Yoga Teacher Training – Day 14
It’s hard living two lives at the same time, in two different time zones, no less! In other words, I’ve been coming home from the Yoga Institute at 5PM Indian Standard Time (which is 7:30AM Eastern US Standard Time) and getting to work churning out assignments for the law firm I work at.
OK, no more excuses. Day 14 started with a very interesting discussion on what they called the four pillars of yoga: Ahar, Vihar, Achar, and Vichar. Basically, we can better our health by cultivating positive and healthy patterns of food consumption (ahar), recreational activities (vihar), routines/rituals (achar), and thought patterns (vichar) (more here). Naturally, my legally-trained mind questioned the source of such a bold assertion (4 pillars of yoga!), and in response to my question, the teacher talked about a series of books, and finally revealed that these were the brainchild of the founder of the institute, Sri Yogendraji.
Which is great, because it confirms that the institute strongly believes in approaching anything with the right attitude, or bhava (i.e. positive and constructive), as a fundamental practice in yoga. For instance, approaching certain meditative asanas (seated postures) can minimize thought patterns, leading to a clearer vision of one’s duty and purpose here on earth.
“The mind, in its own place, can make heaven of hell, or hell of heaven.” -John Milton
We also learned about two ways to cultivate patterns (bhavana): Anitya Bhavana encourages being aware that change is the only constant, thereby helping us control our attachments (and minimizing suffering), and Pratipaksh Bhavana teaches recognizing and replacing any harmful thoughts with their opposite to train our mind to be constructive rather than destructive. For example, feeling ill and thinking the worst case scenario can be replaced with thinking about the best case scenario (is the only example that comes to mind right now – I’m a pretty positive guy).
Followed this up by some Asanas, and finally learned Yoni Mudra – a fun way to eliminate distractions and go within.