In recent times all over the world, people have had to stay inside their homes for a prolonged period of time.
With limited access to going out, we had to learn to engage our senses differently than we used to.
Instead of eating out, we cooked at home. Instead of partying and socializing, we familiarized ourselves with people around us. And instead of going to a mall and walking around, we decided to learn a new skill sitting at home, online.
A lot of people took to meditation and Yoga in a bid to listen to their own voice apart from the daily din we were used to.
Although it was difficult in the beginning, many of us realized and took pleasure in the fact that simple life is not so bad really.
Life can be lived with pleasure even with very limited resources.
By connecting to our environment which includes people and nature & by connecting to ourselves.
This recent change in our attitude encourages me to share with you, five rules of Yoga for a simple life.
These ancient golden rules are intrinsic for anyone wanting to live a Yogic life or just a simple life without clutter of any kind – mental, emotional, and material.
#1 ‘Shauch’ or Cleanliness
Normally when one hears the word, ‘cleanliness’, it seems to be referring to ‘physical’ cleaning.
However, since Yoga is a much deeper science, it refers to both internal and external cleanliness here.
Cleanliness of –
- Personal hygiene
- Uncluttered environment
You must have seen people, well-to-do educated people, living in a physical clutter and even mess. On the other hand, when we are feeling messed up ourselves, we don’t feel like arranging our room or home and let it be the way it is.Cleanliness is a mental attitude Click To Tweet
Our environment speaks of our mental states and vice versa.
Unless we learn to keep our minds and thoughts sorted or clean, we cannot have clear speech or action. And our actions make our life, which in turn spring from our thoughts – you have to see the interconnectedness of things.
Start with sorting out of your thoughts and sifting through them, keeping what is worth it, and letting go of what is not.
By decluttering every aspect of your life, starting with thoughts to unnecessary attitudes; bad habits, and even toxic company, you can be sure to live a simple and truly blessed life.
#2 ‘Santosh’ or Contentment/ Satisfaction
When was the last time you felt completely satisfied? Deeply Contented?
Remember how as a kid even the smallest toy or a small candy, filled you with joy.
And now even the most expensive cars and vacations lose their fizz within days…
And the greatest fear of all – FOMO! what if we miss out on something? Damn, that stuff is scary!
Well, you know what, it is completely fine to miss out.
In fact, it is necessary sometimes to miss out on things. So, you stop depending on the outside for your happiness and start looking inside.What we seek in meditation and what we run away from in silence are the same things – our lost connection with ourselves. Click To Tweet
Because one of the main reasons ‘possessions’ and even ‘pleasures’ don’t last that long for you anymore, is the theory of diminishing returns.
We all have experienced that no number of shoes, awards, or even lovers can give us everlasting happiness. As soon as we have them, we start looking for something more.
All of us want ‘ALL’ – we want ‘EVERYTHING’. Just that, that ‘EVERYTHING’ is inside of us, not outside.
And since connecting with ourselves is THE MOST DIFFICULT THING TO DO, for every single person; Yoga gives us tools.
Asana (Yoga Postures), Pranayama (Breathing Practices), Dharana (one-pointed concentration people often mistake for Meditation) – all are that. Tools to reconnect with ourselves.
This is the only thing needed for a simple life, that can only be achieved with the help of tools.
Choose your favorite tool and achieve contentment or ‘Santosha’.
#3 Tapas or Austerity
One can define ‘Tapas’ in many ways. I would say ‘practice’ is the most efficient form of austerity.
Whether it is a daily routine that you follow, or a certain set of principles that you stick to, no matter what. Discipline enhances your character as nothing else can.
It automatically simplifies at least one portion of your life – big or small, depending upon the discipline you dedicate yourself to.
If for example, you follow a yoga routine every morning or a couple of days a week, it keeps you healthy. Simplifying your life by keeping away the complication of diseases that may befall you if you weren’t keeping your blood and lymph flowing.
Or say, you choose not to let a habitual negative remark from your spouse affect your opinion about you; you are choosing a simple life by turning away from negativity.
Needless to say, it is not easy to follow any discipline which is why it is considered austerity.
However, if you can commit to it, it is a path without fail to high self-esteem.
The only pitfall is getting obsessed with your discipline sometimes, so be aware. Flexibility is the single most indispensable quality of life. You cannot be grumbling the whole day just because you missed your workout.
Go with the flow and invest your energy in building a discipline of some kind – it is worth it.
#4 ‘Swadhyaya’ or Study of the Self
If I had to choose one of these 5 golden rules for a simple life, I would choose ‘Swadhyaya’.
That is because even if I surrender myself completely to the will of the Universe (which is the next rule), I won’t know if I am coming or going, without having self-awareness.
The study of the self is a heightened form of self-awareness.
Start by becoming aware of your self-talk identifying how are you steering yourself in life. And sooner than later you will start seeing patterns in your behavior indicating how all that self-talk comes into play in the real world.
Identify your whys and see where they really come from – your heart, your mind, or your conditioning? Who are you while you interact with this world and with yourself?
It may take you a lifetime to completely understand who you really are, but the smallest of steps in this direction can change the quality and direction of your life.
Even if you just stop getting hurt by what other people have to say about you; because now you know yourself, this exercise is worth it.
Because what can make life simpler than not worrying about what others will say about what you want to do, in the process of discovering your true self.
#5 ‘Ishwar Pranidhana’ Complete surrender to God
Think of all the times when you felt anxious or angry or even upset.
You wanted something to happen but it didn’t happen OR you didn’t want something to happen, but it did. And you lost the peace of your mind.
Ishwar Pranidhana or complete surrender to God is undoubtedly the most important aspect of stress management in modern life.
Surrender doesn’t ask of you to sit back and do nothing or don’t take your stand if you see something wrong happening.
All it says is, do your work but don’t get worked up.
You do whatever it is in your hands and then leave the result to the dynamic force of this Universe.
Because at any given point in time, multiple actions are causing one result. Your action is just one of them and may not bring the result you expect of it.
Accept it. Accept the bigger plan of things.
Know that reality can be beyond what you see or know it to be.
It is not easy, I know for a fact. I struggle with it now and then.
But the more I am able to bring it into my life, the more I have realized that there is someone out there who doesn’t want you to fail.
Who sees it all.
Who knows what you want and you will see it coming always, only if you believe in the goodness of your existence.
The ultimate mantra for a simple life – Surrender.
What you want to do next
These 5 Golden rules to live a simple life are mentioned in ‘Patanjali Yoga Sutras’ – one of the most revered ancient texts in Yoga.
They are also called Niyamas or acts of personal discipline, an internal attitude which when developed can keep one away from all kinds of mental stress.
Make them a part of your daily routine and see your life transform in no time at all!
Wishing you all the best for a simple and blissful life.