The Purpose of Yoga: Creating the World From Within

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

How could Yoga help you create the world from within? Here is a riddle: What is the number one objective of all men and women? Once you find it, possession of it will be difficult. Your Yoga practice will help you find and retain it.

Here is a hint: People will give anything and everything to possess it, but it is illusive, a rare find, and not easy to hold onto. In a “nutshell,” it is “happiness.” As a matter of fact, happiness is the number one objective of humankind, but how can Yoga help you find it, and why is happiness so illusive?

Many people are looking for happiness, but they get distracted by the many faces of happiness. Is happiness a million dollars?

No, happiness is more about what you could do with a million dollars and it does not depend on money. However, if you had a million dollars, you could teach the poor to feed themselves; you could help the illiterate learn to read; or you could help people in a multitude of ways.

Notice the keywords, “you could help.” Instant millionaires need to learn how they can help. There are some lottery winners who become instant millionaires and many of them end up “broke,” within a short span of time. Many times the saying, “Easy come, easy go” applies to life.

People who instantly obtain wealth and power, without any effort, do not see a value in it, because they did not have to work hard for it. They take it for granted.

Instant friends, and long lost relatives, will soon follow instant wealth. The problem with wealth and power is determining who your real friends actually are. Some lottery winners have given luxury cars away to all of their family members and their friends. That’s generous and giving behavior, but is it wise?

Which is a better gift, a brand new Mercedes or a college education? You can help people, the most, by giving them the tools to help themselves. To be self-sufficient and worthy is wealth within itself. Although, most people do not value intangibles, it does not make them worthless.

How many people value good health, real friends, a healthy daughter or son, being pain free, or a happy marriage? Be careful what you take for granted. What is your life worth? Can you place a dollar value on it?

Yoga teaches us to live within this moment, not to take anything for granted, and to enjoy each priceless breath of life right now. Keep in mind that Yoga is also an intangible creation. You can take Yoga with you, wherever you go, but do not take Yoga for granted.

The ancient Yogis created a science of breathing, which we know as Pranayama, but very often new Yoga students do not see the higher value in this practice. The new Hatha Yoga student may only see a value in the physical Yoga postures.

Therefore, it is up to Yoga teachers to guide their students toward happiness with the aid of Pranayama. The body and mind become linked, in awareness, through the steady practice of Pranayama.

Awareness brings about a realization of the true value of life, but Pranayama is the driving force, which opens the gateway to happiness, euphoria, and tranquility.

Happiness transcends far beyond power, money, material, and lust, but many people confuse it for a one dimensional possession. Money and power can help or destroy us. The choice is up to us, because in reality, we are only the temporary custodians of money and power.

Why is happiness so hard for some us to grasp? Happiness is not something in a remote location, at the beach, or in beautiful mountains. Visiting any or all of these exotic places may make you happy, but happiness is a lot closer than most people realize.

In fact, happiness exists within all of us. You can easily make a case that happiness is a choice. Some people make statements, such as: “My life is boring; all I do is work,” “My life isn’t fair,” and “When I make a million dollars, I’ll be happy.” Sorry to say, the problem of “unhappiness,” in the previously mentioned statements, lies within the individual. In each case, happiness was a matter of choice.

If we have a job, we are doing better than someone who is unemployed. Life is not fair, but it is not all bad. Even in the worst of times, people of exceptional character rise up with courage and vision. The person, who sees a “bench mark” of material wealth, as a gateway to happiness, has “missed the boat.”

While he or she was chasing a million dollar dream, his or her family ties were lost. Children do not raise themselves. Wives, husbands, and good friends do not stay “on hold,” until you are ready for them.

One dimensional people will usually find their “Golden pot at the end of the rainbow,” but they will also lose many more valuable parts of life along the way. Never allow a hectic and busy lifestyle to raise your children and nurture valuable relationships.

The fifth Yama, Aparigraha, or non-attachment is the key. Happiness is found in the heart, soul, and mind. Over consumption of worldly possessions will only create a society of “spoiled children,” who demand more possessions, but never find true happiness.

© Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

The Purpose of Yoga: Solutions for Peaceful Resolutions

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Everyone can lose their temper; even long time Yoga practitioners can become angry, so what is the secret to becoming a “peace maker.” For some people, being even tempered is a gift. They were born cool, calm, and collected, but there is also a formula for “keeping the peace.”

Adults are much better at this than children; children are sometimes proud of their temper tantrums. Yet, adults learn to control their tempers and to avoid potential conflicts – even though anger and conflict are a daily part of life.

Hormones can also “come into play” at certain points in our lives. For example: A chemical reaction to testosterone, within the body, is not so easy to control; but consider any of the following strategies for living a peaceful life with more control and less anger.

How often could a major conflict have been avoided if we thought first and spoke later? Some people travel through life, talking without thinking, all the time. Remember that once words are spoken, they cannot be erased from the minds of others. The spoken word has the potential to hurt others for the rest of their lives.

When people talk without thinking, they encounter many conflicts, and they really do not know why. Sometimes, they become “mad at the world,” as a result of their daily conflicts with others.

This can cause a chain reaction where counseling for anger management may have to be sought. We should never rule out professional help, but let’s look at a Yogic solution for establishing control of our speech – by listening to others, without talking.

Mindfulness meditation is one method, but we are going to “raise the bar” of difficulty for your benefit. If you need to practice this, spend more time meditating in public places.

At first, you should do this alone, because you should practice silence. If you absolutely need company, take a companion who sees the benefits of silence and mindfulness meditation sessions.

During your meditation sessions, learn to listen to the world without judgment. Take in all the sounds of people, traffic, and animals, as an observer. You could do this on a park bench, with your eyes open, or during a walking meditation session. Take in all of the disturbances without a care in the world.

Meditation in public is not easy, but you can learn to do it all the time, without telling anyone. If someone talks to you, all you have to do is pause from meditating, without judgment, and answer them calmly. Then, after your conversation has ended, go back to your meditation.

Walking meditation is even more difficult because you learn to observe the world without making judgments, as you are in motion. You should be familiar with the course you walk, observe traffic, and be safe. For this method, it is wise to avoid traffic, if possible.

The main purpose of both of the previous mentioned methods is for you to listen, observe, be silent, and be courteous. Always avoid judging, and this will carry over into your daily life.

Do not practice mindfulness meditation when operating machinery of any kind. Always consider your safety, and never take risks during meditation sessions. If you find these methods to be too difficult, you can always practice silence in a local Yoga class.

© Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

The Purpose of Yoga: Inspiration and Goals

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Have you ever wondered how some Yoga students manage to immediately take action, with just a tiny bit of encouragement; while others depend on each Yoga class to lift their spirits? What causes some Yoga practitioners to raise their vision, so easily? Let’s look at the secret and the formula of inspiration.

Firstly, everyone needs goals of some kind. Goals serve us as measured bench marks of our personal progress in life. If our life is to have meaning, and purpose, we have to pursue a goal that has worth and go after it.

Does this mean that we should embrace competition and stress? To be honest, everyone needs competition and stress – to a point. Challenges build character, but this does not mean that we should push our bodies and minds to the point of an anxiety attack. Therefore, keep competition and stress in moderation.

To progress on a holistic path, still requires organizational skills. You should take the time to write down your goals and memorize them. If you want, you can carry them around with you, on a piece of paper, until you know them by heart.

This is the miracle of Karma: When you create a vision and take focused action, with ethical purpose, you turn optimism into reality.

People often say, “Yoga is not about goals.” “Yogis should sit on a mountain top and meditate.” “Yoga is not about competition.” In each of these statements – there is some truth, but not the whole truth.

Patanjali must have had goals to write and complete the Yoga Sutras. Gandhiji must have had goals, and vision, to see that peaceful protest would result in the independence of India. Gandhiji also said, “What is faith worth if it is not translated into action?” So, now you see, goals and action are not bad.

However, goals should be ethical, helpful to others, and be meaningful. This formula creates passion within the devotee. If the purpose of a goal is for the common good, it is only limited by our imaginations.

Unlimited thought is an extremely powerful concept. So far, humankind has taken “baby steps” in technology, and this is within the past few thousand years.

What would happen if more people thought, spoke, and acted in a positive way toward social change, world peace, and global warming? Think of all the good ideas, in the past, which people gave up on. Imagine the possibilities.

Many people do not feel they deserve to progress, so they procrastinate, quit, or “give in” to negative thought. If we want to live a purposeful life, we must take risks. Otherwise, we will regret the whole journey.

© Copyright 2007 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications