In Art of Wellness, my next book, I outline how to incorporate yogic principals and practices into your daily life. Just as the asanas strengthen our bodies and quiet our minds, there are a number of other practices in yoga that help us create positive and lasting change in our lives and prevent unnecessary suffering. For instance the yogic process of transformation, known as Kriya yoga, involves three fundamental steps; tapas, translated as intention, enthusiasm, or passion, svadhyaya, described as self-awareness or examination; and finally isvara pranidhana, or the faith beyond belief. These fundamental concepts of intention, self-awareness, and faith, beyond belief, are the central principals of Kriya and the backbone from which all life experimentation, and true change, begins. When you follow these steps, no matter what issue you are trying to work through, you will see the patterns in your life that create suffering.
To help bring the Kriya path to life, I often advise students to find something they are passionate about changing and then decide to work on that for a two-week period of time. Perhaps you want to lose weight and improve your health and have determined that sugar is a culprit. I then will ask you to commit to eliminating it from your diet for just two weeks. Once you have found something you are enthusiastic about changing you can then move on to the next step of svadhyaya. During this phase, you must pay attention to the changes in your mood, relationships, behavior, eating habits, and body functions. Journal, illustrate, or make art to document your observations. If you decided to eliminate sugar from your diet, then notice how much energy it takes to shift out of a habitual pattern. Notice what happens in your body and mind. What changes do you see in your life and what impact does this change have in those around you. Notice if you’re losing weight by stepping on the scale or trying on those tight jeans. Are you less moody or emotional? Are you experiencing withdrawal symptoms? Once you get through this experiment phase, you will know for certain how powerful sugar is, and will have arrived at the third step, isvara pranidhana; first-hand experience which leads to faith beyond belief. You will know first-hand what a powerful drug sugar is and by going through withdrawal, you will understand how it contributes to weight gain, mood swings, or A.D.D. Kriya’s three-step process is a tried and true practice for creating successful and sustained changes.
Our current transition on the west coast between Winter and Spring is one of the best transit times to consider doing a two week long elimination experiment to prepare for deeper Spring cleansing in just a few weeks! Stay tuned for more cleansing ideas to come.
If you are interested in learning more about Seasonal Vinyasa Yoga for the Spring, please join me in Hawaii, March 20-27, 2010 at Kalani Oceanside Retreat Center! You can read more or register on my website: