Each of the article excerpts within this series will give you a sneak peek into the wonderful work created by Yogi and author, Melissa Lavery, whose complete book, The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom is available at select distributors throughout the US as well as Amazon’s online bookstore.
All content excerpts are provided with permission by the publisher.
The book itself is organized into 3 parts and further divided into each of the 15 categories below:
The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Relationships
- Shanti: How to Maintain Personal Peace and Power in Relationships
- Yama: How to Eliminate Suffering and Cultivate a Better Relationship with the World
- Niyama: How to Cultivate a Better Relationship with Yourself and Commit to Personal Self-Care
- Pratipaksa Bhavana: How to Navigate Conflicting World-views and Build Relationships with Anyone
- Samadhi: How the Inner Journey Toward Self Will Bring You Closer to the Divine Consciousness
The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Health
- Asana: The Health Benefits of a Physical Practice (On and Off the Mat)
- Pranayama: How to Maintain Health Through Breath Awareness
- Samyama: How to Travel the Meditative Path to Health and Wellness
- Nidra: How to Improve Your Sleep Quality to Enhance Health and Wellness
- Sauca: How Cleanliness Paves the Path to Holistic Health
The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Abundance
- Klesa: How to Eliminate Ego’s Control and Cultivate an Identity that Attracts Abundance
- Satya: How Authenticity Leads to Attracting Abundance
- Astreya: How to Practice Non-Stealing to Attract Wealth and Abundance
- Aparigraha: How the Practice of Non-Hoarding Can Benefit Your Wallet and Illumniate Your Path
- Sadhana: How Consistent Practice Creates a Strong Foundation for an Abundant Life
Santi: How to Maintain Personal Peace and Power in Relationships
Relationships can be complicated. We have many different types of relationships: Some are personal and by choice, while others are circumstantial and obligatory. But the truth is that no matter what the circumstance, we all have a choice on how to act and react in regard to the people with whom we experience life.
Relationships among people are important. They provide each of us with a support system, and they can bring joy and happiness to our lives. However, some relationships hurt and diminish the quality of life. While relationships matter, they must not interfere with your personal peace and power.
According to Patāñjali’s Sūtra 1.33, there are four types of people, which will be represented by four locks:
This is not to say that a happy person cannot also be virtuous, or that wickedness cannot lead to unhappiness. However, these distinctions matter when we think about how to approach different types of people (or different behaviors within one person). Which key should we use for which lock?
- Friendliness for the Happy
- Compassion for the Unhappy
- Delight for the Virtuous
- Disregard for the Wicked
We do not use these keys for the benefit of others. Of course, if we practice yoga, we emanate Love. We are Love. And so, when we practice Love, we affect other people. But the point of Patāñjali’s words are to promote inner peace—Self Love—to avoid suffering for yourself. Yoga is a process of personal work, which happens to also affect the collective. By practicing this Sūtra, you are keeping a serene mind, which is a part of the path of yoga.
Therefore, the interpersonal goal is not to simply maintain a one-size-fits-all approach. The interpersonal goal is to use the tools provided to you through yogic practice—the keys—so that when you meet a lock, it will not disturb your inner peace.
What is Inner Peace and Personal Power?
The intention of yoga practice is to create a unified heart-mind, but the path to reaching union (literal meaning of yoga) is multiform. Sādhana is Sanskrit for “spiritual practice.” In yoga, sādhana is the means to create inner and outer union. It is the multi-faceted and personal approach one takes to live a yogic lifestyle. You must change your inner and outer world to become congruent with a divine consciousness.
A part of this work consists of cultivating conscientious living. According to Patāñjali, there are four aspects of consciousness:
- Citta: mind stuff
- Ahaṃkāra: ego feeling
- Buddhi: discriminative faculty
- Manas: the desiring faculty of the mind stuff
Citta is the subjective judgment we place on an experience. The subjective reactions to stimuli can create extreme responses, positive or negative. Citta refers to the feelings we associate with experiences, and it is referred to as the mind stuff, or lower mind, because these feelings affect our ego consciousness. To put it plainly, Śrī Svāmī Saccidānanda explains that “citta is the sum total of the mind” and is made up of the different levels: ahaṁkāra (“basic mind”), buddhi (“intellect”), and manas (the perceiving mind that “gets attracted to outside things through the senses”) (p. 4).
Patāñjali described yoga to neutralize the feelings of the lower mind. Yoga works to still the mind, to elevate the consciousness to one of control, which also includes our reactions to others. Citta resides in the heart. When we live by the tenets of yoga, we can learn to calm the temperament of the heart (in this case, our reactions to other people) and observe from a place of “undisturbed calmness” (Sūtra 1.33). It is through this inner peace that we gain our composure and power.
The Four Locks: How Other People Choose to Live
Relationships take two people to work. However, the dynamics among our various associations will differ as widely as the people who inhabit the planet. Each person has a different life experience, with a unique set of values, personality traits, and ways of viewing the world. Nevertheless, each person typically exists in one of the four common characteristics mentioned earlier.
It is worth noting here, however, that although each person generally exists within one of these four categories, this Sūtra can also help to handle changing relationship issues in the moment. For example: A generally happy person may experience a period of unhappiness, or that toddler who always shares her toys may experience bouts of temporary wickedness.
When we approach these people, whether just meeting them or engaging with a lifelong partner, it is important to determine which lock they are, because the inner work you do for yourself will always provide you with the key.
According to Patāñjali, the first lock is happy people (sukha). In Sanskrit, sukha means “happiness”. Happy people emanate joy. They are recognizable by their smiles and their pleasant demeanor. They may or may not have a reason to be happy, but they are. Even in moments of sadness, grief, or anger, they seem to exude a sense of overall contentment in life. Happy people come from a place of acceptance and gratitude.
The second lock is unhappy people (duḥkha). In Sanskrit, duḥkha translates to “suffering”. Unhappy people always have something to complain about. They seem to attract unpleasant circumstances, as they typically believe life is full of hardship. Even in a moment of pleasure, they are sure to focus on an aspect they deem negative.
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… to continue reading from this chapter of The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom please visit and order from the book’s page on Amazon.com. Again, we hope you found this valuable and wish you health and happiness along your journey. Namaste.