulent mind and helps to access deeper creative and peaceful aspects of ourselves. Ajapa japa balances and clears the mind and the pranas to discover our true potential. At this time when the mind is full of fears and anxieties, ajapa japa is a soothing balm to calm the mind.

Antar mouna

Through this pratyahara practice one becomes aware of inner thoughts and thought processes. We become the observer, the witness or the drashta of the mind. Witnessing is the ability to take a step back and observe thoughts, reactions and conditionings. Through antar mouna meditation you see yourself clearly and can improve or change your limiting, restrictive, tamasic mental conditionings and direct the mental energy towards more efficient and productive applications. In these stressful and anxiety filled days, managing the mind and its responses is a valuable aspect of your life. Your life is what you live in your mind This practice will help reduce the useless anxious thoughts and bring in more constructive and positive thoughts. It is all within your power, all you need to do is take time to be aware, observe and let go of those conditions that restrict you from becoming creative, innovative and happy.

Samiksha or Review of the Day

Samiksha or Review of the Day should be done in bed before going to sleep. In this practice reflect over the day like a movie in rewind from the time you woke up in the morning to the time you go to sleep. It is a review to see how you have lived your day; the actions, reactions, behaviour, interactions, prominent thoughts and habits. While reviewing the day you will come across problems or difficulties with people or situations. Through this meditation you observe those situations and analyse how you could have dealt with them in a better manner, what could have been a better way and if it happened again how could you go about to bring more balance and harmony into your life.

This practice is a process of observing, adjusting and ultimately changing your behaviour.

SWAN Analysis

Whenever possible take the time to write on a sheet of paper:

  1. what you perceive and know to be your STRENGTHS;
  2. what you perceive to be your short comings and WEAKNESSES;
  3. what you perceive to be your desires and AMBITIONS for your self, your family, your life; and
  4. what you perceive and know to be the NEEDS for yourself and your family.

Look at, analyse and edit the list daily by being truthful to yourself and gradually an inner picture of yourself will emerge. Now pick up a strength and develop it even more for some time; pick up a weakness and work to convert it into its opposite, positive strength; look at an ambition and realistically, objectively, analyse the ambition to know its nature, is it fantasy and imagination, desired but not achievable or achievable; look at your needs and the opportunities or procedures to achieve your needs.

Sleep

  • Have one glass of water before sleep.
  • Try to sleep early so you can wake early. This will allow your body and mind to rest and rejuvenate properly. The physical biorhythms harmonize with the natural biorhythms of the sun and earth. Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
  • Avoid wasting hours in late night television or internet and social media. Keep yourself educated and up to date on current affairs and the global situation, but avoid negative input and media. Spend time reading inspiring books, articles and quotes of spiritual masters and inspiring people.
  • The Review of the Day should be done in bed before going to sleep

FINAL WORD

Swami Satyananda envisioned that yoga would emerge as the culture of tomorrow and guide the course of world events. As our society continues to face unprecedented and unexpected challenge after challenge, one can now see how prophetic his words are. Yoga provides every individual with the tools required to live healthy, constructive, positive and contented lives. Through yoga one learns how to contribute to society in a positive way by focusing on ourselves and our own lifestyles. We must improve ourselves, only then will a positive change be seen in our society. Every little improvement and every small change one makes does make a difference. Every attempt one makes to live yoga moment to moment will be felt by all, even the Earth. Infections can spread quickly but so can positivity and smiles.

The sadhana provided for you here is a beginning and a thorough way in which to establish yourself in yogic awareness for all times to come. Invest this time to try and live yoga moment to moment, you will be rewarded for life. Smile and spread some happiness and joy around. Yoga is the greatest gift to humanity; it is as relevant now as it was thousands of years ago.