How to find Tranquility and Inner-Peace

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

How do you find tranquility and inner-peace? The answer is simple, but for the masses to practice regularly, is another matter. The answer is to take a Yoga class.

Yoga contains many physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional, aspects for the holistic health of mankind. Yet, how many real pro-active people do you know? If you visit a Yoga studio, Yoga class, or an ashram, you will meet many people who take care of themselves.

Some of the more well known Yogic techniques are asana, meditation, pranayama, mantras, mudras and bandhas, but there is a lot more to Yoga than techniques. It is the “Yoga off the mat,” which causes life changing results. For example: Let’s look at meditation a bit closer.

Many people practice meditation in the morning or evening, when the rest of their family is in bed. If you wake up early, the morning should suit you. However, if you go to bed late, then meditate at night.

This is the easiest way to develop a regular routine, create a steady practice, and calm your mind. It will take a few weeks to feel results, but they come from practice. What kind of results can you expect from meditation?

Some of the many Yoga meditation benefits include: happiness, emotional stability, creativity, and clear thought. You can also reduce stress, anxiety, moodiness, and depression, with a regular meditation practice. There are many more benefits from meditation, which can be measured on the physical and mental levels.

When you are not meditating, you can forgive others, give to others, be mindful, avoid judging others, show loving kindness, and do not seek rewards. You will see that rewards will come back to you, which is fine, but do not refuse loving kindness from others.

This is the Law of Karma. You perform an action and the universe responds with a reaction. You accept the reaction. You help people and people help you. We do not have to hoard our possessions, but we have a moral obligation to help those who need us.

Yoga and meditation have sometimes been accused of having self-indulgent practitioners by religious fundamentalists. This is interesting because Yoga and meditation have practitioners from every religion.

Self-indulgent materialism often occurs, when people are spiritually disconnected. Yet, Yoga opens the spiritual connection to God, which will result in the unification of mind, body, and spirit.

So, how do you find tranquility and inner-peace? Forgive the foolish because it will do no good to hate them, and it is a waste of energy. Give to those who need because giving is the greatest reward in life. Become a “fountain” of loving kindness and good things will be magnetized to you.

Some will ask, “Why should you forgive, give, be mindful, or show loving kindness?” The answer is: Because it is right; every religion agrees, and it is too much work to avoid helping those who need it.

© Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

The Purpose of Yoga: Holistic Health

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

What is the true purpose of Yoga? Yoga encompasses many holistic aspects, but Yoga’s true purpose is to prevent suffering in this life. Yoga is a system, which enables a practitioner to be pro-active about his or her complete health.

Yoga instills complete empowerment within the practitioner. If we could end suffering, that would be better, but mankind seems to always find new paths for self-abuse.

Each style of Yoga will have a subtle difference from a similar style, but health is always the aim in all forms of Yoga. Superiority of method is an illusion, since all Yogic paths lead to better mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health.

The need to sort, prioritize, and judge Yoga styles, and aspects of Yoga, is an example of our limited mental perceptions. The reality is we make these same mistakes when the mind is not disciplined and our comprehension is challenged to its limits.

It is possible to miss the entire purpose of Yoga, if the mind is not trained and tutored properly. How many students will discipline themselves without the guidance of a Yoga teacher? How many Yoga teachers see Asana as the “Holy Grail” of Yoga?

The “monkey mind” will not be disciplined without Pranayama (Yogic breathing techniques), meditation, and japa (repetition of mantra). A Yoga teacher, or student, can practice an untutored form of Yoga, but to practice without guidance is not a holistic approach.

A Yoga devotee cannot usually transcend beyond the superficial aspects of Yoga without guidance. For example: Look at the covers of most Yoga publications. If I want to sell more Yoga magazines, I have to put Yoga on display. There is a saying: “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but one picture of an “advanced” Yoga asana, will intimidate some members of the public.

How many people, in the west, think that a Yoga teacher must be thin, young, extremely flexible, muscular, and physically gifted? Most of the non-practicing public believes this, and many Hatha Yoga students believe it. Worse yet, some Yoga teachers have a narrow-minded view of Yoga, as a strictly physical recreation, similar to gymnastics.

Recently, I was addressing an audience in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, about the benefits of Chair Yoga. One member of the audience raised her hand and asked, “What is the most important physical exercise in Yoga?” My answer was that if you are only looking at the physical aspect of Yoga, Pranayama is the most important exercise, but there is much more to Yoga than physical exercise.

Even though my answer went into great length about the aspects and benefits of Yoga, a gentleman later told me than he would have imagined the Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana) was the most important aspect of Yoga. My reply was, “Did you ever take a Yoga class?” He admitted that it was the fear of doing a headstand, which kept him away from trying a Yoga class.

Now, unless Yoga teachers explain the holistic health benefits of a steady Yoga practice to the public, decades will pass by and these myths will flourish.

© Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

Yoga Tips for Happiness – Off the Yoga Mat

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

After spending time in a class with your Yoga teacher, for an hour or two, the commute home is much more tranquil. You left anxiety back at the door step of your Yoga class, and have discovered inner peace again. How do you capture that feeling of tranquility and “bottle it?”

Would you like to order “Yoga to go” or package some “inner peace?” If only it were that easy to package Yoga. Yet, there are some tools that will help you maintain your peace of mind, until your next Yoga class.

Music: Music, that generates relaxing and happy feelings, has the power to be particularly uplifting. Music is a great way to prevent anxiety, loneliness, and sadness. Some of the better music for Yoga can also be played when you are commuting from one point to the next.

If you shop for Yoga music CD’s, you may also want to try an audio book, in CD format, about Yoga, self-help, or self-improvement. Some of these CD’s can be played many times and can create a positive frame of mind.

Workshops: There are many Yoga, and Yoga teacher workshops to attend, so choose a workshop that sparks your motivation. You may also want to look at workshops for self-help, and holistic approaches to life, because some of these sessions will also help you create a happy and successful life.

Bathing: Take the time to enjoy a bath, instead of a quick shower; it will make you feel happy, energetic, and refreshed. Just make sure you have the time to enjoy your bath – without creating a pressure situation.

Prayer: It does not matter what your religion is. This is one of the most fundamental practices to bring happiness. Prayer is your private conversation with God. Many people pray only when they need something.

Yet, daily prayer brings happiness. Why? When you learn that God forgives, it is time to forgive yourself. Bhakti Yoga is union by devotion to God. You do not have to be a particular religion to devote yourself to God.

Yoga Books: Whenever you take a vacation, of any kind, bring at least two Yoga books, which you have wanted to read. If you have a companion, read when your significant other is sleeping. There is always time, if you are willing to be creative.

Positive Affirmations: Whenever you practice positive affirmations, you will see, and feel, the rewards. If you want self-respect, you have to think and speak well of yourself. Consider your accomplishments, and what you have done, for the people around you. Repeated positive affirmations often become reality.

Visualization: You should actually take the time to see yourself as worthy, loved, and happy. What you visualize often becomes reality.

Breathing: In Yoga, Pranayama (breathing) techniques are many. Pay attention to Pranayama practice, while you are in your Yoga classes. Many Yoga students do not learn the value of Pranayama.

Pranayama is the master of your mind. Pranayama is the fundamental link between mind and body. Pranayama will improve your health, but you should learn Pranayama from a Yoga teacher.

Kapalabhati Pranayama should be practiced daily, but Bastrika Pranayama is usually practiced daily prior to Kapalabhati Pranayama. Personally, I practice Bastrika for the first Pranayama of the day.

Meditation: There are many forms of meditation, but they all lead to the same end. Balanced thinking, harmony, and tranquility, are yours with a steady meditation practice.

You do not have to make all these changes at once, but do incorporate a few of them into your daily life, and you will be much happier.

© Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications