Sunil Sharma* – my yoga philosophy, pranayama, yoga nidra and meditation teacher at Tattvaa Yogashala in Rishikesh (India) – was recently invited to speak at the National Seminar on Fitness and Wellness at Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education in Gwalior (India) on the topic of ‘Wellness and its view in Yoga Philosophy’. In the hereafter, a first extract from his talk focusing on the law of Karma.
For not Indian people, I believe some of the concepts may sound quite ‘extreme‘, at least they still sound like that to me. Nonetheless, on a milder side, let’s not forget Yama and Niyama – right living or ethical rules – are the first 2 pillars of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga.
Thank you Sunil for sharing with us!
All Indian philosophies have some common characteristics despite of all their differences. One of them is the Law of Karma. All philosophies of India unanimously agree that we are product of our Karmas. Hence, one has to always keep an eye on its own karma and exhaust it in order to get liberation.
Yoga philosophy is based on the premise that all actions performed by the body, are first performed by the mind. So, if a disease arises in our body then it has its origin in our mind. Modern medicine has also accepted the fact that all diseases are psychosomatic. And if there is no attention paid on psychological processes (thoughts, feelings and actions) then no therapy will ever cure diseases.
Swami Shivananda puts the same idea in this way: “The diseases we suffer from the births we get here on earth are all products of actions done by us in previous times. Every action has its reaction and no action goes unrewarded in a suitable manner. Evil actions do not go without their bitter effects upon the doer. Here are given some of the many pitiable conditions of life which man has to live in due to his careless sinful deeds.”
Yoga philosophy offers a very clear methodology to cure psychosomatic disorder and achieve holistic health. All schools of yoga whether it is psychological types of yoga (Jnana, Bhakti and Karma Yoga) or psycho-physical types of yoga (Tantra, Mantra and Hatha Yoga) focus on systematic control of emotions and thought processes by the application of asana, pranayama, meditation, yoga nidra as well as control of diet and adherence to certain codes of conduct.
It is very interesting to note that in almost all spiritual discipline highest emphasis has been given on following the righteous way of living rather than living a life guided by reflexes and impulses.
In Bhagavad Gita its very clearly stated that “In the person who dwells upon objects, an attachment is born with reference to them. From attachment is born desire and from desire, anger is born. From anger comes delusion and from delusion comes the loss of memory. Because of the loss of memory, the mind becomes incapacitated, the person is destroyed.” (B.G. 2/62-63)
So one who wants to enjoy health and well-being has to keep an eye on reflexes and impulsive desires otherwise a vicious cycle will start which will not only ruin the physical health but may also cause psychological disorders.
Soon a second extract focusing on ‘Principles of health and wellness in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras’. Don’t miss it, click the ‘follow’ button on the right-hand side to receive the new article directly in your mail inbox!
*Sunil Sharma trained in Traditional and Scientific Yoga from Kaivalyadhama, Lonavla (India). He is Post Graduate in Psychology and has International Diploma in Guidance and Counseling from National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), New Delhi. He has been teaching yoga at various levels in India and abroad since 2001. His areas of specialization are Asana, Pranayama, Yoga Philosophy, Meditation and Yogic Counseling.