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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Finding Inner Peace: Yoga Techniques (3)

A RADIO TALK on "Yoga Research" by Sri NV Raghuram for local NPR, WUWM, Milwaukee/USA can be listened to at
Date: October 5, 2006
Program name: Lake Effect

Everyone else is second level and third level seekers of spirituality or freedom. Therefore others must ask another question, “How do we detach and practice slowness? How do we obtain a calm state of mind?” The great Arjuna belongs to this category. That is why he asks Krishna the question, “Krishna, you ask me to calm the mind, but it is so difficult. I can stop the vayu but to control the mind is very difficult.”
We must face that it is difficult to calm the mind. For that purpose, we sit down peacefully, quietly wanting to control the mind. In two minutes, our legs start hurting. Now we need to change our position as we try to continue to calm our mind. But now the new posture begins causing pain. Your body does not cooperate with you. After you take care of all those things and so you sit down again to calm the mind and suddenly you feel hungry. You want a small cookie or something. But you just had a meal so how could you feel hungry? So you strongly tell yourself, “ I am not going to listen to my stomach. Let me calm my mind.” You want to be very serious about this, but the mind is very tricky. Once you decide that you do not want to think about the body, your body begins to create hurdles for you such as pain or an itch. The body is coming in the way of a peaceful mind. Hence, you need to do something to the body so that the body will help you calm down the mind, such as physical yoga techniques. In order to keep the mind calm, the body needs to relax. The physical level is not the only level at which we have disturbances within our personality. For example, we have disturbances in our prana which we will discuss at a later time.

All of these disturbances that are at every level of our personality begin to percolate deep within us and begin to effect our pathology and becomes the cause for sickness in us. When we remove these disturbances, we regain health. This is how we work in yoga therapy. In a future topic we will discuss sickness from the point of view of yoga and how yoga can help alleviate the sickness.

Another important aspect of these disturbances, which we today call stress, is how they develop from our mind. There are so many disturbances in the mind so if we need to find a solution for the stress, a technique to control the mind. The affects of this stress limits our potential. For example, when we are agitated, our memory is lessened and our creativity is diminished. In this sense, every walk of life needs peace of mind. Now the question is how do we apply that in our various personality levels? Because we are not only the body, but also the mind, we are often times identified with intellect and other times emotion.

So we come to the important questions of “what am I? Who am I? What is this thing “I”? This is a very important philosophical question. Our whole life passes without ever knowing what “I” is. We use the word “I” so frequently and so easily- “I am happy, I am sad, I am angry, I am depressed, I am old, I am young.” We use the word “I” so freely but do we know what this “I” is? Another fundamental question is what is the use of knowing what “I” is?

When we delve into the inquiry of “I” we begin to see a beautiful definition of yoga. In the next topic we will take up this question of “I”. This inquiry will help us within yoga. When we investigate “I” and find yoga, we will explore integral yoga. That is why this practice is called “integrated yoga practice,” and what we refer to as IAYT- Integrated Approach of Yoga Therapy.


Sri Raghuramji is in Japan. Please visit to review his tour program.

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