I often come across with a loads of questions on what is yogic lifestyle. Everything that we see, read and hear about yoga today is coming from vivid sources as that of teachers, texts and random information. From all the sources present for knowledge, and they are really a lot, it is sometimes difficult to ascertain the desired information that we want. There are numerous views of setting up a yogic lifestyle and to follow the same. So people are many a times confused with what to follow and what not. Based on my experiences, i have tried to put together some pieces of advice for all those who like to know more of such a lifestyle.
Indian culture is very much based upon the hints and cautions provided by yogis and keepers of tradition from ages and even today we can see people adhering to such rules. To be more precise, yogic lifestyle is a natural way of living in accordance with the laws of nature around us. There is a correlate in yogic philosophy of Prakriti and Purush. Prakriti is the Nature and Purush is consciousness. Consciousness is represented by the living beings and nature by the consummates of those living beings. According to Shiva purana, a text describing incidences related to Shiva and Shakti, who are both partners and resemblances of prakriti and purush, only when consciousness behaves in accordance with prakriti, there is a balance in the world. When it gets distracted and start behaving anonymously, the balance is lost and a chaos manifests.
On practical grounds, we as being are the offshoots of that conscious element and the world of objects around is prakriti or nature. If we behave and live in coordination with nature, that is a yogic lifestyle. If this connection breaks, things goes berserk bringing diseases and disturbances physical and mental. Thus a yogic lifestyle is that which promotes healthy living in harmony with the environment.
how to live a yogic lifestyle, There are some points to be noted for determining and yogic lifestyle for ourselves:
1. Sleeping habits determines the level of health to a great extent. Yoga promotes “early to bed and early to rise” principles. Because physical, mental and spiritual energies are at highest during 4 to 6 am and that period is called BRAHMMUHRAT, the time of Brahm or divine. So waking up early allows these energies to be utilised when they are available. In early days, people used to go out early to work so as to use the best of their efficiency in the job concerned. And as a common observation, everyone can find out that longer we sleep, harder it becomes to wake up and that freshness which should come after sleep is absent.
2. Dreams are an important element of sleep patterns. They are necessary in that they help releasing the pent up emotional stresses which cannot be acknowledged in the wakeful state. So everybody under normal circumstances dream, whether knowingly or unknowingly, to get rid of such tensions. At the same time, dreams in excess can be something which consumes much of the energy resources available. In the morning between 4 to 6, body secretes a special hormone called Seratonin, which is responsible for inhibiting the dreams. Thus it is good time to come out of sleep without getting caught in the act. After this time, there is a intense recurrence of dreaming process which are more exhausting then the other phases of night and the person feels dull after waking up.
3. Melatonin, a hormone from pineal gland, is secreted during the night, to inhibit the vital energy and arouse sleep. This secretion stops at around 4 am and since then the vital energy which is pure and clean is readily available to be utilised.
4. The flow of Pran through Sushumna, which is considered to be a sacred phenomenon in yoga and much sought after by all the yogis, happens automatically during dawn, i.e 1 to 2 hours before sunrise. This flow can allow a person to gain higher levels of concentrations of mind which can be used for several purposes related to mental work and efficiency. Either for meditations or for studies, this time is the best. In india, you can find students, waking up early morning to sit for studies and this gives them a deep undertanding of their subjects.
‘Bhagwad Geeta’ gives a perfect and precise definition of a yogic lifestyle in the 17th sloka of 6th chapter when Krishna says:
“Yuktahar Vihaarasya Yuktcheshtasya Karmasu
Yuktsvapnaavbodhasya Yogo Bhavati Dukhahaa ||”
‘Yoga becomes a destroyer of sorrow of one whose eating and movements are regulated, whose effort in work is moderate and whose sleep and wakefulness are temperate’
As per the definition sleeping and eating are two main constituents of our lifestyle.
- Yoga insist a balanced diet for the individual which must be simple vegetarian menu and followed by a Fasting regime once in a week which allows the system to vitalise and settle any disorders emerging up.
A golden formula for all to follow has been suggested by the age old traditions of Ayurveda and yoga and which is;’Out of 4 spheres of stomach, 2/4th must be filled with food, 1/4th with the water and 1/4th must be kept empty for air.
- The day must be ended with a light meal easy on the stomach and intestines.
- Fixed eating times keeps the bio rythms of in a healthier pattern.
- Eating between the meals must be discouraged. Ideally its a 3 meal day in a yogic lifestyle. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Apart from exceptional circumstances where person needs to keep the stomach filled up regularly, having 3 meals in a day is an ideal proportion.
Then, Yoga also talks about behaviour and attitude. A yogic lifestyle suggest to limit the social interactions only to the required frameworks and not exaggerating the extroversion, which ultimately has a disturbing effect on the mental and neural circuits as too much of unnecessary migeling brings a variety of energies to be dealt with and this can create a complex of psychological patterns which is complicated to deal with and the person might end up in a fragmented state of mind.
Also awareness in action is a serious task which a yogi has to attempt by a regular practise. Awareness is a quality of consciousness which by which i can witness the incidences happening inside and outside. More the awareness develops, more a yogi abandons following the mind into the objects and building images and false conceptions about the reality.
Although there are several components of yogic lifestyle, but if these mentioned above can be adapted into our lives, we can make a huge influence over the past conditionings and can carve out a new framework for ourselves from which it becomes easier to transcend towards a purposeful living. These are very practical principles which can be percived by anyone living in any culture or society, as per their own living conditions and by making slight modulations in the routine, we can see very fundamental results given the fact that they are followed religiously with very little chances of missing or skipping.