Urdhva Yoga

Nurturing the Self: The Yogic Way in 5 Steps

To care for ourselves comes naturally to all living beings; if we observe birds, animals, and the plant kingdom, we see they are inherently aligned with their needs, nature, and surroundings, which guide them to attend to themselves. As humans, we possess a unique intelligence that enables us to discern who we are and what is beneficial for us. Despite this capability, we often neglect to tune in and listen to our inner wisdom, allowing ourselves to be primarily guided by our likes, dislikes and repetitive habits.
In Ayurveda, it is called Prajnaparadha, which means an intellectual crime or violation of judgment. The intelligence, as buddhi has the ability to differentiate between suitable and unsuitable things for an individual.
Returning to this inherent intelligence we have is the way to align us back to our natural state of health and serenity.

We explore 5 steps that are good to start with:

Step 1: Lead a Yogic Routine
The practice of dincharya and rtucharya in Ayurveda define the regimen for daily activities that is suitable to time and seasons:
  • “Early to bed and early to rise” holds true in yogic life
  • Slowing down activity post sunset and especially relaxing before bed time
  • Diet of fresh and natural foods that are easily digestible
  • Avoiding heavy, greasy, grain rich meals post sunset
  • Cleansing the body and senses; performing Yogasanas and pranayama
  • Eating meals in pleasant environment, with awareness and attention to food
Step 2: Karma Yoga – Work Joyfully
Most of our waking hours are spent doing work either in the office or at home or in transit.
“Monday morning blues” and “TGIF” are terms that display our dislike and resentment towards our work. Developing the right attitude to our work and performing work joyfully can give instant happiness that is neither postponed nor dependent on the outcome of the work.
The holy Bhagavad Gita defines Yoga as Yogah karmasu kausalam, meaning Yoga is skilfulness in action. We cannot live without performing action, when we consciously chose to not be resentful but learn to express joy in our work.
Step 3: Nourish the Body – Hatha Yoga
Starting with the body is a great way to lighten the burden of worries, confusion and anxiety.
  • Morning Ha-Tha Yoga will brighten up your day and energise the mind
  • Shat Kriyas are cleansing practices of nasal wash, stomach wash and colon washes that removes access waste matter and gives instant lightness
  • Practice of asanas gives strength and confidence in the self
  • Yogic relaxations help in releasing deeper tensions, allowing rest and rejuvenation
  • Pranayama enhances prana – the vital force of life dimmed by poor habits and unconscious breathing
Step 4: Clear the Mind – Meditation
A distracted and depressed mind cannot be steady and clear. Once some amount of cleansing and nourishing have been done gradually after a few weeks one can begin meditation.
  • Meditation gives deep rest to a mind that has learnt some concentration
  • Meditation is essential to remove deep rooted negative patterns and attitudes
  • Meditation is also psychotherapy giving us a period of calmness and clarity
Through meditation we can see our true nature that will be our inspiration for living a full and satisfying life.
Step 5: Self Study & Contemplation
To rise above our associations with sufferings and pains, we need to develop proper thinking. A faulty thinking can remain a perpetual source of misery. Inner transformation is necessary for leading a life of serenity and remaining undisturbed by ups and downs of life.
  • Swadhaya, study of yogic texts of philosophy
  • Reflections and study of the self as thoughts, speech and actions
  • Devotion and having a feeling of surrender to the divine principle in form of your guru or ishta devata can be deeply healing and empowering.
To begin, one must find a competent teacher or guide who can understand your needs and can provide right guidance. It also requires a commitment of the student to follow and be self-disciplined to walk this path of freedom.
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