In the last few years, one ritual that I have strived to keep is that of going into silence at the Isha center every 3 months or so. This involves cutting yourself off from all communication and just being on your own. So when you are in silence and no other external distractions, you get to know very soon whether you are in good company or not…which could be a hard reality check 🙂
I haven’t found anything more effective than the practice of silence regularly to keep you grounded and focused. It’s like those regular checkpoints where you try to temporarily pause whatever roles that you are playing in the world and just work upon yourself. If you have drifted away, this period of silence helps you come back on track and if you have been on track then this helps you accelerate. It doesn’t matter where you stand in your life – it always helps to spend a certain time in silence. Spending at least 3 days in silence every 3 months is a good way to get started.
I spent the last 7 days in silence at the Isha center and it was a truly touching experience. My yogic practices feel so much more intense, so many compulsions have fallen off effortlessly, many questions within have been answered and it feels so much more alive! When I started on this spiritual path, 10 years back, I thought yoga was just about spending 20 minutes or so doing some breathing exercises or postures. Slowly this number kept on increasing and within a few years it became about 2 hours of yoga per day. When I completed the yoga teacher training, this number almost doubled and went on increasing until I finally realised that there seems to be no limit to this and that actually you have to get to 24 hours!!
Yes, 24 hours yoga! Which doesn’t mean that you leave everything and you are going to be sitting in an asana all the day and doing nothing else but just that your yoga has to transition from being a practice to a certain way of being. When this happens, every activity that you do can be used as a stepping stone towards your ultimate well-being and everything is sadhana. Your work is yoga sadhana, your family is yoga, whether you walk, talk or eat, every act can be used to be in a state of yoga and not as a hurdle or obstacle in your spiritual path.
This has been the biggest learning for me – to strive and transition from being a yoga practitioner to an aspiring yogi. Whatever activity I have attempted to do through ‘Yogi Re’ has been towards only this – so that we don’t just create yoga practitioners but aspiring yogis – that at least an element of being a yogi can touch everyone’s lives.