As if on a mission to draw people away from the modern, gimmicky ways that yoga is being taught in to the masses, Swami Niranjan very clearly and simply explained the importance of tradition and the effectiveness of seemingly simple practices, once done regularly. Many practitioners of yoga seem to think that the longer and harder they practice, the more evolved they and their practice are. But Swamiji stripped people off various pretensions. He also elucidated that a rigorous physical practice is just that – a physical exercise!
Over the course of four days he guided us very clearly in simple practices to adopt daily. “A practice focused only on asana and pranayama is incomplete,” he said. He thus left us with a dinacharaya (daily routine) starting with mantra sadhana comprising Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra, Gayatri Mantra and 32 names of Goddess Durga first thing in the morning to activate the vijnanamaya kosha; then five asanas (including Tadasana, Triyaktadasana, Katichakrasana, Utthanasana, and any inversion such as Sirshasana or Sarvangasana) and Surya Namaskar to benefit the annamaya kosha; followed by Sheetali, Shitkari, Brahmari and Nadi Shodhana techniques of pranayama to cleanse the pranamaya kosha; yoga nidra to be done in the evening after work to remove tension and reactivate the manomaya kosha; and finally the Omkara or Om chanting before sleeping to reach the anandamaya kosha.
It’s been about two months since I attended the Yogotsav and I feel a world of a difference in my own practice, despite cutting down on the complicated asanas that I was doing earlier. My day starts with Mantra Sadhana, followed with a simple asana sequence. This really sets a very happy and positive note to my day, and I feel a general sense of well-being. And all this despite cutting down on the time I used to spend on asana practice. The holistic routine really permeates the deeper levels of my being and I almost feel my practice touching the different koshas/sheaths.