Lifestyle balance – Integrating Yama and Niyama

Post By: Published on: November 27, 2016 Reading time: 6 minutes

School of Yoga explains Lifestyle balance

Introduction Raja Yoga was conceived at a time when people lived by the sun, not by the clock. Hence, many factors which were considered as natural then are no longer relevant in today’s lifestyle. This means that we need to revise some the assumptions in Raja Yoga and introduce additional aspects to make the concept relevant for contemporary lifestyle.

School of Yoga explains Lifestyle Balance – additions to yama and niyama

As we try to achieve our dreams, our life becomes a blur of events and change. Generally, work becomes central to our life and achievement drives our sense of self-worth. Often, success comes from our ability to achieve results using resources which are inadequate or incapable. Consequently, our many of our outcomes become sub-optimal to our original plans, resulting in increased stress as we fall behind in our achievements. This results in stress.

As we age, we find that the dreams, duties and relationships that we neglected leave us a feeling unfulfilled, inadequate and out of control with our lives. Also, the essential relationships that we neglected begin to drift and fall apart and we scramble to repair the damage. Often, we find that the moment has been lost. Sometimes, we succeed in retaining the relationship, but these bonds are often a shadow of what they might have been.

So, is there an alternative way of living? Can we balance our daily routine and live a stress free life?

We can achieve balance in life, but we must recognize that this balance requires sacrifice and compromise, which is not easy. Consequently, our definition of what is a good life or success will have to be re-calibrated. Also, we will need to balance two elements – our expectations with our resources. When resources are low, we must be willing to adjust our expectation with the resources available.

But, when the resource is “us”, then we need to prioritise ourselves, based on effective utilization is time, relationships and activity.

Points to ponder on lifestyle:

Internal Tags: Dharma (conditioning)Stress and Situational AwarenessStress and pranaAwareness measuresHatha Yoga PradeepikaPatanjali Yoga SutraBhagawat GeetaBhakti Yoga

External Tags: Consciousness

  • How can we achieve lifestyle balance?
  • What does one have to sacrifice to live a balanced life?
  • How important is ambition to happiness and peace of mind?

School of Yoga explains Lifestyle balance – Time Management

The great equality of life is that all of us have 24 hours to achieve what we want. When we use time wisely, we are able to convert opportunities into outcomes. However, when we don’t use time well, we find ourselves loaded with work that we were unable to complete, and slowly lose control of our lives.

  • The key to lifestyle balance is understanding value. This means, knowing what we matters most to us.
  • The next part is prioritising. Consequently, achieving maximum value means, knowing what to do first and what to discard.
  • Finally, it is critical that we stay on the chosen path because, success may take time and effort for which patience is important.

Points to ponder on lifestyle management:

  • What is management of time?
  • Why is it important?
  • How do you prioritise? Why is it important?
  • How do you increase your effectiveness?

School of Yoga explains Lifestyle – Sleep

Sleep is a naturally recurring altered state of consciousness where nearly all senses, muscles and movements are subdued and do not respond naturally to stimulus. Our sleep induces anabolism which results in the build up of the immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular systems which allows the body to replace the cells which were used during the awakened state.

Sleep can be divided into REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NREM (Non Rapid Eye Movement). REM sleep is associated with dreaming, faster brain waves, loss of muscle tone and suspension of homeostasis. NREM results in significant drop in the amount of energy used by the brain allowing it to build up its store of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) which is the supplier of energy for metabolism.

Sleep moves from REM to NREM. Here, sleep generally starts by body activity slowing down, which decreases body temperature, heart rate and energy use. Also, brain waves become slower with increased amplitude. Then, there is slow eye movement, where alpha waves disappear and theta waves appear. Next, eye movement stops but there can be high bursts of brain activity as sleep is consolidated. Finally, there is deep sleep. This is the constructive phase of sleep for the recuperation of the mind-body system.

Sleep blots out experiences, both good & bad. It rests the muscles and rejuvenates the essential organs of the body – heart, kidneys, liver etc. Consequently, when sleep is deprived, fatigue sets in and impairs decision making. Therefore, sleep deprivation is a confirmed source of stress.

Try to get at least 7 hrs of unbroken sleep in a comfortable place. Wear comfortable clothes and keep the body at a comfortable temperature.

Points to Ponder on Lifestyle balance:

  • What is your sleep pattern?
  • Do you get at least 6-8 hours of unbroken sleep?
  • How do you prepare for sleeping?
  • Do you ensure that your last meal is light and you have given at least one hour after the meal before going to sleep?
  • Why is maintenance of body temperature important for good sleep?

School of Yoga explains Lifestyle – Addiction

Addiction is any attraction, which leads to dependency. Consequently, this element has enormous potential to affect our consciousness and reduce our awareness. Some of the elements are;

  • Substance: Obviously, this is the most prominent of all addictions, be it hallucinogens, alcohol, tobacco or allied products.
  • TV: Today, TV has become an inseparable part of our lives. While there are many positives associated with TV, one can easily get hooked on entertainment. Consequently, TV becomes living, even dictating our value system. Hence, TV viewing needs to be seriously calibrated because entertainment offers images of an unreal world which stay with us long after the episode is over. Not just that, emotionally charged programmes can easily trigger stress in us, a completely unnecessary and non-value state which should be avoided.
  • Social media: Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp have taken over our consciousness. We post and then keep going back to see how many likes and comments we have got. It dominates our existence and can be terribly destructive. Thus, we end up losing sleep to check messages which come in at all hours from all parts of the world. 

Points to ponder on lifestyle:

  • Are you addicted to anything? Addiction means, do you get uncomfortable if you are denied the stimulus or stimulant?
  • How many hours of TV do you watch per day?
  • Do you discuss your favourite programme with friends and acquaintances?
  • How often do you wake up at night to check your mail or messages?

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