Adapting to a pandemic world — the Yoga Sutra way

1. Ahimsa (Non injury or non violence)

Ahimsa is an overt expression of our inner compassion. It cannot be practiced in the true sense unless selfish tendencies arising from greed, fear and envy are weeded out. Himsa or injury is more about the intent behind the act than the act per se. For instance, killing an assailant in self defence is different from wilfully taking a life with evil intent in the heart. To be truly established in ahimsa, one needs to develop and entertain feelings of amity towards all. This in turn influences all aspects of our life, from our food choices, to relationships with family, friends, colleagues and even the way we coexist with different forms of life in our ecosystem.

2. Satya (Truthfulness)

The practice of Satya is not about blindly telling the truth, heedless of consequences. Hurtful truths violate the spirit of ahimsa. Peacefulness arising from ahimsa and truthfulness from satya are thus like two sides of the same coin. Satya is more about balanced utterances that have been first screened by a calm, objective mind. As a Sufi saying goes, before we speak, our words should pass through 3 gates of filtration, namely — Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?

3. Asteya (Non stealing)

The gamut of Asteya goes far beyond stealing of mere material stuff. It includes stealing from mother nature through indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources that lead to ecological imbalances, stealing someone else’s ideas without permission or acknowledgement, robbing someone of an opportunity, hope or joy — the list is endless.

4. Brahmacharya (Continence, discipline)

Brahmacharya is perhaps one of the least understood and hence most misconstrued yama. Literally, it means a conduct that is consistent with Brahman or the Absolute, but generally it is associated with the much narrower perspective of celibacy. Brahmacharya actually refers to the first of the four phases (or ashrams) of human life. As per the guru — shishya tradition of ancient India, students (or shishyas) would stay in a gurukul under the tutelage of a guru from childhood up to the age of around 25 years. The focus was on studies and imbibing the principles of moral rectitude and moderation from the Guru. Practicing a life of strict celibacy was therefore deemed necessary in this process of acquiring knowledge, character building and gaining self-realization. Later on, the students entered the householder stage (grihasth ashram), where sex was a part of conjugal life for the purpose of procreation rather than of indulgence.

5. Aparigraha (Non possessiveness)

Aparigraha is non — covetousness, or non — hoarding. At a gross level, it is associated with material possessions and wealth; things, which end up possessing us instead. The efforts to preserve and protect these acquisitions weigh us down, impeding our own self growth and development. “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of who I am, I receive what I need.” says Lao Tzu.

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Chemical Engineer. Oil & gas. Well specialist-turned-wellness exponent, Global certifications in yoga, plant based nutrition. Teacher. Writer. Eclectic thinker.

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hi.sharmilaa

hi.sharmilaa

Chemical Engineer. Oil & gas. Well specialist-turned-wellness exponent, Global certifications in yoga, plant based nutrition. Teacher. Writer. Eclectic thinker.