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Exploring Wisdom: Sri Sri on the Eight Limbs of Yoga

By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
February 5, 2018

In 2015, Art of Living founder and guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar spoke with Philip Goldberg on the importance of the eight limbs of yoga. As relevant as ever, Sri Sri’s wisdom encourages us to consider all aspects of a Yoga practice as a path to greater fulfillment, health, and happiness. 

 

Q: What would you like people to know about Yoga?

Sri Sri: Yoga is like a vast ocean. You can just go for a breeze, or you can go with an oil rig and drill for oil … Yoga offers many things to different people at many different levels–whatever they aspire for: union with the cosmic consciousness, or physical health, mental clarity, emotional stability, spiritual ecstasy — all this is part of yoga.

 

Q: Does it concern you that people think of Yoga only as asana [the familiar physical postures]?

Sri Sri: Not really, because at that moment that’s what they understand. But once they start doing asana they start seeing there is something beyond that. If interest for meditation gets kindled, then they are on the right track. But if it stops at exercise … it’s not bad, but they will not reach the goal.

 

Q: When people think of the classic eight limbs of Yoga…

Sri Sri: I knew you would ask about that. Unfortunately, people think the eight limbs are eight steps, one after another. You know, when a baby is born it’s not that one limb develops after another. All the limbs develop simultaneously. The eight limbs of Yoga are so interconnected, if you pull one all the others will come along with it.

 

Q: Some people think you have to master the yamas and niyamas before you can do the others. [The yamas and niyamas — five behaviors to avoid and five to engage — constitute the first two limbs.]

Sri Sri: The limbs are not sequential, they are all together. The practice of the others contributes to the ability to observe the yamas and niyamas. When we teach meditation in prisons, we see that the moment they have a taste of meditation, their whole thought process and behavior pattern changes. They start on the path of non-violence. They become very truthful, and the tendencies to cheat disappear. So the yamas and niyamas start happening in people’s life just when they begin meditation.

 

Q: How do your Art of Living programs fit into the eight limbs of classical Yoga?

Sri Sri: Yoga would be incomplete if even one limb is absent from it. All the eight limbs coexist. Our program is the same way. We do some asana, and some pranayama-breathing exercises-and meditation that leads to samadhi [the 8th limb; not a practice but a state of consciousness transcending thought].

 

This interview first appeared on Huffington Post, and is presented in excerpt. 

 
 

Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!

 

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TAGS: asana , Ayurveda , eight limbs , interview , sri sri ravi shankar , yoga , yoga practice , yogi

Five Secrets For Success

By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
October 7, 2016
 

Secrets For Financial Success

 

Everyone wants to be successful in business and in life, but not many are aware of what success really is. Success is an attitude, not just a phenomenon. Tough situations arise in every business, every organization, and you need skills to handle them. These skills come from our inner space, our Spiritual Space, the source of joy, peace and love.”

 

The Five Secrets For Financial Success 

Here are the five ingredients for success in business — and in life:

 

1. Function as a Team

Peace and prosperity are interlinked. Prosperity cannot flourish in a disturbed atmosphere. While working with others, you need to function as a team. Have a sense of respect for your team members, and do not indulge in blame games. As a team leader, you need to create an atmosphere of trust, cooperation, a sense of belonging, and celebration. Nothing can last if the focus is only on productivity and net result.

 

2. Manage Your Mind

The whole essence of the Bhagavad Gita is to act without being attached to the fruit of the action. If you can manage your mind in a war-like scenario, then you can manage any situation. This skill in action is called yoga. It is this wisdom of yoga that transforms one’s attitude from arrogance to self-confidence; from meekness to humility; from the burden of dependence to the realization of interdependence; from a limited ownership to oneness with the whole. When performing action, if the attention is only on the end result, then you can’t perform. Just give yourself fully to the task with 100 percent sincerity and commitment.

 

3. Be Courageous Like a Lion

There is a saying in Sanskrit that says, “Great wealth comes to one who has the courage of a lion and who puts in all his efforts.” Passion and dispassion are complementary like the in-breath and out-breath. You breathe in but you cannot hold the breath too long; you have to breathe out. Similarly, you need to have passion to make things work but also the dispassion to let go. When you don’t crave for abundance, it comes to you.

 

4. Develop Your Intuition

If all that is needed for prosperity is one’s own effort, then why are so many people who put out effort not prosperous? This unknown factor or luck is enhanced by spirituality. The whole material world is run by a world of vibrations which is subtler than all that we see. Spirituality enhances intelligence and intuition. Intuition comes to you when you balance your passion with dispassion; profit with service; aggressiveness to get things with compassion to give back to the society. Intuition is the right thought at the right time, and is an important component for success in business.

 

5. Meditate

The greater responsibilities and ambitions you have, greater is the need for you to meditate. In ancient times, meditation was used as a way to find the Self, for enlightenment and to overcome misery and problems.

Meditation is all the more essential in today’s hectic lifestyle full of stress and tension. Stress is too much to do, too little time, and no energy. It can be difficult to reduce your workload, or increase the time that you have, but you can increase your energy level.

Meditation not only relieves you of stress and strain, it also enhances your abilities, strengthens your nervous system and mind and releases toxins from the body. We are made up of both matter and spirit. The body has some material needs and our spirit is nourished by spirituality. Meditation also helps us get in touch with our inner space – the source of joy, peace, and love.

 

Signs of Success

The signs of success are overwhelming joy, confidence, compassion, generosity and a smile that none can snatch away. Whatever happens in life, if you can keep these, then you have really found success — success in life beyond the secrets for financial success.

 

Reposted from wisdom.srisriravishankar.org.

   

Comments? 

What does “success” mean to you? Please share your own wisdom in the comment box below.

 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.

 

Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living retreat center , five secrets for financial success , knowledge , meditation , secrets for success , sri sri ravi shankar , wellness