Abhyāsa - A Different Viewpoint from Yoga Practice

I was writing about obstacles to yoga practice and while ruminating on vyādhi, disease, I penned the following:

Yoga Tips for Staying Healthy

  • There is no substitute for sleep. 

  • Good sleep that refreshes the body and mind cannot be had if the stomach is full of food upon taking rest. 

  • Make sure you get 6 – 8 hours of sleep nightly. 

  • Get to bed most nights before 10:00 PM. 

  • The time between 10PM and 2:00AM is a natural Ayurvedic repair and detox period.

  • Eat your biggest meal at lunchtime.

  • Eat dinner before 6:30 pm. 

  • If you go to a later dinner, snack sparingly and have a healthy drink instead of beer or wine.

(I can hear the moans in the audience amidst the laughter and shaking heads.) Nobody in Hong Kong does any of that. This town kicks off and starts up at 8:00PM. Looks like I’ve got some ‘splaining to do.

In Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna advises Arjuna:

yā niśā sarva-bhūtānāṁ tasyāṁ jāgarti saṁyamī

yasyāṁ jāgrati bhūtāni sā niśā paśyato muneḥ

“What is night for all beings is the time of awakening for the self-controlled; and the time of awakening for all beings is night for the introspective sage.”

—BG 2.69


Whenever I see this verse I think of the Tarot card The Hanged Man. He is upside down, has taken his hands off of the outer world and the halo surrounding his head indicates enlightenment. What caused his detached attitude? He tried acting the way his body and mind dictated and the outcome is not working the way he expected. His first realization is that he is not in charge. “Let go, let God. Not my will but Thy will be done.” This is what surrender to the Supreme looks like. 

As a result of this fundamental change in attitude he sees things not only differently than others do, but opposite. For example, what others consider desirable and fun he sees as troublesome and foolish. I’ll bet he goes to bed early, too. Not surprisingly they consider him crazy. To each his own. But he hears a different drummer now and the more he follows the promptings of inner guidance the stronger the connection. 

When the individual spirit (ātmā) desires to understand the Great Spirit (Paramātmā) that is yoga.