- by Swami Yogatirthananda Saraswati (Switzerland), From YogaMag May 2002
Fatigue and the impatience that may result from fatigue are great threats to equanimity. Awareness of mental and/or physical fatigue helps to restore equanimity either by overcoming the fatigue or by bearing calmly with the situation.
Dealing with one's own needs and desires and those of others sometimes requires a lot of juggling. If there is no balance, no compromise, then equanimity is threatened. The result may be anger, frustration, disappointment, etc.
Reaction to pressure in the form of 'mobbing' is a tremendous challenge to equanimity. Being a witness is a way out. But although there is an outward equanimity, calmness and control towards the other person, inner turmoil and hurt may persist for much longer. On the other hand, there is a reaction to support, trust and kindness. Feeling flattered is pride, is identification and not equanimity. Equanimity refers to a balanced attitude in the face of positive and negative situations. Discernment should determine any reaction to a situation. As soon as judgement creeps in, equanimity is at stake.
I was giving a language class and in the room next door a saxophone rehearsal for a concert that same evening was taking place. I had to juggle the discontent of the students, my own fatigue due to having to speak loudly, the nervousness of the young musicians before their concert and the organizers who were ill at ease. Being aware of the time factor (the situation would not last forever, but only for thirty minutes) and the fact that there was nothing that could be done to help me stay calm, I found the prayer that had helped already with absence of vanity was also very useful here:
The provoking habit of a teenager is to leave the school bag in the middle of the hall, once or twice a day. There is about a metre of distance between the habitual bag-dropping spot and the room of the teenager. My reactions vary from anything between ignoring to verbal insult – none express equanimity. Kicking the bag into the room is no solution either as even the gentlest push with the foot betrays a lack of equanimity. Repetition is the test here that equanimity has to pass, being again and again faced with the same situation.
TV is a very good test of equanimity. With the constant onslaught of information one could easily be taken through the whole gamut of emotions within a very short period of time. From devastating news to suspense to comedy TV is a mirror of everyday life and the attitude in both situations should be that of the observer. But identification with TV can be as strong as it is with everyday life situations.
Lack of organization, bad time and mind management, feeling guilty as a result, all lead to loss of equanimity. Projections, worries for the future as well as clinging to memories and the past lead to loss of equanimity. Physical pain is a challenge to equanimity, and the instant solution of medication is an attempt to avoid the challenge.
Success and failure are but two sides of the same coin and equanimity does not make a difference. Equanimity requires the awareness and patience to give emotions the time they need to be expressed, quietened or dealt with. Equanimity is the golden middle path, avoiding ups and downs and all the shades and variations in between. It is the attitude of the impartial witness, concerned yet not moved, acting without reacting. It is the expression of all the six previous ITIES (serenity, regularity, absence of vanity, sincerity, simplicity, veracity) and if their lesson had been learnt well, then equanimity could be child's play. It shows the necessity of being constantly aware and of being constantly aware of all ITIES.
For me equanimity is a difficult ITY, but this month has helped me see the importance of integrating all ITIES simultaneously. Serenity is a wonderful ITY to promote equanimity, so are absence of vanity and simplicity. I found equanimity to be a very clear expression of the witness attitude and it provides deep satisfaction and peace not only for oneself but also for those who are in contact with us.
Continue reading article here: http://www.yogamag.net/archives/2002/cmay02/ities3.shtml
- By Sannyasi Gyanhira Huberman
I think this is a topic that needs no introduction right now. So, let's just get right into it!
Here are some practices that are so powerful yet so simple that you can start right now. It won't take long, and they pack A LOT of punch. They are all practices that I know from doing myself. Try it for 3 days and see the result.
1. Bhramari Pranayama (breathing exercise)
Why: Anxiety reliever.
How: Sit in a comfortable, upright position. Gently press the ears closed with the index fingers, so that your voice echoes inside your head when you speak (do not insert fingers inside the ears). Raise the elbows to the sides, and up to the level of the shoulders. Inhale. As you exhale, make an "mmmmmmmm" sound, keeping the lips closed, until all the breath is exhaled. Repeat 7 times.
It is this gentle humming sound which gives this pranayama its name of "Humming Bee Breath." It is so powerful! The gentle vibration creates a very soothing, calming, relaxing effect.
2. Om Chanting
Why: Om chanting has been shown to reduce emotional tensions, reduce fear, and promote resiliency of health. Om chanting increases intuition. Benefits can be experienced after just 5 minutes of chanting.
How: Sit in a comfortable, upright posture. Chant Om in the most comfortable way for you. Play with it and see what feels best to you, ie what pitch and what speed.
Why: Relieves emotional, mental and physical tensions. It actually really does! Firstly, singing is a powerful, rhythmic and regulated breath exercise, or pranayama, in itself. It helps you oxygenate your brain, which reduces anxiety, especially if you’re a breath-holder when you feel anxious. Singing also relaxes the diaphragm and chest muscles, reducing anxiety by allowing you to take deeper breaths. Finally, singing also helps release emotions (especially when you sing songs you really like), as well as gets you out of your thinking/worrying mind. Music and song are powerful in shifting moods. In Yoga, kirtan and bhajan are sung regularly.
Continue reading article here https://communitymaternity.ca/blogs/the-yoga-of-motherhood/yoga-for-stress-anxiety
In Yoga there is a fundamental belief that the Divine/Universe, is always bringing itself back into balance, union or Yog. It is the ultimate expression of the oscillation of our dualistic reality. Negative, Positive — Transcend. One extreme — another extreme: peace, happiness, contentment.
Limbo, or the “unknown,” has never been an easy place for humans to sit. We like certainty and control (albeit perceived), solidity, routine, things we can ‘count on’ to ‘make us’ feel calm. In times like right now, the whole world has been thrown into a space of uncertainty. The most accurate words that are coming out of anyone’s mouth at this moment are “we don’t know” and this is not a comfortable place for people to sit. Now bare with me - this is a necessary space to sit.
As Yogis, we go out of our way to actively create uncomfortableness where we stimulate and push our consciousness into opportunities for transformation. We call it Tapasya. This is a mix of austerity, sacrifice, discipline and uncertainty. Uncertainty is important, because when we engage in a Sadhana that is pushing us to our mental, emotional and physical limits we just don’t know if our efforts through the practices of Yoga (eg. Mantra, Havan, Asana, etc) are going to be successful. We just don’t know. We don’t know if all the uncomfortableness is going to bring us into the experience of more peace, more clarity, more Love. We don’t know and we learn to be ok with not knowing.
Being ok with not knowing is also called a state of Faith. Faith that every little effort we make, with the intention of stepping into health, balance and evolution in mind, will collectively, and eventually, create an outcome that is good for us. That doesn’t mean an outcome that is necessary pleasant, easy, or enjoyable but an outcome that will ultimately bring us into a more optimal state of balance, of Yog, than we were before.
Dare I say it, it will bring us closer to living our fullest potential.
The thing is, the more out-of-balance we are, the more these out-of-the-norm, out-of-our-control experiences hit us hard. If you are attached to having a screaming hot shower, then to have a cold one becomes is a big leap. But if you live a (Yogic) life where you are aspiring for nonattachement - balance at every turn, then a cold shower is a mild (mental) inconvenience only a step away from the tepid norm.
The key is to SLOW DOWN and WITNESS. Witness ourselves as the media ramps up its hysteria machine. Witness your mind in its balance between making sure that you are doing your due diligence for your own safety, but balancing that with making sure that others around you and in your community are also taken care of. It's easy to slide into the mass consciousness of fear and anxiety and that can quickly fester into self-preservation. But self-preservation has never been the point of life, for the simple fact is that we will all die. LOVE has, and will always be, the point of life.
It is not a coincidence that Covid-19 is centred around the purification of the lungs and heart centre. Anahata Chakra (heart space) holds Love, but it also holds attachment, and grief. It is these frequencies of mind and emotion that it is trying to recalibrate. And it is also no surprise that the greater ripple of this is creating economic instability for two reasons:
1) Anahata is the foundation of the 5th Dimension and that mirrors Mooladhara which is the foundation of the 3rd Dimension - which is the home of money and physical stability. These things are going to be rocked to their core — because they need to be.
2) Our whole collective-consumeristic-society is based on attachment. Mine and Yours. “I need more to feel good and feel safe and I’m attached to those things, because if I don’t have them anymore my emotional and mental well-being, ‘my world,’ will collapse.”
And this, my friends, is our opportunity - To see where we are out of balance in our attachment and to see where the past (grief) is still influencing our decisions for our present and our future.
I believe that virus’ such as Covid-19 are a reality to help us come into balance. And anything that helps us come into balance is ultimately helping us step into our fullest potential as humans. Now is the time to step up, to love, to help each other, to listen deeply to your soul, to let go of what you want, and focus on what you need. From 'Niwas, we are all sending blessings & mantras to you and to those who are suffering and experiencing loss.
May this time be a softening, of expansion and of deep connection with yourSelf and those around you.
Om and Prem.
December 2019 Satsang Notes compiled by Chaitanya Chase from Sannyasi Shivani's Satsang
Below are the annotated notes taken from the recorded Satsang in December 2019. They relay Sannyasi Shivani’s experiences from her trip to Rikhiapeeth and bought forth some of the themes and teachings that Swami Satsangi relayed in through Satsangs while she was there.
To watch the Satsang for yourself check out this link.
- By Sw Yogatirthananda Saraswati, From YogaMag (Nov 2001)
After the hard month of sincerity I was looking forward to an easy time with simplicity. In regard to the previous ITIES simplicity meant not to complicate or overdo the study and practice of the ITIES. Simplicity implies spontaneity.
Simplicity in regard to life itself meant a simple yogic lifestyle - I use italics as it is such a wide concept. I think I do lead a simple life, trying to do with the minimum of consumer goods required in Western Europe and by a teenage son.
I do consider myself a simple-minded person. My interaction with people is spontaneous and honest. If it gets complicated, I withdraw. So with this view of myself and the lifestyle I lead, I was very confident about the month of simplicity.
Yet, as I soon found out, the test was not to be simple, as comes easily to my nature, but the challenge was to live up to the reactions of others. Simplicity in our society is equal to stupidity. It takes great humility to accept the mockery and sneers with which simplicity is met in the world today. Scheming and doing things in a twisted way is the more accepted way of interacting. At work, I realized that simple, unpretentious interaction is considered as silly or even stupid behaviour. Gossip, behind-the-back plotting and manoeuvring are the tricks and methods that are accepted, highly regarded and rewarded.
The test for me therefore was to keep on being simple, and above all to accept in all humility the judgement of others. Not wanting fortune or fame, or career or a smart car is an attitude that is considered by many as downright stupid. I got hurt, laughed at in many ways, taken advantage of without even noticing because I did not know the game that was being played, or if I did, I refused to play it.
So, the month of simplicity was anything but easy. It was the first time I had to defend quietly an ITY in the face of the social environment I live in. It was a painful experience and an incredible challenge to humility. I could see that for others a month of simplicity might be completely different, might imply giving up ambitions, cutting down on luxuries, relating more frankly with friends and colleagues.
For me it meant upholding an idea, an ITY, I believe in. Of course, this is based on the values and priorities I have set in my life. Simplicity is one of these values, and at the same time living simply gives me space and time to work on other values. Simplicity is an incredible energy-saving and stress-preventing ITY.
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