Swami Ritavan Bharati, left and Pandit Hari Shankar Dabral.
By WUA XIONG
AAP contributing writer
MINNEAPOLIS (July 21, 2010) – “If we are to meditate; we are to clear our minds. And if we are to have clarity of mind; we will thus think clearly and make better decisions.” So stated Pandit Hari Shankar Dabral to start off the first session of the 2010 Himilayan Yoga Meditation Congress at the Meditation Center in Minneapolis.
At just age 40, Dabral, a native of Dehradun, India, is renown as a doctor of anon yoga philosophy in the Himalayan Tradition, with a Ph.D. from the University of Varanasi. As coordinator of the International Himalayan Yoga Teachers Association, he tours North America extensively at various advanced meditation centers.
Dabral spoke on the theme of “Spiritual Activism, Meditation, and Yoga.” It was a central session of a conference led by global spiritual leader Swami Veda Bharati, founder and spiritual director of the 30 year-old Minneapolis Meditation Center.
All the events played a part in utilizing the 5,000-year-old Himalayan Yoga tradition as a spiritual response to the contemporary world with its environmental challenges and how it impacts our lives and how it can be part of a collective solution.
“So meditation has a great place in life,” Dabral added. “Everybody should meditate, because it makes your mind clear and calm, so having a calm peaceful mind, will do peaceful things and peaceful things will bring a better humanity.”
To begin, Dabral explained just what really is Yoga.
“Yoga is a science of balance, so it is a balance of the body, balance of the breath, balance of the mind,” he said. “To maintain a very perfect health; so that all three entities of being, body, breath, and mind, works in a harmonious and cohesive manner. So you feel happy, healthy, balance, clear, and feel one-pointed. That is what you want.”
The difference between a Hatha Yoga Pradipika and what the western world views as yoga – Hatha Yoga – is that Pradipika is based on classic Sanskrit manuals written by Swami Svatmarama.
Pradipika is the oldest surviving text on Hatha Yoga and it essentially offering today’s practitioners a guide to the original practices and intended purpose of Hatha Yoga. Continuing with the session, Dabral, explained how we view food and how our body reacts to the food we eat.
“Ask yourself, am I aware of everything I eat?”
One self-reflection taught was to consider if we are eating to satisfy hunger or to feed the physical body what it needs. He said it is important to be aware of what we eat, because it makes us who we are.
“Remember that you are eating to satisfy you, do not eat just to eat,” he said.
Key steps to learn how to assess ourselves are to be aware of our surroundings, understand what we eat, and how that translates into how our body feels.
“How do you let yourself be interrupted, be disturbed and distracted,” he said.
Dabral said that the most assured success in self-assessment is to keep a journal of what we eat every day. He said to be also record how the body feels as looking back will reveal the connection between diet, activity and out physical and mental state.
As an example, Dabral said that if you eat something yesterday, and wake up the next day tired; then its best perhaps not to eat that food. Recording allows us to test with what foods our body functions best.
When paying attention to this method and choosing the right foods, Dabral said that a “certain feeling” would overcome to make us slowly recognize what foods are making the body happy. He said to study what you eat; cook your own food; eat less; and see that you will become happier.
“One does not need to go to anybody to know if they are making progress,” he said.
Learn more about meditation, yoga and good health at the Meditation Center, 631 University Avenue North East, Minneapolis. Call 612-379-2386 or visit online at www.Themeditationcenter.org.