I am so blessed that in this life, I have been able to learn from such a true Guru, as Sri Dharma Mittra. His teachings are vast, and truly encompass all Eight Limbs of classical yoga teachings. Yet, despite his over 50 years of yoga practice and teaching, his ideas are often amazingly simple and applicable even to newer yogis. I will share 5 things that I have learned from this living master, and hopefully, you can apply these concepts to your lives and practices, as well.
1. Let go of expectations: Expectations lead to a restless mind, and expectations often result in disappointment. It’s actually quite simple to live the life of a yogi; you must just always do your best. Do good deeds because that is what has to be done. If all your actions are of adoration to a higher power, selfishness will disappear, and mental ignorance will dissipate.
2. Follow the ethical rules: All religions have a set of ethical rules. Although yoga is not considered a religion, it is indeed a spiritual practice that has guidelines that must be adhered to in order attain spiritual bliss. Most importantly, Sri Dharma Mittra speaks of Ahimsa (non-harming) as the foundation to all other yogic ethical rules (Yamas). If we can be grounded in ahimsa, doing the least amount of harm possible with our words, thoughts, and actions, while applying ahimsa to all sentient beings (human, animal, or insect), then the other Yamas will naturally occur. We can practice non-harming, three or more times a day, by making the choice to not eat meat or animal products.
Essentially, if you can control your mouth- what you put into it and what comes out of it- you have controlled much of your mind already.
3. Practice Pranayama: Pranayama is breath control. The ancient yogis believed that we are given a predetermined amount of breaths in our lives. The practice of pranayama was developed to extend the breath, therefore, extending one’s life. Sri Dharma Mittra suggests practicing pranayama when the mind is calm, traditionally between 4-6am.
4. Refrain from eating after 6pm: If you must eat after 6pm, then limit the intake to salads, green juices, and fruit. If you can adhere to this rule, you will find a more deep and rested sleep, as your body will not need to be working to digest your foods. If the belly is empty at night, you can surely wake up refreshed and prepared for your day.
5. Stop making excuses: Let go of creating excuses as to why you cannot maintain the practice. Live simply, let go of the temptations of the modern world, and practice these principles daily.
Photo Credit: Mike Baird