• Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi
      AHYMSIN NEWSLETTER, ISSUE - January 2018 

    Letter from Minnesota

    by Joanne Sullivan (Divya)

    Yesterday I fell asleep watching a movie at my computer and knocked over a cup of water. I frantically sopped up the damage. A few hours later, I turned on the computer again and the setup looked strange. I rebooted and it was all back to normal.

    The new normal is unsatisfactory. Minneapolis friends are nearly 2 hours away. The closest friend is about a half hour’s drive. I don’t have a car. There are bus lines and service, but these are restricted to schedules and routes which do not go directly everywhere one would want to go when one wants to go. But I live in a beautiful, clean, spacious, secluded apartment on a fifth floor with big windows that let lots of sunshine in. My physical environment is uncluttered and well organized. Now and then, I write a poem. I love the quietude.

    But the new normal is not terrific.

    So here I am asking myself if this new lifestyle is a good plan. I eat whatever I want and enjoy it (I thought I hated pizza.) And it eats me— so many sweets—much of it freely given—is a delight to the sensate moi, Miss Piggy. But after 2 years of my personal Battle of the Bulge, my new found fun of eating and watching is inching me toward the dieter’s Armageddon.

    I do not regret having discovered the British TV series, free online, called Doc Martin. What utter delight! But I sit at the computer lapping up movies, interesting American and BBC TV more than I would normally do. As Swami Veda once said— “Too much is not enough.”

    I had thought I would write more, do more yoga and refine the mind, body and breath. So, one day recently I went looking for old handles. “What,” I asked myself, “did my infinitely wise teachers say that helped me to shift gears so many times before?”

    Well, for one thing— the easiest and most obvious— sweaty exercise was missing. Then the phone rang. After a wonderful discussion, I said that I had to get ready for a Skype chat in a half hour.

    Have you tried Jane Fonda’s low impact workout”?”  She said. “It’s free on YouTube.”

    I said that I hadn’t. I balked.

    “Why don’t you try it as soon as we hang up? It’s only 26-minutes long. You still have a half hour before Sonia calls.

    I agreed to try it. I found it easily: “Jane Fonda’s Walking Cardio Workout, Level 1.

    Not half way through —huge smiles! It was invigorating! And it answered a question: What did Swami Rama recommend in your daily routines?

    I once heard him say in a lecture to do a minimum of 20 minutes of sweating exercise at least twice a day. Not 20 minutes of exercise. 20 minutes where you are sweating. When I lived at the Himalayan Institute, everyone had a jogging suit and shoes. Everyone jogged up that steep hill. I resisted jogging. But that’s another story.

    Eventually, I jogged 5 miles a day and walked briskly another 5. More than once, I found myself literally bending down and kissing the ground. Vigorous exercise was great for moving out the inertia, resetting the metabolism and my whole modus operandi. Brain, bones and lungs thrived with it.

    Speaking of my first experiments with jogging in Swami Rama’s day, little by little everything changed— my tastes and inclinations as well as a greater clarity on the day’s goals and my long term aspirations. I found myself with more time and energy for 2 dear, old friends— yoga and writing. So I begin again.

    In addition, together with more yoga and meditation, I believe that jogging greatly diminished my sleep needs. Sleep was deep and still. But I would strongly discourage you from suddenly jumping to 3 or 4 hours of sleep. The body needs sleep to repair itself. In short, please don’t force it.

    In 2005 or 2006, Swami Veda required residents to go for a daily early morning jog. Even before dawn a bunch of us were at the lower gate headed for Ma Ganga every day—until a sleepy rebellion set in.

    So this is my first letter back to many old friends from around the world who often come to mind. I can look inside or out my bright window and see one big space that holds us all.

    Editor’s Note:

    For more about jogging, please see the chapter “Exercise” in the book A Practical Guide to Holistic Healthby Swami Rama.



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