Dharma Mittra, the inimitable (or eminently imitable) senior teacher, just emailed these tips for the new year:
- Spend time Meditating. Meditation is unbroken concentration and the most effective type is self-reflection. Spend at least 15 minutes meditating every morning.
- Get serious about your practice! One must get serious and simply attending class is not enough. Spend at least 15 minutes each morning doing Asana and focus on the main ones: Headstand, Shoulderstand, Plow, Fish and Cobra.
- Drink lots of green juices and remember the first Yama, Ahimsa. As long as you are involved with violence, your meditation will go nowhere.
- Understand the five subtle bodies or sheathes so that you can commence negating them at once.
- How you begin something is of great significance. If you begin the New Year with a big mug of coffee, it sets the wrong tone for the entire year to come. Begin 2009 committed to the attainment of Self-Knowledge.
- Outside of the three main texts, The Bhagavad Gita, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and Yoga Padipika, read and study Swami Sivananda’s Self-Knowledge as it contains all the answers.
- Dedicate the fruit of all action and be nice to everyone. OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.
I found them inspiring and hope you do too. Lots of good ways to start the new year here. I did my 15 minutes of meditation and asana this morning; it was great to be reminded that it’s not how much you practice, but how regularly, and that the basic principles are the most important achievements.
If you’re ever in New York for New Year’s, I highly recommend Dharma’s New Year’s Eve classes. The vibe is intense and uplifting. He did not do the midnight celebration last night, but taught his regular 6pm Asana and 7:30pm Meditation/Psychic Development. The former is an open-level vinyasa class, the latter is chants and breathing exercises to purify and strengthen the mind. Both began with Dharma talks that really cleared my mind. (And then my evening was free to see Blonde Redhead at Terminal 5!) The center is chanting 108 Hanuman Chalisas all day today, so if you’re near 23rd and 3rd drop by for a little spiritual high.
PS — You can download Swami Sivananda’s book, and others, for free at The Divine Life Society.