I am so blessed to have been able to learn from a guru such as Sri Dharma Mittra. His teachings are vast and encompass all Eight Limbs of classical yoga. Yet, despite his more than 50 years of yoga practice and teaching, his ideas are simple and accessible even to newer yogis.
Here are 5 things I learned from this living master:
1. Let go of expectations
Expectations lead to a restless mind, and expectations often result in disappointment. It’s actually quite simple to live the life of a yogi: you must simply always do your best. Do good deeds, because that is what needs to be done. By behaving this way, selfishness will disappear, and ignorance will dissipate.
2. Follow the ethical rules
All religions have a set of ethical rules. Although yoga is not considered a religion, it is a spiritual practice with guidelines that must be honored in order attain spiritual bliss. Sri Dharma Mittra speaks of Ahimsa (non-harming) as the foundation of this practice. If we can be grounded in ahimsa, doing the least amount of harm possible with our words, thoughts and actions, then the other Yamas will naturally occur. We can practice non-harming three or more times a day by making the choice to not eat meat or animal products.
3. Practice breath control
The ancient yogis believed that we are given a predetermined amount of breaths in our lives. The practice of pranayama, or breath control, was developed to extend the breath, therefore extending one’s life. Sri Dharma Mittra suggests practicing pranayama when the mind is calm, traditionally between 4 and 6 am.
4. Refrain from eating late at night
If you must eat after 6 pm, then limit your intake to salads, green juices and fruit. If you can adhere to this rule, you will find a more deep and rested sleep, as your body will not need to be working to digest your foods. If the belly is empty at night, you can surely wake up refreshed and prepared for your day.
5. Stop making excuses
Let go of making excuses as to why you cannot maintain the practice. Live simply, let go of the temptations of the modern world, and practice these principles daily.
Yogini Dana is a Philadelphia native, Mamma to two daughters, Hot Vinyasa Yoga Studio Owner, Co- Director of 200 Hour Teacher Trainings, College Professor, Vegan Advocate, travel lover, dog and two cat owner, Autism researcher…living the life of a Yogini to the best of her ability.
Is there a particular outcome, opportunity, or material thing you really want in this moment?
Do you hold on to expectations of how certain people around you should behave and treat you?
And do you have high expectations of yourself?