Below are quotations from a variety of Yoga texts.
"In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self, and should therefore refrain from inflicting upon them such injury as would appear undesirable to us if inflicted upon ourselves." - The Yoga Shastra
"This is the quintessence of wisdom; not to kill any being. All breathing, existing, living sentient creatures should not be slain, nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away. This is the pure unchangeable law. Therefore, cease to injure living beings." - The Yoga Shastra
"All living beings love their life, desire pleasure and do not like pain; they dislike any injury to themselves; everybody is desirous of life and to every being their life is very dear." - The Yoga Shastra
Because the ethical foundation of Yoga is 'ahimsa' ('non-violence'), living vegan is the most important aspect of a Yogic life. So if you read nothing else on this page, take this to heart: veganism is Yoga in action.
Find out more about veganism by clicking on these links:
"Float in the moment." - David Life
"Avoidance is never a cure. Ever." - David Life
"If you think you know everything, that's the end. You must keep asking questions." - David Life
"Study your history, yes, so that you don't repeat the same mistakes. But if you stay mired in that history you'll never be free." - David Life
"Lose your taste for things that don't taste good. Things like anger, jealousy, resentment." - Sharon Gannon
"Purify your speech - that is, speak the truth." - Sharon Gannon
"Life begins with an inhale and ends with an exhale. ln between that first inhale and that last exhale is your life." - Sharon Gannon
"The present moment is where eternity exists." - Sharon Gannon
"The aim of Yoga, therefore, is not to change the body but to change our minds."
"Some people will say they don't want to be political. Well, you can't help but be political. Every action, every choice you make affects us all. To say that you are political is to say that you care about the world we all live in. Caring for others will bring you closer to liberation sooner than anything else will. And Yoga provides a wonderful template for responsible action."
"Yoga is not a passive practice. The life of the Yoga practitioner is not normal. A normal life is one spent trying to avoid pain and seek pleasure. The Yoga practitioner, on the other hand, experiences pain and pleasure with equanimity."
"Our actions must not be selfish or self-absorbed, because most of the world's problems stem from selfishness."
"When we relinquish selfishness as our motivating principle, the potential for true happiness opens up. From compassion toward others you will realize happiness for yourself. Through service to all beings you will experience the bliss of the end of suffering for yourself."
"We are all profoundly affected by the unseen all the time. We suffer from anxiety, sadness, depression, despair, and confusion, for example. The practices of Yoga equip us with tools for transcending this suffering - and for transcending our moments of happiness, too. Even moments of elation, contentment, and joy carry the future pain of their termination, after all. The practices of Yoga will help you maintain equanimity in all situations by teaching you to allow both joy and sorrow to flow through you without destroying your peace of mind."
"Yoga class is physically challenging; it's about walking the razor's edge. Challenging your preconceptions about your abilities helps you push beyond the limitations imposed by your mind."
"The Yogic texts tell us that a liberated person views all with equanimity, seeing no difference between the mud puddle and the crystal lake, or the diamond and the dust. If you're attached to preferences - this is good, this bad; this is natural, this is unnatural; this is clean, this is dirty - then you cannot know the truth. You're caught in the chitta-vritti, the fluctuations of the mind. This is what the mind is equipped to do: to separate this thing from that thing. Yoga practices teach us to go beyond the mind and perceive the cosmic consciousness that animates all beings."
"How many of us are completely appreciative of our parents? Parental issues cause a lot of unhappiness. To appreciate and acknowledge truly the gift of life that came from our parents and our birth is a great step forward toward enlightenment."
"The way you view your everyday life will start to change. You will begin to perceive the magical qualities hidden in ordinary existence. You realize that everything and everyone can become your teacher. Even if your everyday experiences don't prove enlightening to you, is your ordinary life worse for the appreciation?"
"It takes maturity to embrace difficulties and to see within them potential for enlightenment. The greatest growth can come from appreciating difficult times in your life and facing them fully with an open heart."
"We spend the first half of our lives developing a personality and the second half defending it because we worked so hard on it ('Sure, I'm stubborn - I'm a Taurus!'). The personality therefore becomes more rigid.The next time you catch yourself clinging rigidly to your personality reflect that you do not have to behave in a fashion consistent with the personality you've constructed thus far."
"Yoga is realized when identification with the fluctuations of the mind ceases We have all been at the mercy of the fluctuations of our minds. Our thoughts can agitate us, please us, torture us we must allow our attention to disengage from the fluctuations of the mind so that we can go beyond thought, to a higher state of consciousness."
"When we are suffering from self-pity and loneliness, a surefire cure is to care more for others and the reduction of their suffering. When we shift our thoughts away from our own suffering, it diminishes."
"The intention behind any action is always more important than the action itself."
"Your present situation is the solution, not the problem because it's an opportunity for us to learn, through experience, how it really feels to suffer from a particular experience. By suffering we learn compassion, which brings us closer to all beings."
"In the Yogic model, guilt is not productive or helpful. Guilt arises from the past. The past is something we cannot change. So why fret over it?"
"You can start by paying attention to your own actions. You are the agent for your fate. You had everything to do with where you are now. What you did before matters. What you are doing now matters. What you are thinking now matters."
"The Yogi accepts a turn of events with equanimity, knowing that pleasure and pain never last forever."
"Yogis accept difficulties as opportunities."
"It is wise to give thanks for everything that happens, knowing that the present situation can change in an instant."
"A Yogi understands that it is best to stay detached and thankful for whatever happens."
"How do you develop appreciation of even adverse circumstances? Through forgiveness of yourself and others. To forgive, you must realize that we all act according to our capacity. We act within our capacity at every moment that we act. But capacity can change. We could do something according to our capacity one moment, and then look back a moment later and see our action in a different light. Perhaps we should have, or could have, done something else. We must forgive ourselves, remembering that at that time we could not have done anything but what we did. If we realize that we are doing the best we can at any given moment, and that everyone else is also doing his or her best, then it is easier to forgive. Forgiveness frees us."
"Developing equanimity of mind in all situations leads to the understanding that running away from unpleasant situations will not lead to lasting happiness. Let's say you are unhappy with your job and wish to quit. One day your frustration and anger reach a breaking point and you hand in your resignation. When you find a new job, you may initially be elated, but it will probably only be a matter of time before frustration and anger take over again. The correct response would be to never leave a situation while you are in a state of anger, jealousy, or despair. If you wish to be permanently free of the unpleasant situation so that you do not have to repeat it, you must find a way to be thankful for it. You must leave while in a state of happiness. Don't wait to be happy until after you quit your job. Your job is not what is standing in the way of your happiness; your state of mind is."
"Anger may feel good temporarily, as it seems to relieve frustration, but in the long run it causes harm because it disturbs your joy. Anger mires us deeper in ignorance and pain."
"First gain equanimity of mind, and then you can make decisions based on clarity and wisdom."
"Generosity is the key to true beauty, a beauty that comes from inside."
"There's not really much difference between the hero and the coward: they both feel the same fears and anxieties. The hero acts in spite of these fears and anxieties, however, whereas the coward turns away from action. The cultural hero seeks to break the chains of his or her culture's particular illusions; the coward lives in denial."
"Throughout human history, cultural heroes like Dr Martin Luther King Jr and Mahatma Gandhi have chosen the path of non-violence...It is a challenging path to take, because it is rarely the path of the majority and because it takes more courage to meet violence with kindness and compassion than to meet violence with violence. Non-violence also happens to be the ethical foundation of Yoga."
"Compassion is an essential ingredient of ahimsa (non-violence). Through compassion you begin to see yourself in other beings. This helps you refrain from causing harm to them. Developing compassion does something else, however, which is of special interest to the yogi. It trains the mind to see past outer differences of form. You begin to catch glimpses of the inner essence of other beings, which is happiness. You begin to see that every single creature desires happiness."
"When you recognize that cows and chickens want happiness, just as you do, you recognize kindred spirits. The distinction between you and other beings wears thin, as awareness begins to dawn."
"We cannot change what we have done in the past and there is no point in feeling guilty about it. What we can do is start living compassionate lives right now."
"Much cruel violence is perpetrated against animals in the name of medical research, for example, because it is thought to be a necessary evil. In using animals for medical research, we rationalize the cruelty involved by declaring that the results of the research may relieve suffering for many people. But no lasting benefit can ever come from causing harm to another. Only the foolish would be deluded otherwise."
"Cultural heroes risk their own happiness by defying what the culture tells them they must do to be happy. They choose instead to do what they believe is just."
"Your cultural upbringing may tell you that you need to eat meat and dairy and eggs to be strong and healthy, for example, but your Yoga practice recommends that you practice ahimsa which means non-violence and is the ethical foundation of Yoga. Which path will you choose?"'
"When you come before any teacher, set aside 'I know,' so that you can be taught. If you are already filled up with knowledge, like a cup full of tea, and your teacher attempts to pour new tea into your cup, you will just overflow and no benefit will be obtained."
"The guru need not be a perfect enlightened being. The student's enlightenment does not depend on the teacher's attainment but on the student's sincere devotion to the Truth."
"Our relationship to the Earth, however, has become like a chair with two short legs and two long ones - very unsteady. How can it be otherwise when imprisonment of the mothers of many species to make money from their eggs, milk, children, and flesh is considered normal, and ethical veganism is considered offbeat? When resources are depleted without replenishment, and the water, air, and land are polluted with the toxic residues of greed? Humans have abdicated their responsibility to the Earth because they have come to feel that what they do does not matter. They sit, therefore, in a very rocky seat. It is becoming clear, however, that what we do does matter. We cannot continue to ravage the Earth without dire consequences."
"Whether you are in handstand or mountain pose, your breath should remain the same: even and steady. If it fluctuates, you've let your thoughts take over. Any thought besides 'breathing in and breathing out' interferes with smooth, easy breathing. Thoughts like 'I can't do this' or 'I'm doing this so well!' will distract you from your breathing."
"During asana practice, thoughts about your life may begin to flood your mind. When you realize this is happening, shift your attention back to your breath."
"When you're in any asana and feel limitation, don't focus your attention on the limitation. That directs your energy toward the tendency that created the limitation. Whatever we give our energy or attention to gets stronger. If we focus on our difficulties, they gain power from that focus. Instead, let energy flow through your body and mind unimpeded."
"Things do not last forever. Change is the inherent nature of material existence. Even your body will let you down in the end. It will grow old and die. When we expect life to proceed unchanged, change - when it does come - leaves us surprised and hurt. When we resist change and cling to yesterday, disappointment is quick to appear. In our desperate search for stability, we look in all the wrong places. Asana practice reveals how the body changes on a daily, weekly, or monthly cycle, or throughout a lifetime…Through asana practice, we discover the importance of embracing change in the realm of body/mind and we discover stability in the inner realm. Surrender to change. In fact, allow it to happen to you. Don't resist it. To allow the great forces to move through you without resistance creates freedom. Embracing change creates ease in the world."
"Asana encourages awareness by giving us an opportunity to put ourselves into the various shapes and patterns of existence and experience the dynamic force that animates all form. In the Celtic myth of Camelot, Merlin teaches the young Arthur how to become a good king. The wizard transforms the boy into various life-forms: animals, plants, and minerals. As Arthur experiences the perspectives of those over whom he has lordship, he is better prepared to rule with compassion. This is Yoga, the experience of the vitality of life in all forms of life."
"Each asana is a unique vibrational expression of an aspect of manifestation you experience the flowing river of life as you become cat-cow-cobra-dog. When we place ourselves in an asana, we express the vibrational essence of the life-form that the asana embodies."
"People can react very strongly when feeling their limitations. In asana practice, some students rumple to the floor in sobbing heaps and give up; others become enraged and force their way past their limitations, injuring themselves; still others cower in fear and never do make peace with limitation because they don't allow themselves to get near it. The solution is simple: Do not identify with the limitations you come across while practicing asana, or in your daily life. The yogi on the bed of nails feels every nail, but the look of serenity on his face shows that he identifies not with this limitation, but with his limitless Self. Simply expose yourself to the various changing asana shapes, which are methodically introduced limitations, and use the breath to work through the tendency to react negatively."
"If you practice Yoga for small, selfish reasons, you will remain the same, bound by your beliefs about what you can and cannot do. Let go and offer your effort to limitless potential. Dedicate yourself to the happiness of all beings."
"In our culture veganism is a difficult practice to sustain while living in a culture that promotes the degradation of animals. Not everyone can stand on his or her head all day, meditate in silence for three years but everyone usually eats every day. Consciously choose to eat food that has been obtained by causing the least amount of harm to others."
"Most of us never stop moving, day or night. To place the body in one position and hold it in a state of repose, to watch the breath move through the body and watch the thoughts move through the mind is a very precious and rare opportunity."
"We have built a personality from all of our preferences. We get stuck in our likes and dislikes and in our short-lived pleasures and disappointments. We carry them with us in the very way we move and hold our body. Meditation practice allows these patterns to surface so that we can let them go, allowing for a transformation of personality. Letting go of old ways of reacting to situations and things allows us to become open and flexible and not hold on to a rigid sense of self."
"The inner quest is a thorny path that ultimately must be walked alone."
"Fear of public criticism stands in the way of a person's progress. Yet even in the face of persecution, one must stick to his convictions. Then only can one grow."
"Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape." - anonymous
"I do yoga so that I can stay flexible enough to kick my own ass if necessary." - Betsy Canas Garmon
"Sun salutation can energize and warm you, even on the darkest, coldest winter day." - Carol Krucoff
"Mountain pose teaches us, literally, how to stand on our own two feet." - Carol Krucoff
"Tree Pose grows confidence." - Terri Guillemets
"Warrior Pose battles inner weakness and wins focus. You see that there is no war within you. You're on your own side, and you are your own strength." - The Quote Garden
"Chair Pose is a defiance of spirit, showing how high you can reach even when you're forced down." - The Quote Garden
All unimportant matters drop off you in Ragdoll Pose. Very few things are genuinely important. The truth sways before you." - anonymous
"Corpse Pose restores life. Dead parts of your being fall away, the ghosts are released." - the Quote Garden
"Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured." - BKS Iyengar
"Yoga makes the rough road smooth." - Sri Rama
“Even if you’re not a mother yourself, each of us had one once! Many of the animals mistreated by farming are mothers. We take their milk, their eggs, and, most disturbingly, we take their children to kill and eat without a second thought. Veganism is an important part of a serious Yoga practice.” - from Spirituality And The City by Katie Spiers
"The yogi knows that the path towards satisfaction of the senses by sensual desires is broad, but that it leads to destruction and that there are many who follow it. The path of Yoga is like the sharp edge of a razor, narrow and difficult to tread, and there are few who find it. The yogi knows that the paths of ruin or of salvation lie within himself." - from Light On Yoga by BKS Iyengar
"Don't solve your problems, dissolve your problems - so they should not recur again."
"There is no freedom which is free. Pain is part of the deal."
"First you make habits, then habits make you."
"It's only when you truly surrender and accept that you can move on in your life."
"If we wait until we are no longer bothered by someone's behavior, there will never be any acceptance. Acceptance is an act of pure grace."
"To carry a grudge is like being stung to death by one bee."
"If you accept and learn not to criticize yourself, you will find true health - physically, mentally, and emotionally."
"Acceptance of someone does not excuse their transgressions. It just means that you don't want to be burdened with the feeling of the pain it caused any longer. You accept another to set yourself free from the bondage of resentment."
"Empathy is not sympathy. Sympathy says, "I feel as you do," whereas empathy says, "I know how you feel." The best part of empathy is that it allows for healthy detachment. I don't need to feel your suffering, I just need to remember that I, too, have suffered as you are suffering. Empathy is about acknowledging that we are all separate, but also interconnected."
''I didn't care if she liked me. I liked me."
"Whenever you do something, do it as a piece of art. Otherwise just don't do it. Let everything express the creativity of you."
"To experience true creativity, we must always be willing to let go of the results."
"We are often sent angels in the disguise of troublemakers."
"You never really know until you take something out of your life, take a vacation from something, exactly how it fits into your life."
"Guilt has its purpose. Just as anger, fear, and grief have their appropriate places, so does guilt. Allow guilt to serve as a warning for you; let it tell you when you are violating your own core values. I feel guilty, I apologize. But that is where the guilt ends. I don't have to keep track of my bad behavior and use it beat myself up. I take care of it, end of story. If we don't use guilt as a warning device the same way we use fear or anger, it begins to fester in us."
"It you want to know a thing, read that. If you want to understand a thing, study that. And if you want to master a thing, teach that."
"Lose yourself in the elegance and challenge of a posture, the constant vastness, capability, and endurance of your body, and the deepening of your ability to find release in meditation."
"Chances are there are many things that you will be called to create in this lifetime, and it is never too late to begin. You can begin to create your life with your next breath, or the next one after that. The choice is up to you."
"Another traditional image is that of the lotus flower, which has long roots that go down deep into the mud, all to support the delicate blossom at the top. Even with that image there comes judgment; everybody is happy to have a picture of a lotus blossom on their wall, people don't usually want to frame the roots and the muck. It is important that we see the beauty in the foundation, the roots of our system."
"Your grit is not based on your muscles. Your grit is based on how deeply you breathe."
"If you only take one thing away from this entire book let it be this: stop holding your breath."
"Your entire way of life can change if you change your clothing and your food."
"I learned something remarkable. When we commit to something, anything that is basically good, no matter how small, it has a huge effect on other people, in ways that are almost impossible to quantify."
"You don't have to do anything earthshaking to make a real difference in people's lives, you just have to be present, committed to whatever it is you do. You can be of service in the most mundane way, if you are present and committed every moment of the day."
"The student of the traveling Zen master thought for a moment and then replied, 'My master is very magical. When he sits down to eat, he eats. When he walks, he walks. And when he talks, he talks.' Yoga and meditation are a lifelong practice that can help remind us of how exactly to be here, now."
"If you do a difficult pose and your body starts shaking, I say welcome the shaking. It's better to shake a little now as you heal your nervous system, than to shake when you are old, and not be able to stop."
"Use your Yoga practice to feel your emotions on a physical level; then as you experience them, you can move past them and become victorious over them."
"Emotions are like guests. They should be treated very nicely and gently, and sent away if they don't fit in."
"Anger can rule your life only if you let it."
"The truth is, if you're not good to yourself, you're no good to anyone else."
"It's easy when you're meditating on a mountain. It's a lot more challenging at the grocery store."
"Recognize that the other person is you."
"What we do in class is the PRACTICE of Yoga; life is the real Yoga. In class we are practicing techniques, metaphorical life lessons on a physical level that we can then apply to our larger lives in the world."
"If somebody is terribly bad, be thankful that it is not you. And if somebody is terribly good, be thankful that you have seen something good, and that it could be you, too."
"As yogis, we say you will die, but you never have to grow old. We come to go."
"What gives you strength? Your thoughts. What weakens you? Your thoughts. What destroys you? Your thoughts."
"Your mind is like a dog. It can be trained, and it can be trained best by using love, praise, and affection."
"Worrying is a low-grade form of fear. Fear keeps us from loving, while gratitude brings us to love."
"Let your words be straight, simple, and said with a smile."
"You are what you say. The words we say do matter, and they resonate powerfully within our bodies."
"Disciplining yourself to do something that will change your brain patterning may not prove to be an easy or pain-free process. There's always going to be a part of your subconscious that will fight the healing, fight letting go of the old. But being stuck in negative patterns is more painful. Growth is never pain-free."
"Sometimes people, often unconsciously, decide that it is easier and more comfortable to blame someone else than to make real changes in their own character. This is the 'What's wrong with me is actually you' syndrome."
"We live in a culture of blame. In our justice system, we see murderers arguing that sugar or alcohol, or even premenstrual syndrome, made them commit their crimes. The effect of all this blaming is that it turns everyone into a victim. No one can address his or her problems if they believe they are someone else's fault. If you are unhappy in any area of your life, you are the one who needs to change. In order to break the cycle of blame, we need to turn the focus back onto ourselves."
"Learn to give up blame so that you can find your own truth and live it."
"We are powerless over every other person on the planet, and we only have power over our own lives. No matter how problematic the people in your life are, you are always the solution."
"You can't change anyone else, and even if you miraculously could, you would still be the main challenge in your own life you are the solution to any troubles you may have. You are your own best healer."
"If you deny parts of who you are, it will inevitably manifest itself in disease in the body."
"Our bodies become out of balance because of small daily abuses, and they will be most completely healed with small daily gestures of caring."
"You will be tested - but that is the nature of life. When life is very rough, be very calm."
"If you open yourself to your intuition in small ways, the really big messages will find a way through."
"There are many Yoga exercises and meditations that seem pointless, boring, or irritating, and that is just exactly their point. By committing to the exercise for a length of time you are agreeing to go on a little journey. As you journey through discomfort, irritation, or deep-seated emotions, as you move past these things, using your breath, you can begin to hear messages from your intuitive self."
"Experiencing the struggle of a pose, even for a few minutes, will set you free."
"The everyday static of irritation or discomfort is cleared away by experiencing it intensely in a Yoga exercise. You can begin to see the irritation or discomfort for the illusion that it is. Without a practice that allows us to focus on feeling discomfort in a safe way, we can get trapped in living our whole lives running away from discomfort."
"Going through life without intuition is like driving a car which has no side mirror and no rearview mirror. All you can see is just straight ahead."
"It is essential you be an active participant in the creation of your own good mental health."
"None of the things that make up a Yoga practice will make you happy every minute. They are tools, reminders, guideposts you can use along the way."
"Our struggles are our growth opportunities. What Yoga provides is a safe, nurturing environment to allow yourselves to experience struggle, to feel pain, and to learn from it. Each exercise we do can become a metaphor for a larger life experience that we will undoubtedly go through on the 'outside'.
"Yoga makes us more flexible, but not just in our bodies. A flexible spine creates a flexible mind."
"The truth about our self lies between all the positive and negative thoughts. The truth lies in this 'neutral mind'."
"Honor your body. Feed it wholesome food, hydrate it with pure fresh water, lovingly bathe and dress and ornament it.."
"No amount of worldly success or money or knowledge can ever be as valuable as feeling comfortable in your body."
"These tools can give you the most valuable asset in the world, your health, and are available to everyone willing to make the effort. You can choose to be a healthy person, and you can choose to feel at home in your own body. It's not about looking perfect, it's about feeling great."
"A few minutes of deep relaxation a day can remind you that even when you're busy on the outside, there's a quiet place within. Do the practice as if your life depends on it. Because it does."
"BKS Iyengar always went by the motto 'many poses, but one face', meaning that no matter which pose he did, his facial expression never varied always showing a kind of inner relaxation even as he performed the most difficult asana."
"It doesn't matter whether something is supposed to be good for you. It only matters if it actually is."
"To effect change in your life, the yogic prescription is to cycle repeatedly through the four stages of noticing, accepting, planning, and acting."
"Why become enraged when a little irritability will do? You could say the same thing about anxiety: why become terrified when a little nervousness will do?"
"Learning to let go of resentments can change you - and perhaps alter the likelihood of your getting a pounding headache."
"Even in situations where you can't change the stress you can change your relationship with it. That's fundamentally where the shift needs to take place."
"What yogis call their 'edge' is a place where a pose is intense but not painful. A tolerable degree of discomfort. Be sure to find your own edge - don't compare yourself to someone else."
"One of the fundamental principles of Yoga is that: a small action done repeatedly can make an enormous difference."
"Smile with the flowers and green grass.
"The power needed in Yoga is the power to go through effort, difficulty or trouble without getting fatigued, depressed, discouraged or impatient and without breaking off the effort or giving up one's aim or resolution. A quiet vigilant but undistressed persistence is the best way to get the Yogic practice done." - Sri Aurobindo.
"As your Yoga practice develops, you will develop the quality of Sthiti Prajna, that is, the state of steady wisdom, and you will be able to see yourself and your thoughts and actions clearly without feeling either pride or disgust, pain or pleasure at the awareness. Vairagya, or detachment, rises naturally with extended Sadhana, and this detachment will allow you to view yourself without succumbing to depression and other negative emotions." - Swami Gitananda Giri
"When one learns to practice awareness and attention while doing even the simplest and most mundane acts of life, a great joy comes. When water runs in scattered rivulets down the hillside, it hasn't much force behind it. But when it is dammed up and made to come through a narrow opening, its power is tremendous. Likewise, when sunlight is focused through a magnifying glass, that spot of light becomes powerful enough to burn. So it is with our minds. A mind that wanders distracted, scattered, and inattentive has little power. But when its awareness is focussed one-pointedly, it becomes so powerful that it can achieve anything." - Brahmacharini Nitya.
"Youth is not a time of life - it is a state of mind.
It is not a matter of
ripe cheeks, red lips
and supple knees.
It is a temper of the will,
quality of the imagination,
a vigour of the
"The student asked: Sometimes I become quite discouraged in my Yoga practice, and I seem to waver in my thinking and commitment. I also feel that since I have started walking the Yogic path I am facing many more trials and tribulations and even mental conflicts than ever before. Yet, I thought that Yoga was supposed to produce peacefulness and mental serenity. Can you tell me what is happening to me? Swamiji replied: You are simply becoming more sensitive and paying the price for that sensitivity. Everything that is happening to you now was also happening to you before, but you were so undeveloped, so coarse in your awareness, that you were not as acutely conscious of it as you are now. Since you are becoming sensitised, you also are becoming more critical of your own life. Mistakes and failures and character flaws which you have carried all your life without caring much about them suddenly loom up clear and ugly before you, exposing themselves in the light of your newly developed awareness." - Swami Gitananda Giri.
"A student asked: 'Is it wrong to doubt? I don't like to believe blindly.' The Master replied: 'There are two kinds of doubt: destructive and constructive. Destructive doubt is habitual skepticism. Those who cultivate that attitude disbelieve blindly. Constructive doubt is intelligent questioning and fair examination. Those who cultivate that attitude do not prejudge matters or accept as valid the opinions of others. In the Yogic path, constructive doubters base their conclusions on test and personal experience: the proper approach to truth.'" - Paramahansa Yogananda.
"If Yoga were to designed to work on the surface only, we should expect immediate visible results. Fortunately, however, Yoga seeks to change us at all levels of existence. Its influence reaches deep into our mind. Hence we must be prepared for prolonged practice in order to allow Yoga to do its work in depth. It is certainly possible to see positive change even after one or two sessions of yogic postures, and after six months of correct and steady postural practice, we should find ourselves calmer and more balanced. But for deep psychological effects, we must be prepared for a lifetime of practicing Yoga in its entirety - from the moral disciplines to postures to breath control to meditation. There is no instant enlightenment." - Georg Feuerstein
"No one can enlighten or liberate us from the outside. We ourselves must do the inner work." - Georg Feuerstein.
"Life is not about answers. It is about learning to live in the middle of complete uncertainty, and doing so gracefully." - Swami Chetanananda.
"Every breath can be a practice. With the inhalation, imagine drawing in pure, cleansing, relaxing energies. And with each exhalation, imagine expelling all obstacles, stress, and negative emotions. This is not something that requires a particular place in which to sit. It can be done when in the car on the way to work, waiting for a stop light, sitting in front of the computer, preparing a meal, cleaning the house, or walking." - Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.
"Facing challenges brings you inner strength." - Swami Satchidananda.
"Compassionate service helps to alleviate the pain of those who are suffering. But its greater value lies in purifying the minds and hearts of those who render it. The satisfaction and joy you derive from rendering selfless service to someone in need is immense and everlasting. However, there is one danger - feeding your ego, identifying yourself as a generous compassionate person. This is destructive both to you and to those to whom you render service." - Pandit Ajmani Tigunait.
"Develop the type of personality that feels you are endlessly exploring new mystic secrets. Do not become too content with what you have accomplished in Yoga. Do not become complacent, developing the idea that you have practiced a lot of meditation and have developed wonderful qualities and have studied the Yoga texts. Never think that you have done all that there is to be done on life's path. This is a great error." - Swami Jyotirmayananda.
"Practice demands an effort that is prolonged, stretching over a long duration. One cannot expect quick results on this path. There is nothing like instant Yoga. It requires a continuous effort spread over a number of years. Moreover this effort has to be uninterrupted. A spasmodic effort can never lead a person anywhere. To put in an effort for some time and then to retire in hibernation in order to rest on one's oars is of no use at all if one is really serious about journeying into the land of Yoga. But…the effort must have a quality of cheerfulness about it. Yoga is a not a Path of Woe; it is indeed a Way of Joy." - Rohit Mehta.
"Never cringe before criticism. Take it like a man, even if you're a woman. Winnow the true from the false, then keep both. Smile at it. Better yet, understand it; best of all, learn from it. And never, never offer offenders quid pro quo." - Satguru Sivaya Subramaniyaswami.
"All too often, sheer beginners fancy themselves as adepts and start assuming the role of teacher or even guru. Even when, after due preparation, we are called to teach others, we would be wise to remain learners - or, in traditional terms, to cultivate 'beginner's mind'. Otherwise we run the risk of self-delusion and isolation. We stop growing when we think there is nothing more to learn." - Georg Feuerstein.
"If human life were free from challenges, there could be no growth; thus we speak of “growing pains.” We should not be surprised to learn that the Yogic path, which is all about growth, also presents difficulties: our resistance to change, laziness, pride, overzealousness causing bodily injury in Hatha Yoga, mental imbalance in those branches of Yoga that work primarily through meditation, and frustration at apparently not growing fast enough. All these hindrances are of our own making. Therefore, with the right attitude and correct practice, we also can circumvent them." - Georg Feuerstein
"Enlightenment - the goal of Yoga - happens in our own mind. That is to say, at least in part the path is as difficult as we make it for ourselves." - Georg Feuerstein.
"Disease indicates that we have been making an error in terms of our lifestyle or thinking and therefore have become imbalanced. It shows us that we must make some changes if we are to live a healthy, fuller and more joyous existence. Yoga teaches us that we must learn to use and value our sufferings as springboards in our personal evolution. Somehow we have lost our awareness of who we are and how we should lead useful and aware lives. Loss of awareness allows disease to creep in. When we are sick, we are forced to wake up to our transgressions of natural laws. Regaining our awareness through yogic practices is the key to health. The yogic process brings about rebalance, insight, understanding and appreciation of these universal, natural laws which operate in the world we live in." - Swami Karmananda Saraswati.
"Discipline in eating fills you with radiance…Discipline in eating is a cause for celebration; therefore, accept it wholeheartedly, a little at a time. Make it yours. Let the discipline become a fragrant flower for you, so that every time you hear this word you think, “Ahhh. Intoxicating! It is so wonderful!” Instead of cringing and contracting at the idea of discipline, let your being expand, let your heart run to embrace." - Swami Chidvilasananda.
"Confusion, tension, and depression all contain energy that can be used for us as well as against us. When we can calmly face our difficulties without trying to escape, without trying to manipulate or suppress our feelings, it is possible to see something that we have never seen before. We may realise very clearly that we simply do not want this pain any longer. We can then discover in ourselves that motivation to change the habits that lead us into difficulties. We can use the energy of our emotions to skillfully cope with our problems, to rediscover the clear interplay of mind and senses that allows our energy to flow in more positive directions. Our emotions are really only energy; they become painful when we grow attached to them, and identify them as being negative. We can transform this energy into positive feelings, for ultimately, it is we ourselves who determine these reactions. The choice is up to us: we can dwell on negative emotions, or we can take their energy and use it to encourage a healthier response to our problems." - Tarthang Tulku.
"One must know that one is ignorant before one can begin to know." - Sri Aurobindo.
"Yoga classifies individuals as 'sleeping', 'awakened', or 'enlightened'. The 'sleeping' man is not aware that he is using only a fraction of his great potential power. He plods his way though life in a conditioned hypnotic state as a prisoner of his ordinary mind and his five senses. He may be 'successful' in all of the ways of the world. He may appear to be a man who is 'happy' and 'satisfied' in the ordinary sense of the words. And yet, if he has not been able to perceive what lies beyond his senses and has been unable to transcend his ordinary mind, the Yogi will say that this man is 'asleep'. The 'awakened' man realises that he is not using his great reservoir of potential resources. He knows instinctively that there are powerful forces available to him if he can but learn how to utilise them. The 'awakened' man is intuitively involved in attempting to contact and use his dormant power. The 'enlightened' man is the ultimate objective of Yoga practice. He has aroused his latent forces and controls them; he has transcended his ordinary mind and is able to integrate himself with the Universal Mind. As such, he is no longer affected by the fears, anxieties, and weaknesses of people still in bondage to these things." - Richard Hittleman.
"We spend most of our time caught up in memories of the past or looking ahead to the future, full of worries and plans. The breath has none of that 'other-timeness'. When we truly observe the breath, we are automatically placed in the present." - Henepola Gunaratana.
"Look about you anywhere and you will see people tapping their feet, twiddling their fingers, twisting their mouths, chewing gum, chain-smoking, pacing restlessly, indulging helplessly in dozens of nervous habits and useless actions which merely waste the life-force so that it is not available when needed. Much of this is, of course, the expression of fear, anxiety, anger and other unhealthy mental and emotional conditions. People who practice the self-control which Yoga teaches impart a feeling of controlled energy. They are efficient; they go about their work with a minimum of effort, with no wasted energy and few unnecessary movements. They seem to get straight to the point and are always ready to take quick, forceful action when they have to." - Richard Hittleman.
"Experiencing peace is like looking at our hands. Usually we see only the fingers - not the spaces in between. In a similar manner, when we look at the mind, we are aware of the active states, such as our running thoughts and the one-thousand-and-one feelings that are associated with them, but we tend to overlook the intervals of peace between them." - Thynn Thynn.
"The image of relaxing in a boat tethered in restless waters is an interesting metaphor for the process of breath awareness, which is a kind of mental mooring. When you rest your attention on the breath, your awareness is anchored. Currents and crosscurrents of thinking continue to create sensations of movement in the mind, but a steady focus on breathing prevents these mental provocations from disturbing your equilibrium." - Rolk Sovik.
"We often fail to get relief from disease and misery because we treat the disease and not our ignorance that has caused it." - Shri Yogendra.
"When we see a red light or a stop sign, we can smile at it and thank it, because it is…helping us return to the present moment. The red light is a bell of mindfulness. We may have thought of it as an enemy, preventing us from achieving our goal. But now we know the red light is our friend, helping us resist rushing and calling us to return to the present moment where we can meet with life, joy, and peace. Even if you are not the driver, you can help everyone in the car if you breathe and smile." - Thich Nhat Hanh.
"Many people are unwilling to make progress on the inner journey because they do not want to face their desires or their fears. This is understandable. Nevertheless, if we could see how our demanding desires and blind fears, especially our fears of fear, are often the source of our sufferings, might we not take pause and reflect? This is the ironic nature of self-realisation. As we progress, we begin to see how we, ourselves, are the primary and ultimate cause of our own sorrows. Paradoxically, this is good news! It means we can also be the cause of our relief, our release, and our happiness." - Ron Leifer.
"Tranquillity should not be confused with passivity or apathy. It is, rather, a dynamic quality of balance and harmony. As love is the outward flowing of energy of selflessness, and joy is the experience of accepting the natural beauty of all life, tranquillity is the experience we have when we know and accept ourselves for who and what we are. We are the source of our own turmoil. The inner doubts, fears, impulses, the unconscious drives and motivations, all create an imbalance that leads to mental and physical suffering. We remain unaware of our identity and are caught in habits and patterns of the personality. The habits that make up this small self control us, and we bounce whenever and wherever the habits bounce, nearly always reacting to the world, with little capacity to consciously choose our actions in the world. When, through meditation, we come to experience directly our true identity, the personality with all its peaks and valleys no longer exerts a claim. We experience an inner calm and tranquillity, a centre that is secure and free of conflict. From the vantage point of this calm, unattached centre, we gradually resolve our inner conflicts and unfold the subtle potential of the deeper mind." - Rudolph M. Ballentine.
"Do not fight your body. Do not carry the world on your shoulders like Atlas. Drop that heavy load of unnecessary baggage and you will feel better. Do not kill the instinct of the body for the glory of the pose. Do not look at your body like a stranger, but adopt a friendly approach toward it. Watch it, listen to it, observe its needs and its requests - and even have fun with it. To be sensitive to your body's instincts is to be alive." - Swami Karmananda Saraswati.
“Many people begin practicing Yoga with the belief that one elusive day, when they have touched their toes or achieved a particularly difficult posture, they will be doing “good” or “real” Yoga.
In truth, it matters little how far you can bend forward or how far you can twist, for wherever the point of resistance is, there lies the place where you have the greatest opportunity to learn and to change.
This opportunity exists whether you have the flexibility of an ironing board or the mobility of a gymnast. If you can meet yourself just where you are rather than always looking beyond yourself to where you’d like to be, this attitude of steadfastness and compassion will bring the fruits of Yoga to you.”
"No matter what you do, you see your body change. No matter what you do, no matter how conscious you are, the body gets older. You can't stop it. If all Yoga practice is focused on the body, and it is not able to affect those changes, you might become frustrated and sad. Instead, if you know that you are a wonderful being living within the body, then no matter how the body looks or feels, you know that you are the ever-present unchanging self." - Nischala Joy Devi.
"When you're in enquiry with an attitude of curiosity and an attitude of delight for the process of your Yoga practice, you take the fear away.'" - Donna Farhi.
"As with many cases, discomfort, mental anguish, and physical pain help people to change. It can be a very compassionate teacher." - Lilias Folan.
"Our bodies are the storehouse for all the actions we have ever taken." - Sharon Gannon.
"Pain and suffering is not coming from some outside source. Learn this and the whole syndrome of blaming, getting angry, depressed, or sad will be less interesting and we will begin to move in a different direction." - Sharon Gannon.
"Above all, I want us to remember that the way we step on the mat is no different from the way we live our life. There's absolutely no difference. I bring my total being to my practice. Do I push myself in my practice? Then I push myself in my life." - Judith Hanson Lasater.
"When we inflict the poses on our body...we increase the potential for injury." - Judith Hanson Lasater.
"Life forces us to take pause when we do not take pause - through disease, divorce, separation, and dissociation." - Sri Swamini Mayatitananda.
"Do less and wellness will be closer to you." - Sri Swamini Mayatitananda.
"We shouldn't believe something just because we like the person saying it, or because it sounds true. Although we need ample exposure to wise guides, we each must take up the burden and the privilege of self-inquiry to discover true freedom." - Sarah Powers.
"How can we want non-violence around us when we don't have non-violence within us?" - Rama Jyoti Vernon.
The electronic copy of my book, Quick Meditations For Workaholics, is just $2.99 (AUD). Click here or on the image above for details.
SAY NO TO PUPPY MILLS! SAY NO TO ANIMALS IN PETSHOPS! SAY NO TO BREEDERS!
Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance
It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.
Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.
Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.
Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.
Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.
If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.
All information and photos are copyright © Despina Rosales.