As yoga becomes an integral part of our society, people are looking to this ancient science and wondering whether it can offer them something deeper and more meaningful. The answer, of course, is yes.
Practicing yoga and living a yoga lifestyle can have a profound effect on our consciousness. If we want to experience deeper meaning in life as well as true happiness, we need to elevate our consciousness. If we want to know what truth is, to understand the real nature of ourselves and the world around us, we need to delve more deeply into the practice of yoga.
The yoga scriptures teach us that we are covered by three modes of nature: ignorance, passion, and goodness. We are all affected by these modes to varying degrees at various times. The mode of ignorance is characterized by darkness, sleep, and laziness. For example, those who want to dull their consciousness by oversleeping, or in alcohol and drugs, are considered to be in the mode of ignorance.
Those in the mode of passion are always hankering for something to enjoy, they endeavor very hard to achieve their goals, and are attached to the results of their activities. In today’s world, this is considered normal and desirable but, according to yoga, it entangles us rather than bringing us peace.
The mode of goodness is the stepping off point to higher, spiritual consciousness. It enables us to more clearly see things as they are. People in the mode of goodness tend to be happier and more peaceful. They may enjoy being out in nature, get satisfaction from helping others, and be generally less affected by anger and negative emotions.
Living a yoga lifestyle can help us come to the mode of goodness so I’d like to share with you three of the most helpful lifestyle changes we can make.
- Practice Yoga Sound Meditation regularly. I know it’s difficult in this day and age to set aside time for meditation, but it is the single most beneficial practice on the path of yoga. Even just 15 minutes a day of focused meditation can make a huge change in your outlook on life and help bring you to the mode of goodness and beyond. If you need help getting started, try my Easy Meditation for Everyone kit.
- Adopt a vegetarian diet. What we eat affects not only the health of our body but also our mind, consciousness, temperament, and behavior. Eating foods that are fresh, sweet, nourishing, and easy to digest, such as fruit, vegetable, grains, milk, and nuts, results in a more peaceful mind and clearer consciousness. A yogi who is in, or striving to be in, the mode of goodness doesn’t want to cause unnecessary pain and suffering to others—not even to animals. To help you make the transition, you can find many tasty vegetarian recipes in my soup cookbook and on my website.
- Practice yoga asanas and pranayama regularly. The body is a gift and we should take care of it. Yoga asanas give us a way to keep our bodies healthy, inside and out, while pranayama (even simple yoga breathing) helps us to calm the mind and balance the energy in the body. Try to keep both pride and over endeavor out of your practice or you’ll remain in the mode of passion. Practicing in the mode of goodness means gently extending your boundaries with inner calm and without attachment to the results. You can find a variety of yoga asanas here.