How can we incorporate ancient yoga wisdom practices in our everyday life, in our work, and in the wider global systems change we are seeking in the world?
Dr Shrikrishna was born to a father who was a close colleague of Swami Kuvalayananda (one of the foremost pioneers of modern yoga). Dr Shrikrishna grew up in an atmosphere saturated with yogic culture. He qualified as a medical doctor and took a PhD on the physiological effects of Pranayama at the prestigious All India Institute of Medicine.
Robin and Val of Yogatherapy invited Dr Shrikrishna to the UK for 4 days to teach us how yoga is a spiritual practice – and something that helps you to discover your inner essence and truth.
Yoga has been practiced for thousands and thousands of years. The Vedas. The Upanishads. Buddha. Mahavira. Pantanjali.
Yoga as a spiritual practice is not new. It is a wisdom that has maintained its relevance because it has practical application.
What is new, is the context in which yoga can help humanity evolve to a more harmonious state – for life thriving.
Why do we need to pay attention to the individually and collectively destructive cycle of the EGO?
Our current culture is driven by fear of the EGO. Fear of not being ‘the best’. Not being special. Not being loved. Not being eternal.
We seek to address this fear by seeking external validation of our ‘greatness, our beauty, our talents, our knowledge, our specialness’.
We create identities for ourselves that help us meet these goals. I am a mother. I am a lawyer. I am an American. I am upper class.
We endlessly consume products and services, at the expense of the planet, to reinforce our identities. Clothes. Cars. Houses. Experiences.
Anything that threatens the ego’s identity is immediately dismissed, killed, supressed, judged, ignored or escaped.
We look for answers in the external things that are transient.
We get stuck in the narrow range of existence of our small selves and identities that we have created for ourselves. We limit our potential.
We don’t realise that this is a never ending cycle that is causing disharmony in ourselves. And in our world. And for our planet.
Why do we need to practice moving from fear?
When we feel separate we feel fear. We feel insecurity.
We have to ‘un-create’ the ‘I’ which is a meaningless thing that ‘I’ has created.
We must move the centre of the ‘self’ that has no boundaries.
This ‘self’ is the wholeness that brings everything together.
Here you can find your ‘perch’ from which connection with the inner self, the real self brings you confidence, energy, and fearlessness to move forward.
The self here is limitless – and this is where the real unbounded creative and intuitive potential lies for each person and humanity.
This is the life force that runs through you. And here you are safe. There is no fear. There is only harmony.
What is the importance of practice in transforming the ‘self’?
Practice. Practice. Practice.
We each have our own inner truth and essence. And we need to practice sensing into this.
A way to do this is to move into silence. Not just silence as in ‘no speaking’ but inner silence. Time and space alone. Away from the external noise which distracts the EGO and your ‘smaller identities’.
Practice is something that is done over a long period of time. It is something you do without interruption. And it is something that you have to find the significance of for yourself.
Practice is more than an intellectual transmission. For real intelligence to develop – you have to experience it.
Practice is something that you don’t just do mechanically – you have to be fully absorbed and grasped by it.
For example, you can’t just preach about ‘honesty or trust’ – you have to practice ‘being honesty and trust’. In every aspect of your daily life.
This includes your social life in connection with others (Yama), in your personal life in connection with your own integrity (Nyama) and in your physical and spiritual practices in connection with greater existence (Asanas, Pranayama and meditation).
How do we practically un-create the I’ and move to the ‘WE’?
Although all transformative change must start with the individual – these practices are also applicable for your organisation and your work.
- Physical Health: Create a good state of physical and mental health for your inward journey.
- Find Silence: Discover practices of time in nature, asanas, pranayama and meditation. Find your ’perch’ of silence from which you can radiate.
- Curiosity: Be curious about your doubts and fears. Seek to understand the source of your fear. Only then can you move beyond it. What are the fear ‘kernels’ that are waiting to pop?
- Intention: Be clear on what and where you want to focus your energy and intention.
- Trust: Have conviction and believe that it is worth practicing. Only when things become relevant and significant to you, will you trust that change is possible. This can only come through the heart, not the head.
- Commitment and self-responsibility: The change first must start with you. Only then can you move to your field of ‘effectiveness’ (what you can directly influence). And draw boundaries with your ‘field of concern’ (what you can’t directly influence).
- Discernment: ‘Viveka’ is to be alert to what is and what is not relevant for you. Focus. Spend time with teachers who can help you discover what is meaningful to you.
- Take time: Aligning to your true inner self takes time and continuous cycles of practice, making sense and fine tuning.
It is with this practice you can align to your true inner self. A self that is not separate from anything. It is Rutham, the pattern of connectedness. And this is the practice that will create the great outer and inner alignment that humanity needs for there to be great harmony on this planet.
Dr Shrikrishna will be returning to the UK for a 6 day retreat on September 3-9th 2014. I highly recommend this retreat and this very special teacher. For more information contact Val or Robin on 01202740940 or 02082456420 or go to www.yogatherapy.org