Before doing Asana or any Yogic practices for the peace of mind the following quote must be digested fully.
“Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana, Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani” Bhagavad Gita, Chapter II, Verse 47
Which means, “You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.”
Most of our mental disturbances are due to a situation not under our control or things not happened as expected. Mental peace will come only with mental adjustment and change of frame of mind.
Relax and believe in what is stated in the Bhagavad Gita. With this new belief, most of the mental stress/disturbance will disappear. Now for the remaining little stress following Yogic practices will be of immense help.
What we have believed as Yogic practices are doing Asana and Pranayama. We have to suspend our belief of doing something physical for a while. What really is needed is practicing of the 2nd limb of Yoga i.e. Niyama.
There are five Niyama everyone needs to practice. These are;
1) Cleanliness (Shaucha)
Cleanliness is very basic and important. Cleanliness is of body and mind, both. Our mind is occupied with many unwanted thoughts. Get rid of unwanted acquired thoughts consciously. You may read a good book or listen to pleasing and shooting music to clean your mind of unwanted thoughts. Cleanliness of mind and body is a prerequisite for Yogic practices.
2) Contentment (Santosha)
Not following this concept is another major contributor to our mental disturbance. Our desire is the root of all evil. This is said by the Buddha and in Ramayana and all ancient scriptures. But we not only have desires, but we have insatiable desires.
Contentment refers to a deep sense of acceptance and gratitude for one’s situation in life no matter what it is.
Contentment is not laziness but believing in what is stated in Gita in the above shloka.
3) Penance/Austerity (Tapa)
Tapa means self-discipline. Jainism defines 12 types of Tapas. Six internal and six external. Self-discipline or Tapas burns away all impurities, physical, mental and karmic. Yes, Tapas can burn Karma attached to the soul. Read here: Law of Karma – Getting rid of Karma
4) Self-study (Swadhyaya)
“Know thyself” is the most famous of the Greek Delphic maxims, and this is what Patanjali was also advocating.
We are firmly rooted in the ego and a sense of separateness from everything and everybody else. This “I” consciousness is so strongly rooted that we never even question it.
This constant reflection about the self and who am I? is known as Swadhyaya.
Further reading: The Real Maths or Body and Soul
5) Surrender (Isvara Pranidhana)
Since most of our desire remains unfulfilled and most of the things happen never as per our expectations, we need to surrender everything to the God. In this way, we can remove I from everything we do. We can practice detachment by practicing Surrender.
These are the five Yogic practices to achieve mental peace. We don’t need a Yoga mat or any place to practice. It’s all in our mind. Practicing these five Niyama can gradually bring mental peace to our lives forever.
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” Helen Keller
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