be free, be happy, be peaceful

May all find the teacher within to guide oneself towards unconditional love and peace

Thursday, April 24, 2014

About what is "allowed" and "disallowed" in Yoga...

Lately there was search word like "What is allowed and disallowed in yoga?" came to this blog.

Well, if by taking up "yoga practice" will generate a lot more inconveniences and problems in life, making our life and other people's life more complicated, then personally I have no interest to be practicing this yoga. As anyone also can be happy and peaceful as they are, it's not necessarily has to be coming from practicing yoga.

Most of the rules and regulations exist for those who don't have self-control and self-discipline to help them to develop these two elements to help them in their practice towards conquering their own mind.

For those whose minds are liberated, they don't need to practice yoga, nor to observe any observations, nor be bound by any rules and regulations.

Here are some of the observations to be engaging yoga practice in everyday life:-
- Have strong self-discipline.
- Do our best in whatever we do and renounce the fruit of actions.
- Accept and respect all beings as they are.
- Talk less.
- Conserve energy.
- Be moderate in food intake.
- Take up Sattvic diet that helps in calming the mind.
- Be adjustable, adaptable and accommodating.
- Be kind and forgiving.
- Be truthful and straightforward.
- Be humble and generous.
- Contemplate on the teachings of yoga.
- Live in the present moment.
- Don't give up, keep practice.
- Don't judge, compare, expect.
- Don't discriminate any beings based on our personal thinking and beliefs, likes and dislikes, agreement and disagreement.
- Don't waste time and effort in vain talk, boasting, gossiping, slandering, condemning, scheming, complaining, mourning, and etc.
- Don't waste energy in too much worldly physical and mental activities.
- Don't take too little or too much food, and don't take food that will either agitate or depress the mind.
- Don't hate or save hatred.
- Don't tell lies or be hypocrite.
- Give up the identification with the worldly self-image.
- Give up possessiveness and jealousy.
- Give up pride and arrogance.
- Give up anger and hatred.
- Give up fear and worry.
- Give up dissatisfaction and disappointment.
- Give up offensiveness, defensiveness, aggressiveness and animosity.
- Give up craving and aversion.
- Give up ill-will and ill-thinking.

By observing these observations can help in purifying, taming and controlling the mind, to help to free the mind from ignorance, egoism, distractions and passionate desires. But it is not a guarantee of liberation or enlightenment. As even by observing these observations, it still doesn't determine that we will be free from ignorance, egoism and attachment. For example, we might still have attachment towards identification of "I" am observing all these "observations", and "I" am a good yogi.

It's not that if we didn't manage to have strong self-discipline, or we like to talk a lot, or if we like to judge, compare and expect, or we spent lots of effort and energy in many worldly physical and mental activities, or if we are not vegetarian, or if we are influenced by passionate desires, anger or depression, that will determine that we are "bad" beings, or we are "evil" beings, or will be guaranteed that we won't be happy and peaceful.

There's no such thing as things or behaviors that are "only be allowed" and "strictly disallowed" if we know what is yoga. If there is something that is "allowed" and "disallowed" in yoga, does that means if we do something that we aren't allowed to do, we will be judged and punished accordingly? Or if we didn't do what we are supposed to be doing, we will also be judged and punished accordingly? And then we will not be allowed or be disqualified to practice yoga, now and forever? If this is happening in what we think is the world of "yoga", then this is not yoga at all. Even if somebody had committed some serious crimes whether intentionally or unintentionally, this person also can practice yoga, and attain liberation through one's own effort. Of course there will be consequences of actions coming from our behavior that we have to be responsible for.

As yoga and Buddhism is a practice by freedom of choice. It's not a religious practice or cult that we have to be observing certain rules and regulations. Or else if we don't follow exactly the rules and regulations, or if we fail to meet up to certain observations or expectations, then we will be judged as "sinful", "bad" and "evil", or we will be punished by some "higher authorities" and be condemned to hell. It is our own freedom of choice and our own responsibility of whether we will be peaceful or not. Maybe some people don't want to be peaceful, they enjoy being restless all the time. That's their freedom and choice. There's nothing wrong with that.

If anyone wants to be good and do good, it's everyone's freedom. If anyone doesn't want to be good or do good, it's also everyone's freedom.

Yoga is about realizing the truth of oneness, non-separateness, non-duality, fearlessness, unconditional peace, unconditional love, attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness. It is everyone's freedom whether they want to take up the practice or want to leave the practice, as they wish. There's no contract, no agreement, no punishment, no sin or condemnation if we don't practice yoga the way that some other people are practicing, or we don't observe certain rules and regulations that some other people are observing, or if we want to stop practicing yoga for any reasons.

If we are interested in yoga practice, and we practice yoga sincerely and realize the truth through our own effort, at our own pace, it's coming from our own self.

If we don't want to practice yoga and are not interested in any forms of practice, it's our own freedom. It doesn't mean that we are any less good, or less peaceful and less compassionate than those who take up some forms of spiritual or religious practice.

Or, we want to practice yoga but somehow we haven't realize the truth, and we are not free from suffering, ignorance and egoism, it's also coming from our own self.

Be free.

Om shanti.

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Know thyself. There is no existence of 'I'. Everything is impermanent. Be free, be peaceful, be happy.

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Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
My husband and I run ongoing yoga retreats in Langkawi Malaysia. We teach traditional Hatha Yoga - a combination of Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation, that has given benefit to millions of practitioners over thousands of years. Our yoga studio is situated in Langkawi. We also run yoga retreats in Europe and India.

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