swan

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SWAN meditation is an important method evolved by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati to help us discover our personality and improve its expression in everyday life.SWAN is an acronym for the four principles that influence our personality and direction in life: S – strengths, W – weaknesses, A – ambitions, and N – needs. In each of us certain strengths and weaknesses are predominant, and they either help or hinder us in whatever we think or do.Throughout life, we must also work to attain our aspirations and needs. The expression of these four qualities makes us what we are. By understanding their unique expression in our life, a creative, dynamic and clear mind results.

1IntroductionThe swan has spiritual associations, partly due to its beauty, partly due to the qualities it has that we would like to develop in ourselves. It can walk on the earth, swim and dive in water, and fly through the sky. Humans can only walk on the earth, so it is more versatile than we are.DiscriminationThe swan has another important ability, according to the vedic texts: it can filter milk from water. This exemplifies the quality of discrimination. Discrimination means to understand the difference between one quality and another, between permanent and impermanent, practical and impractical, something that helps and something that hinders. A yogi should have that ability. In the SWAN practices:Srelates to StrengthWto WeaknessAto Ambition or Aim Nto NeedsTo understand and to discriminate among your strengths, weaknesses, aims and needs: this is empowerment.Normally we don't even think about these qualities, yet at every moment they are active in our lives and they dictate who we are. If we don't understand ourselves and our lives in relation to these qualities, then what is the quality of our

2lives? They're very close to the lives of animals, although we think humans are so special. What is so special about us if we don't understand the quality of our lives? That is discrimination.Self-knowledgeOur strengths, weaknesses, ambitions and needs form our personalities. Even after all our education, we still don't know ourselves. Each of us is different. In yoga, it is important for us to do asana and pranayama not only to get to know our bodies better, but also to understand our personalities. If we don't understand our personalities,we can behave oddly, say inappropriate things or perform unsuitable actions. We never know what we will say, what we will feel or how we will behave. We don't know ourselves, so how can we know what we are going to say or how we will behave with someone? We know ourselves externally, but we don't know the ways we are weak or strong or what our personalities mean. We just go through life automatically. Therefore, the SWAN practices are important for helping us to understand ourselves by looking at these four qualities: our strengths, our weaknesses, our aims or ambitions, and our needs. These qualities determine our behaviour, habits, actions and interactions. This understanding is the key to improving our lives. Self-acceptanceYoga also speaks about self-acceptance. We need to accept ourselves before we can improve ourselves; however, we need to know ourselves before we can accept ourselves. The SWAN practice makes this possible since by examining strengths, weaknesses, aims and needs, we get a picture of ourselves – not as we imagine ourselves to be, but as we are. We have to start where we are. This idea of knowing ourselves, accepting ourselves, as we are, where we are, is the basis of yoga. Understanding ourselves gives us stability and makes our lives more useful to us.

31StrengthsThe SWAN's first aspect is strength. For many of us, this is our biggest unknown. Our strengths are the positive qualities that actually get us through life. Very often we don't recognize them; we even mistake them for weaknesses. The qualities that promote our wellbeing and help us develop in life may be qualities or abilities that we are born with. Let's start with something familiar: our physical bodies.Physical strengths •Good health: This is the most important physical strength.•Flexibility: In yoga, we gain flexibility and improve our health. Without flexibility, we are weak. •Adaptability: The body can adapt to heat, cold, and hard work. •Muscular strength: This defines the physical tasks we can undertake. •Beauty: Many beautiful people can do a lot with beauty alone. They can walk into places and the door will be opened for them. Beauty is a strength one is born with, although one can also learn how to enhance it. •Energy: You need to know how much you have and why it varies from day to day. •Endurance: If the body does not get food, it can manage for some time. If it does not get water, it can manage for

4some time. If you walk a long way, you can manage. That's endurance. •Balance and coordination: Various physical activities de-pend on how balanced and coordinated your body is, dance and gymnastics, for instance.•The ability of the body to perform whatever is required: If you have to get up and dance, you can dance. If you have to lie down and do yoga nidra, you can lie down and do yoga nidra. •The ability to eat well•The ability to sleep well•The ability to heal from injury•Regular bowel movements•Good eyesight•Optimum function of all body systems. Emotional strengths•Optimism: This means to see the best and search for the best in every thing and in everybody: at work, at home, in the family, in our kids. Not everybody is optimistic, but we can develop that quality. We can practise optimism, just like practising asana or kirtan. That was my guru's main teaching: become optimistic, see the best in everybody, feel the best about everything after it's done, because you are what you feel. If you feel the best, you are the best! If you feel the worst, you are the worst. •Kindness: When you are optimistic and positive, it is easy to become kind. Kindness to oneself, kindness to one's family, kindness to the outside world, is a divine quality. God is kind, and we need to become kind also. If we can be kind, then life will become kind to us. •Compassion: The Buddha talked about it, "Become compassionate." Compassion means to feel the suffering of another or even myself. To feel and understand the suffering of a child, the suffering of another person, the suffering of a dog, or the suffering of a tree; that is compassion.

5•Faith: Our modern society has lost faith. We have faith in technology. We have faith in our modern amenities, yet we have forgotten about the higher reality; we think only about technology and the comforts of life. Technology and amenities can't help us emotionally, they won't get us through. Faith will get us through; faith in a higher reality, a reality bigger than any one of us and bigger than technology. We have to find that faith. I am not talking about religion. I am talking of reality, consciousness. There is a cosmic reality to connect with and it requires faith.•Respect: Respect is a feeling, and when you generate that within yourself, you open yourself to so much more. When you give respect, wherever you give respect, things open up to you, they unfold for you, and good things are returned to you. •Love: We're a little weak at this. We love ourselves, love our money, and love our things. Still, we are often unable to maintain that love within us as a quality, to feel that love within ourselves which makes everything good. We need to work on loving more: loving our family, loving our friends, loving our place, wherever we are. We need to love. Love makes us strong. What is God? God is love. If we don't know love, we will never know God. In any language, any concept, God is always love.•Being considerate: To consider others, how they may be feeling, why they may be speaking or acting a certain way, to be caring about others' children as well as our own; this is consideration. Be caring of all: animals, trees and plants, everything. •Security: The feeling of security within oneself, within one's family, within one's home, with one's work. •Confidence: To be confident in the relationship with our partner, confident in our role as a mother or a father, confident in our work, makes us strong. •Being charitable: To be able to give to another person in need.

6•Happiness: We think some people are happy purely by luck, but we can all become happy. Who is happy and who is not happy is not a random thing. It is a quality, and we need this quality. People who are happy are strong emotionally.•Contentment: To be content with what I have, knowing that whatever I have is enough; this is a strength.•Emotional balance •Being quick to laugh and cry•Accepting others•Simplicity•Gratitude•Forgiveness•Sympathy.Mental strengths•Mental balance: Perhaps none of us are very good at this. Sometimes we feel mentally good, sometimes mentally not so good. •Awareness: Without yoga, we just move around normally, we never develop awareness of where we are, what we are doing, what we are saying; with yoga we become more aware in life. •Attention: Children need to be attentive at school to learn, and we need to be attentive in our lives so we can be successful. •Mental clarity: If your mind is clear, you can think clearly, you can make correct decisions, you can remember things. •Good mental focus: Being able to apply your mind positively, to think positively, not negatively. •Intelligence: Some people are very intelligent, some people are not so intelligent and they have to try harder.•Knowledge: Knowledge that you gain through study and through life is a strength.•Discrimination: The ability to tell the difference and choose the right course of action.•Understanding: Some people are very understanding, for example, grandparents are generally more understanding than parents.

7•Determination: Determination means never giving up; finding a way through. •Analyzing: The ability to research, to analyze, to rational-ize, to think through concepts. •The ability to remember quickly•Persistence•Inspiration•Willpower•Imagination•Creativity.Psychic strengthsThe psychic level is one we don't know much about. Your psyche is the mind behind your mind, the consciousness behind your mind. When you go to sleep at night, where do you go? It is a different mind, but there is still a lot of activity there.Sometimes even in the day we dream, we daydream. That's the psychic level. When we are thinking, speaking or aware, we are interacting using our minds. Behind the mind there is this bigger mind, a bigger consciousness. That is our psychic nature. Our psychic nature holds all the memories and associations that are responsible for who we are. They make us a woodcutter or housewife or cake-maker or lover of pets. Through yogic practices, through yoga nidra, through mantras and kirtan, we become aware of the psychic level slowly, in a balanced way. We become a bigger person and a more capable person, but only if we develop the awareness of the psychic level in a gradual, balanced way.•Intuition: When we develop awareness at the psychic level, we can experience intuition. What is intuition? It is when you know something suddenly. Your daughter may be living somewhere else in the world, and she may not be able to talk to you, but suddenly you know she is sick. How do you know that? Nobody told you, there was no telephone call, but you know. That's psychic. You can develop that through yoga and through meditation.

8Meditation should develop that quality of knowledge, which is inner, higher knowledge, another kind of mental knowledge. •Creativity: When you develop your awareness at the psychic level, you can become very creative. You can see things from inside yourself. An artist has to have that. Art that comes from looking outside, landscapes or portraits, that's okay, but a real artist finds seas inside and paints them. A real musician hears music inside and when that music is played, it is extraordinary, not ordinary. That's a great musician. That's creative. That's art. •Inner vision: A saint sees God; a saint hears the voice of God. How? That's inner vision. Inner vision is a reality for people who have developed that level of mind and consciousness.•Dreams: Some people have beautiful dreams. They dream of the guru, the master, God and angels. That is a great strength.We don't all have every one of the above qualities, but we may have a few and we need to identify those. That will help us. That's the beginning of knowing our strengths. So let's practise the SWAN meditation, starting with our strengths.Practice: SWAN meditation – strengthsSit quietly in a comfortable meditation posture. Now close your eyes, allow the body to relax. Become aware of your whole physical body. Become aware of the position of the body. Begin to feel the body from head to toe. Feel the body becoming quiet and still. Maintain total awareness of the body, which is physical in nature, and feel your energy, your mind, your soul in the body. Become aware of the quality of your body, whatever it may be.Look for the positive strengths of your body. You don't have to think about weaknesses or negative points, just the positive ones. If negative thoughts about the body come into your mind, let them go, then bring up positive ones. Try to search out and identify all the positive qualities of your body.

9Count on your fingers at least five physical strengths that you have. Think about five physical strengths that you wish to develop. Choose strengths that are possible for you to develop.Now leave the physical body and become aware of feeling and emotion. Become aware of the feeling within you at this time. Become aware of different feelings that are strong in you, your positive feelings. Count five of them on your fingers.Count five strengths that you have emotionally. Five emotional strengths that support you and help you through difficulties.Now leave the emotional level. Become aware of the state of mind that you are experiencing at this moment. Become aware of five mental strengths you have. Count them on your fingers. Become aware of two, three, four or five more that you want to develop.Now leave the mental region and become aware of the psyche. Reflect on your dreams, daydreams; meditation, the quality of your meditation, your experience during yoga nidra, your ability to connect with your deeper mind: memories that arise, ideas that arise, creativity.Now leave the four levels of strengths. Just sit quietly. Look into the space in front of the closed eyes without thinking about any particular strength. What is the one strength that comes into your mind? If nothing comes, let it be, but see if one quality comes into your mind. It is your best strength. If it doesn't come to you now, it will come to you. When it comes, you will know.Now leave aside that thought also. Look into the space in front of the closed eyes. See a small, steady, brightly burning candle flame. Keeping this vision, chant the mantra Om three times.

10Now slowly come back into the room, into the physical body. Move your fingers, stretch the body, release the posture and open your eyes.Hari Om Tat SatUltimately, through the practices of SWAN meditation, a stage of integration is reached wherein the different levels of the personality: instinctive, emotional, mental and psychic, are able to function and coordinate harmoniously. The fragmented as-pects of the human personality, which hinder and limit creative potential, are gradually unified and reinforced, creating more positive channels of expression.—Swami Niranjanananda

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2WeaknessesHow do we know that something is a weakness? It limits us, it blocks us, keeps us from progressing and from achieving our goals. Weaknesses are those tendencies that block our wellbeing, our development and our evolution. They are also our disabilities, and we need to look at them clearly. Physical weaknesses•Poor health•Being overweight•Being underweight •Lack of strength•Lack of physical adaptability•Lack of endurance •Stiffness •Blindness•Deafness•High blood pressure•Poor bone construction•Headaches•Ageing•Chemical sensitivity•Allergies•Any other physical debility.

12Emotional weaknesses•Emotional imbalance: Sometimes we are happy, sometimes sad. Life always has its ups and downs.•Sensitivity: Some people are too sensitive, others are in-sensitive.•Attachment and dependence: We are attached and dependent on our partner, our children and our parents.•Inability to adapt to changing circumstances•Inability to manage stress•Constant worry, fear and anxiety•Insecurity•Impatience•Jealousy•Aggression•Anger•Pessimism•Panic•Depression•Apathy•Lack of faith•Lack of respect•Lack of motivation•Low self-esteem.Mental weaknesses•Negativity: Negative thinking, criticizing all the time.•Neurosis: Always thinking, thinking, thinking about the same thing; the same thoughts, the same fears and anxieties repeated over and over.•Dullness: The mind cannot think clearly.•Restless mind: Always moving from one thing to another.•Scepticism•Inhibition•Lack of awareness•Misunderstanding•Confusion

13•Poor memory or memory loss•Dissipation. Psychic weaknesses•Confusion about inner and outer reality: You think that the inner psychic reality is the outer reality.•Paranoia: People feel fear inside and project that fear outside. •Poor insight: To look inside is one thing, to look outside is another thing. We normally look outside, but psychic people look inside for the answers. A psychic weakness is a lack of the ability to look inside.•Lack of foresight: Psychic people have an idea about what's to come; lacking that ability is a weakness. •Poor imagination•Poor creativity.Using strengths to overcome weaknessesNow we know a little about our strengths and our weak-nesses. Often our weaknesses overshadow our strengths, however, because we identify with the weaknesses, not with the strengths. That's why we forget to use and develop our strengths. At the same time, we try to hide our weaknesses, although what we should do is support our weaknesses with our strengths.Practice: List your strengths and weaknessesMake two lists, one of your strengths, one of your weak-nesses, in physical, emotional and mental categories. Then try to find the strength that you can use to support a particular weakness. In this way we can gradually overcome our weaknesses. When strengths become weaknessesSometimes our strengths become weaknesses also. For ex-ample, a person who is very strong physically can do harm to themselves or to others. Sometimes a very beautiful woman

14or man relies too much on their beauty and doesn't develop other qualities, so it becomes a weakness in the end. Deter-mination is a good quality, yet sometimes a very determinedperson becomes stubborn. Therefore, we really need to examine our strengths and how we use them. Vital self-knowledgeWhat we can or cannot do in life is decided by our strengths and weaknesses and if we are to know ourselves, if we are to understand our personalities, it's very important to consider these. It is only when we understand our strengths and our weaknesses that we can take responsibility for ourselves in life. Understanding our strengths and weaknesses is not a five-minute study; it is a lifetime study. There are very few people who have this knowledge about themselves. Psychologists and psychiatrists may have a lot of information in books; however, what I am talking about is real, useful knowledge because it is about you; it is about your life, your strengths and weaknesses. A therapist cannot know you as you can know you; only you can know.Practice: SWAN meditation – weaknessesNow we are going to practice the meditation in which we look at our weaknesses. Please come into a comfortable meditation position, placing the hands in the meditation mudra of your choice. Close the eyes gently, bring your awareness inside. Become aware of your physical body. Become aware of the whole physical body from the top of the head, down to the toes. Feel the body sitting quietly and comfortably. Allow the whole body to relax. Focus on the body and relaxation. Become aware of the natural breath. Watch each breath as you breathe in and out. Follow the flow of each breath with your awareness. As you watch the breath, just allow the idea of physical weakness to come into the mind. Side by side with the

15breath, become aware of any physical weakness that you may have. Just name it; you don't have to think a long time about it; just recognize this one, this one, this one. Try to recognize as many physical weaknesses as you can and name them one by one. Become aware of the breath at the nose tip. Leave the physical weaknesses. Just follow the breath; be aware of the body and the breath. As you watch the breath, become aware of emotional weaknesses. Try to name a few that relate to your life. Go on with the breath side by side, emotional weaknesses and the breath. Now, ease the emotional weaknesses, be aware of the breath. Become aware of the mental weaknesses. Which mental weakness do you feel in your life? Be aware of the breath side by side. See if you can name a few mental weaknesses that affect you in your life. Be aware of the breath, following each breath. Now, leave the mental weaknesses also. Just be aware of the body and the breath. As you follow the breath, be aware of any psychic weakness, if you can relate to that level. Keep your awareness with the breath and if you relate to any psychic weakness, just name it. Leave the weaknesses, and gaze into the space in front of the closed eyes. Gaze with the relaxed, free mind. Simultaneously, be aware of the natural breath. Just look in a relaxed way into the space. That's all. Just see if any weakness comes into the mind, whatever comes without trying to think of anything. Whatever comes, recognize that. Just see it and then let it go. Be aware of the breath, gazing into the space. Within the space, in front of the closed eyes, begin to see a small, steady, brightly burning candle flame. Gazing at the flame, chant the mantra Om three times. Now come back to the room in which you are sitting. Become aware of the physical body. Become aware of the effect of the practice. Try to remember what you

16discovered during the practice about yourself, and remember the earlier practice to define your strengths. See how the strengths and weaknesses have become part of your life and how, by understanding them, you can change your life if you wish. Now slowly open the eyes and release the position. Hari Om Tat SatThe practice of SWAN unfolds a new vision of oneself and of one's life, an experience of internal unity and self-acceptance, which is not affected by external changes and influences.—Swami Niranjanananda

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3AimsAfter we have understood our strengths and weaknesses, we need to understand how to apply them. There are many people who have no idea of any aim or goal or purpose. They live life day-to-day. Those people generally do not go very far in life. In order to succeed in life, to achieve something, we need a goal, we need a purpose, we need an aim. We should aim to achieve something and be something for ourselves, and we should also aim to do something and be something for the people around us, for society, for humanity. An aim in life gives us a direction, a reason to live. Our aims and ambitions are what decide our motivations, our aspirations and our actions. Most people are aimlessMany people do not have an aim in life. When I first went to my guru, I was a young woman in my twenties. When my guru asked, "What is your purpose in life?" I just said, "I don't know." I had never thought about it! He said, "You can't live a life without a purpose. A purposeless life is not worth living." And he said, "You must ask yourself from today, what is your purpose in life? Why are you living? Otherwise, why should you live at all? Waste of food." Choosing realistic aimsOur aims can be understood and guided by our strengths and our weaknesses. You need to know your strengths and

18weaknesses to understand if your aim is correct or not. Can I do that? With my assets and deficits, is it possible for me? Yes? Great. No? Find something else.If I'm a poor man without much education who doesn't know much about politics, it's no use for me to aim to become the president of a country or even the head of a town. What I can do is choose something that I would be able to do well, aim for and achieve that. Thus, our aims should be practical. Many people have the idea that it is a bad thing to be ambitious. My guru said that ambition is absolutely necessary in life, even for a monk. It is ambition that will help us to achieve something in life; however, our ambition should be directed towards positive and attainable goals. Ambition and aim are what we wish to do and be. Every one of us is born with a potential to do and to be something, thus the next step in life is to discover that aim and keep moving towards it. Two types of aims: external and internalExternal aims: Up until now, we have been aware mostly of external aims. Physically we have aims: a boy may wish to build up his muscles. That's an aim. A girl might wish to be slim and beautiful. That's an aim. With that aim you can see boys and girls jogging, going to the gym, joining in physical fitness activities, aerobics and yoga. Young people may aim to have a family one day. In order to have a family, they have to work. They need a job, a car, a house, a bank account. We may aim to pursue a particular profession. We require education and experience so we acquire those, then we can pursue the profession. It didn't just happen. We worked a long time to get into that company, into that position or own that shop, be a good housewife or become a mother. Similarly, we have friends, we have status in society. We want to be a good member of society, maybe even a leader in society. We want to have good friends in society; we work for that. We have aims relating to family, profession, finances. We may have an aim to achieve financial stability. That's

19important; we need to know that it's our aim to live like that. Some of us aim to attain name and fame in our profession; we want to attain some status, some recognition: maybe as a dancer, maybe as a yoga teacher, maybe as a business manager or shop owner.We may be more familiar with the aim when it is something we're interested in, or something we think we might like to do or be, yet we are not really clear on them. We need to clarify these and sort them into priorities.Internal aims:We also have internal aims. These can be more difficult to attain because they are not material, physical attainments. For example: I would like to be a happy person, I would like to be a kind person, I would like to be a person who helps others, I would like to be a creative person or I would like to be a hard-working person because I'm lazy. People have mental aims, for example, 'I would like to have a better memory.' Someone might aim to have mental clarity. Somebody may wish to have strong willpower. Somebody might wish to have more faith, experience of a higher life, an inner life. In our lives, we should try to balance the two types, the external aims and the internal aims.Practice: Identifying aims Step 1: Write down your aimsSit down with a pen and a paper and figure out your aims in life: externally, internally, physically, professionally, financially, family-related, all of them. What do I wish to achieve? What do I wish to be at the end of the day?There are some important points to consider in relation to understanding your aims: •To succeed, your aims need to be realistic, practical and achievable. Consider your assets and your deficits, your strengths and your weaknesses. Your aims should be achievable. •You should also consider whether your ambitions are positive or negative. Drop the negative ones.

20•Don't have too many aims. You need to prioritize your aims. Step 2: Prioritize your aimsTake the list of all the aims you wish to achieve and sort them by priority. Focus only on the first three; you cannot do everything. When you try to do too many things, you achieve nothing. You have to go deeply into one aim to achieve. There is a story in India about a man who wanted to find water on his property. He started to dig a well in one place. He dug down ten feet and he didn't see water. He left that place, went to another place, dug down again twelve or fifteen feet and didn't see water. He left that place, went to a third place. He again started to dig, dig. He must have dug holes in twenty different places. He never came to water. One day a water diviner came onto his property. He asked, "What were you doing digging all these wells? The water was there in the first well you dug, but you didn't dig deep enough!"Don't we do the same thing? We have to choose one, two or three aims and work on those. Don't waste time working on too many things. Don't waste time working on things you can't attain or that aren't going to have positive outcomes. This step requires some contemplation.Practice: SWAN meditation – aimsPlease sit comfortably in a meditation position, and place your hands in the meditation mudra of your choice. Make sure your head, neck, shoulders and spine are straight and in alignment.Bring your awareness to the body. Become aware of your whole physical body from the top of your head, right down to the toes. Feel the position you are sitting in, and feel the condition of the body in this position. Focus your entire awareness on the body. Feel that the body is settling into the position. Feel comfortable in the position. Allow the entire body to relax in the position. Be aware

21of relaxation and comfort. As you focus on the body, feel the whole body becoming more and more relaxed; totally relaxed and at ease within yourself. Go on focusing on the relaxed body and feel the body posture becoming steady and relaxed. Feel the body becoming totally still. Focus on the steadiness and the stillness of the body. Feel the whole body becoming absolutely steady, like a rock.Within the body, become aware of the breath. Feel that the body breathes in and the body breathes out, and you are watching the body and the breath. Begin to follow the movement of each breath with your whole awareness. Become aware of the incoming breath and the outgoing breath. Feel that the awareness is fixed to the breath. As the breath flows the awareness also flows in and out. You follow each breath in turn, from beginning to middle to end.Now, side by side with the breath, begin to gaze at the space in front of the closed eyes, and also feel comfortable in this space, gazing into the space, which is your inner space, your inner existence. Be aware of the breath and gazing into the space. Without making mental effort, become aware of your aim in life. Just like that. What is your aim in life? If it does not come into your mind, then become aware of what you want to attain in your life. It may be physical, social or internal. Allow this aim to become clear in your mind. Feel that this aim is right for you, and you can attain it. Begin to search for the strengths that you have, your inner strengths, your outer strengths, those that will help you to attain this aim. Try to name the strengths that will help you to attain this particular aim. Even if you can only find one or two, that is good. Keep them in mind. Breathe side by side with the aims, using the support of the breath. Begin to search internally to identify the weaknesses that prevent you from attaining this aim. Don't try too hard; let them come. Your mind knows them. Let them come and place them on the other side of the aim. Now, you have the aim in the middle, on the right side you

22have strengths to help you achieve it and on the left, the weaknesses that obstruct you. Now, do another search for a strength that will support each weakness that is obstructing you. And don't try. Let it come. It will come. Keep the idea in your mind, the aim, the strengths to attain it, the weaknesses that block it, and then which strengths you can use to support those weaknesses so that they will not block it. Keep the concept in your mind clearly, but without too much effort. Just see it in the space in front of your closed eyes.You now have the aim in the middle, you have the strengths on the right, and the weaknesses on the left, and alongside the weaknesses you have some strengths that will help to support you. The next thing to do is determine what you need to attain this aim. Relax. Let your mind do the work. You're just seeing. Be aware of the breath. See if you can identify one or two or three needs that will help you to attain this aim. These needs should be in relation to the aim only, not other aspects of life. Relax. Be aware of the breath. Breathing in, breathing out. Use the breath to support this contemplation.Be aware of the breath in, the breath out. Look again. You have your aim in the middle. See it. See it, already attained. You already are that aim. On the right, see the strengths that will help you attain it, help you to be it. On the left side of the aim, see the weaknesses that prevent you from attaining it. See one or two strengths to support each weakness so they won't block you any more. Now underneath, supporting the whole concept, see what you need physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, professionally, or in any other way to attain the aim. What do you need to attain it? Be aware of the breath; use the breath to support your contemplation on it.This is your inner swan. Allow the whole concept to change into a beautiful swan. See a beautiful white swan in your inner space. Now allow this image of the swan to

23fade into the space. Go on looking into the empty space and see a small, steady, brightly burning candle flame. Hold this image of the flame while you chant the mantra Om three times. Sit quietly with your eyes closed for a few moments. Become aware of the effects of the meditation you have just completed. Try to remember each stage and process of the meditation, the creation of your inner swan. Please become aware of your physical body sitting in the room. Slowly move your fingers. Move your toes. Slowly bend your head forward, back, move it from side to side and then gradually release your asana. Open your eyes.Now you have your own swan. If you use and develop it within, you become a special person, you will have something that nobody else has: integration within the different levels of your personality, which are able to function and coordinate harmoniously. It's up to you. Sometimes we receive wonderful gifts, although we never use them. This is a gift to you from our master. He gives it to you with love and with all the best wishes for you in your life; however, he also says it is up to you now to use the gift of the swan.Hari Om Tat Sat

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4NeedsWe come now to the fourth component of the SWAN theory. We have our strengths, we have our weaknesses, and we have our aims. There is one more point we need to consider: our needs. Discriminating between needs and desiresWhat do we really need? We are confused. The modern-day media tells us constantly, "You need this, you want that, you enjoy this, you must buy that, you must have this, your child must have that, your spouse must have this..." What should we buy? What do we want? What do we need? We don't know any more. Our houses are overflowing with things we don't need. Our good money and hard work is wasted. This can be avoided. Remember that the swan has the quality of discrimination. Develop discrimination before you acquire something else you don't need. Needs are different from ambitions and aims, although sometimes we mix them up.We see that our friend or neighbour has a nice, shiny new car and we think, 'Oh, I need a car, too!' Actually I have a car. It works all right. It drives me everywhere I need to go. Still, now that I've seen that shiny new car, I can't get it out of my mind. It may be a new dress or a new flat. We need to place that car or flat or dress in another category. It is not a need; it is a desire. We have to be clear about it in our mind. Okay, I may have many desires, too. If I decide that I want to attain my desire, that shiny new car, I will make it one of my ambitions.

25Or maybe I'll decide, "No, I really don't need it," so I scrap the desire and I don't have to go through all the work to achieve it. Desires may become ambitions. We have to take control of this because this is happening in life, all around us. All of our friends are like this. They don't understand why, immediately after they see something, they think, 'I need it. I have to have it, too.' That's how this whole materialistic, consumer society runs. We have to understand what we actually do need. SimplifyWe do not need as much as we think we do or as much as the media is telling us we need. One important quality we learn from yoga is simplicity. The fewer needs we have, the more simple life becomes. The more we need, the more complicated it becomes. This is a yogic view. Let us to look at the basic types of needs to clarify the difference between needs, desires, and ambitions. Physical needs•Food: If we don't have it, we'll die. If we have too much food, we'll die, too! Therefore, the need is for the right amount of food and also the right type of food for each individual. If one person cuts wood in a forest, the right amount and type of food is needed for that individual. If another person sits in an office all day, a different amount and type of food is needed for that person. A person who has chemical sensitivity needs another type of food. For everything we think we need, we have to qualify what exactly is the need. Food is needed; however, maybe delicious, rich restaurant food will make us sick. If we don't work out which food we need, we may get sick until we do find out.•Shelter: We need to sleep safely, out of the wind and the rain and the snow and the heat. However, see all the complications that have arisen as basic needs are met and desires increase. Many people have such enormous places, big apartment buildings going up into the sky. Let this need be practical. I don't need to spend my whole life

26attaining a big, big house, living at the top of a skyscraper. What do I really need as shelter for myself, for my family? For each one of us, this is different. •Clothing: We need to cover the naked body. That's all clothing is for: to protect our bodies from cold, rain and other extreme elements, yet look what we have made out of that. There are so many new clothes available every year in every price range. What is the clothing that we really need and what is the clothing we desire? What is the clothing that we aim to attain? It's such a small thing and yet it is all blown out of proportion in our lives. •Security: We all need to feel secure; our family should be secure. We have locks and all kinds of systems in place for security. •Comfort: We need some elemental comforts in life. Again, we have gone overboard and focused on nothing but comfort and forgotten what the needs were. Too much comfort makes us weak. •Exercise: If we don't exercise, we will become weak. But some people exercise too much, some people not at all. Which type of exercise will help our overall wellbeing? Everybody's needs are different.•Medicine: We need it, nevertheless, we've overdone it. We take medicine for every condition that we get; we need to examine that, too, as we may not really need all that we are taking. Emotional needs•Relationships•Love•Support•Ideals•Faith.Mental needs•Satisfaction•Purpose

27•Stimulation•Peace.Psychic needs•Inner experience•Inner purification•Union with the divine.We also have needs that relate to our society, our family, our community. We have needs for education and our children's education. We need certain qualifications. We need to have a profession. We need a certain amount of money to live. We need a phone. We need transportation. In all these areas, we have to find a balance between too much and too little, and find out exactly what we do need. Surprisingly, when you do that, you'll find that you have extra money and extra time too, so you can practise more yoga. Practice: Make a list of your needsWhat do you really need? Make a list. Then look at the possessions you have that you need and don't need. What do you want that you need and don't need? Different needs for different life stagesOne more thing I would like to point out about needs is that we have different needs at different stages of our lives. Birth to twenty-five: A young person, from birth to twenty-five years old, has a certain set of needs for their growth and for their education. Twenty-five to fifty: The person between twenty-five and fifty has needs in relation to family life. The needs of a student are very different from the needs of a family person. Fifty to seventy-five: The next stage is from age fifty to seventy-five, when your life is no longer dominated by the needs of the family. You need to start developing a concept of your own inner needs, what you need to fulfil yourself as a person. From fifty to seventy-five, we need to begin to

28discover ourselves; our inner lives become important, our inner qualities. Before that, it was our outer life that was important: society, a profession and the family. After seventy-five: After seventy-five, your needs totally change again. After seventy-five, the world goes away from you and you need to tune in to and communicate with, the higher reality, the world beyond this material world. When people over seventy-five fail to go beyond the material world, they feel negative, they complain and are critical of this world; they are meant to commune with the higher reality and this area remains unfulfilled.This is a very brief explanation to understand our needs in life and how to differentiate between what we need and what we don't need.Practice: Write down your SWAN1.You have already written four lists: strengths, weak-nesses, aims and needs.You have categorized each list into physical, emo-tional and mental, and psychic if you feel inclined. If you haven't already done this, do it now!2.You have matched up strengths and weaknesses, and can support your weaknesses with some of your strengths. Again, if you haven't already done this, do it now. You can only do this practice with the lists in front of you. Select a weakness that's bothering you in life and then look at your list of strengths. Find one or two you can apply to help you to overcome the weakness. 3.Look at your list of aims and select the primary one.Look at which strength will help you achieve it. Also, look at which weakness will prevent you from achieving it. Which strengths can you apply to support those weaknesses? This way you can attain your ambitions. 4.What do you need to attain that aim? Look at the list of needs and work out if you have all you need to achieve the aim already. If not, how will you meet those needs?

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5SWAN Meditation: The Complete SystemSWAN is a complete system to bring order into your life, to understand yourself and your life, and to attain your goals. The subject is formidable, but putting your life, your personality in order, becoming the person you want to be, is a formidable task. If you look around you, you will see very few people who have done it, only the remarkable people, the high achievers. The rest have never done it. You should also consider that if you are going to live this life, you should make the best of it. Why live for less? SWAN as life mapYou can do it; you can achieve what you want to achieve in life. However, you need a path, in the same way that you need a road map if you wanted to reach a destination. If you don't have a path or follow a map, you'll turn this way and that way and it may take years to reach that destination. The SWAN is a life map to help you reach your destination in this life – not the next one! You will reach your destination; you will be who you want to be. Start to develop the concept of your inner SWAN, your inner discrimination, which is based on the knowledge of these four aspects of yourself: strengths, weaknesses, aims and needs.

30SWAN daily practiceTo confirm your direction is correct, you need to contem-plate it. Do the following meditation every day for ten minutes. This will help you understand your progress and confirm your direction, your aims, your needs. If you meditate on this every day, then your life will become very clear, and you will know with confidence how to overcome every difficulty. Swan meditation: The full practicePlease sit comfortably. Remember, in meditation you should always be comfortable. Remove glasses if you are wearing them. Place your hands in a meditation mudra. Check that your spine, head, neck and shoulders are in one straight line. Close your eyes. Bring the awareness inside. Become aware of your whole physical body from head to toe. Allow the body to relax into the posture. Focus on the physical body and relaxation. Feel that every muscle and part of the body is relaxed in the posture. Gradually, feel the whole body becoming calm and still. Feel very comfortable and at ease in the body.Within the stillness of the body, become aware of the natural breath. Feel that the body is breathing and you are watching each breath in turn. The body breathes in and the body breathes out. Fix your attention on the flow of breath. Feel that the breath and the awareness flow together. You know each breath in turn from beginning to middle to end. You are aware of the body and aware of the breath.Now, side by side with the awareness of the breath, begin to gaze into the space in front of your closed eyes. Look into the space, feeling very comfortable. This space is also a part of your existence. It is the vehicle of your consciousness. Be aware of the breath, aware of the space, gazing into the space easily without expecting anything. Use the

31awareness of the breath to support your meditation experience.As you gaze into the space in front of the closed eyes, bring an aim to your mind. Do not struggle, do not think hard, just allow it to come of its own accord. Your aim is already there. Place this aim right in the centre of the space in front of your closed eyes, and support this idea with your breath. Be aware of the breath, aware of the space, aware of the aim in the space in front of the closed eyes.Place one, two or three strengths to the right side of the aim. Name them and place them to the right of the aim. Again, support this concept with your breath. Be aware of each breath.Next place one, two or three weaknesses, the qualities that limit and block you from attaining your aim, to the left of the aim. Do not struggle, let them come. Your mind knows them. Again, the breath supports this concept. Breathe with the awareness. See the aim in the centre, strengths to the right and weaknesses to the left. Find the strength to support each weakness. And place the strength to the side of the weaknesses. Again, don't make an effort. Let it happen. Continue to support the process with your breath. Become aware of the natural flow of the breath.Now, gazing into the space in front of the closed eyes, see your aim in the middle, see it shining there. See your strengths to the right. Shine a light on them there. See the weaknesses to the left. Shine a light on them there. See the strength to support each weakness. See the needs; shine the light on what you need to achieve your aim. Place these needs below the aim. Write these needs below the aim. See what is written there.At this point, try to see the whole concept: the aim in the centre, strengths to the right, weaknesses to the left, the strength to overcome each weakness, and the needs below. Just see the whole concept easily, without effort, as

32it is. As you gaze at it, see it transforming into a beautiful white swan. See the white swan shine in the space. Allow this vision of the swan to fade. Gazing into the space, begin to see a small, steady, brightly burning candle flame. Watching the flame, chant the mantra Omthree times. Now sit quietly for a few moments. Feel the effect of the meditation. Feel the power of the swan within you. It is the real power to be and to do whatever you have decided. Never forget that you have the power within you. Now become aware of your physical body. Slowly move the fingers and toes. Slowly bend the head forward, to the back and rotate it sideways. Release the asana and open the eyes.Hari Om Tat SatSWAN meditation (hamsa dhyana) aims at developing awareness of our state of being by taking us through a process of observa-tion and awareness of the deeper ahamkara (ego) aspects of life. The true nature of ego is living with absolute awareness of actions and reactions. It is the realization of the positive aspects of ego that is the purpose and aim of SWAN meditation.—Swami Niranjanananda

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6Questions and AnswersCould you explain the difference between emotional and mental? Emotions are a part of the mind. In yoga, it is said that the mind resides in the heart. The brain is a tool of the mind. The brain thinks and the heart feels. Emotions relate to the brain, and thoughts relate to the brain. If you are able to bring your awareness down to the heart, there would be very few thoughts, and you'll be able to experience more pure feeling. As long as your attention, your awareness is up in the head, you will have a lot of thoughts. However, we also need to understand that every thought has a corresponding feeling and there's a feeling associated with every memory. Some memories make you feel happy and some make you feel sad. There are also very powerful feelings associated with dreams, and even daydreams. A nightmare is an extreme example; a nightmare is associated with very intense fear. If you wake up feeling terrible and trembling, that's a feeling. There are some dreams that are beautiful and you wake up feeling full of love and joy. Then you have to ask, "Well, where do the emotions come from? Do they come from the heart or from the brain? How do we understand this?" The mystery is solved when you add the psyche to the picture. The psyche is actually the subconscious mind. It's not the brain; it's a consciousness, the subconscious. The subconscious is the storehouse of all

34the memories and associations that you hold, lifelong. They are all there, everything. Remember, every memory is associated with particular feelings, right from your conception, every experience you have ever undergone. The feeling of that impression is held in your subconscious. Your subconscious holds a spectrum of every type of feeling possible for you. Every feeling that you have experienced or can experience is all there in your subconscious. You might ask, "Where did the original feeling come from?" All the emotions are stored in the subconscious mind, but how did they get there? Where did they come from? The very first feeling, that original feeling is you. That belongs to your pure soul, your pure consciousness. Each one of us is also a pure consciousness. We are all beings of light. Our pure consciousness has entered a body and, as a result, along with the purity of our consciousness, it also carries the associations of the body and life in the body. Those are our impurities, those are our impure emotions. Our impure emotions relate to our associations and experiences in the body. The impure emotions are the ones that we know, we remember and experience day-to-day. They are called impure for the reason that they relate to the body and experiences in the material world. We remember those. They are stored in our selves. There are also pure emotions, which are the source of our being. That pure emotion is the expression and spirit of our soul and our pure consciousness. That is the source of our emotions. That one pure emotion is bliss. In yoga, we call that ananda, pure unalloyed bliss. From that bliss comes love. That first love is the love of all, it is the love of God, because our pure spirit is part of God. Since we know that bliss, we know that love deep inside ourselves, we are always looking for it. We are looking for it in everything and everybody. The problem is, we are looking in the wrong place. We can never find it outside. For that love, for that bliss, for that joy, we have to search inside ourselves.

35The true self and pure self is the source of emotion. Then, that one pure emotion is reflected and becomes a part of all the different aspects of our being and we experience this in so many ways in our life. When we talk about the mind and the emotions that we experience in life, those are evolutes of one pure emotion. Emotion is a very big subject. We know very little about it. In fact, many of our diseases and problems in life are emotional diseases. We try to cure these problems with medicine and we get more problems.Is it possible to overcome emotional weaknesses with mental strengths? Or can only emotional strengths overcome emotional weaknesses?You have to figure out which strength you feel will work to support that weak emotional area. The mind is very important because it is the mind that can understand. You need to use the mind to identify the weakness to start with. You need to use the mind to understand when the weakness is limiting you. Emotions are just feelings, but the mind is able to identify the awareness of any aspect of the personality. Mind and feelings work together, always. We separated them so that we could understand; however, the fact is that they work together. Thoughts always accompany feelings, feelings always accompany a thought or a memory. They work together. You can use one or the other, and you should.You can even use a physical strength to help you to deal with emotion. You have to look at the whole picture to see how you can strengthen it with what you have. You might have some assets and deposits at different places and you can draw them out to pay off debts.Generally speaking, you look at the weakness and you try to think of its opposite. Suppose I have a lot of hatred, what would be the best way to deal with that? Yoga says to try to develop the opposite quality. If I have hatred, I should try to develop or express love. Therefore, in defining your weaknesses and supporting them, find an opposite strength.

36What should I do if I cannot find strengths to overcome my weaknesses? Everybody has strength. Even a worm has a certain strength. It is not that you do not have it, but you have not looked. Even the worst drunkard and debauchee has positive qualities. You have to find those. You're not a drunkard and you're not a debauchee. You have positive qualities, you just haven't looked yet. You know that jewels are hidden deep in the earth and you too have jewels lying deep within you; you have strength. If you're not able to see them immediately, they are deep within, but you have them. You may have many; you have to bring those up to the surface and identify them. Strengths are the most difficult to work with because we do not see them. We do not know our own strength, and many times we need to be told. "You are strong in this and this and this," and you say, "Really? I didn't know that." What you need to do is sit with your husband, your wife, your family, your kids, your friends and just say, "Can you tell me what positives you see in me? What am I strong in? How do I seem to you?" Then you learn a lot about yourself that you don't see. You can't see your strength in the mirror, you see only the flaws.Every person should know that they have positive,wonderful qualities. Why? You are a being of light. How can you be anything but strong and brilliant and full of good qualities? The world and the body have covered them over and made us forget.My intuition is strong. This often works positively but also sensitively responds to others' ill-will and negative energy, and that makes me exhausted. What should I do when the same characteristic, intuition, could be both a strength and a weakness? It's difficult when you feel that your positive qualities are being influenced by the negativity of other people. The problem is that the ordinary person who might be very

37psychic, doesn't understand much about it and has not had the training or developed the skills to deal with it.We are all psychic. Some people are more psychic than others. The questioner is very intuitive, so he is probably naturally working at the psychic level. We generally think that to be psychic is a strength. However, functioning at the psychic level also makes a person very vulnerable and sensitive if they don't know how to handle it. The type of training that we receive in life and in the world does not prepare us for this. It prepares us for the material reality, it doesn't strengthen us to deal with the psychic reality. This is a classic example of how a strength can become a weakness. What should you do? You need to constantly stay grounded.Can you tell me ways to become grounded?You need to do activities that make you fixed on the earth, on the ground, in the world. You also need to relate with people who are grounded. The most important practice is karma yoga. Practise karma yoga, meditation in action. You might think that if you do a lot of meditation, sitting quietly alone in a room, it will help you, but it won't. It will make you more vulnerable. You need to do physical things, outside things. Be with people who are more physical, though this may not appeal to you. This is how you have to manage it. The psychic mind is already strong, and it's too strong to live in the world. You need to ground yourself every day. Do asana, do pranayama, do physical sports, be with physical people, climb a mountain, walk a dog. Don't spend a lot of time alone. Then you'll get stronger and be able to balance this inner and outer. It's a difficult thing. The psychic won't go away, you will just be able to live on both levels.Regarding the well story, how can I trust my intuition to tell me which hole is the real well?This refers to the story mentioned earlier about the man digging many wells and never reaching water. We use this

38story to illustrate that we shouldn't have too many aims or ambitions; we should try to prioritize and have just one or two main aims. How do I know the aim that I have chosen as my main aim is my true main aim and that I can achieve it? I know an aim is my true main aim because that'swhat I want to do and be. I have thought about it and I've decided that I can do it and I will do it. That's how I know. It is similar to the way you decide to build a house; how do you start such a huge project? You build a house level by level. In the same manner, if you decide this is your aim, then slowly, year by year, you go about achieving that, becoming that or doing that. If you don't have too many aims, you can apply all your attention, all your energy toward one and you will achieve it. If halfway along you decide, 'Oh, it's too difficult. I can't do it', and try another one, and halfway along again, you try another one, you'll get nothing at the end of your life. If you stick to one thing, you will reach it.Could I do the SWAN meditation on a train? Please advise me on how to do this meditation in my daily life.Yes, you can do it on a train, especially when you have time to think the different things through and write them down. If you're on a train for a long time, especially in the morning when your mind is clear, do it. Close your eyes; do the meditation practice. The best time to do SWAN would be after the morning yoga practice, if you have a personal practice. You would do a few asanas and pranayama in the morning, then after that do the SWAN for ten minutes. Don't wait until the evening, when you're tired. Do it on the weekends, too.How do I prioritize my ambitions?The first criterion is that it is something you want to do. You feel attracted to it: every part of you wants to be that, every part of you wants to do that. It isn't socially motivated or parentally motivated. Try to discern the difference; often

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SWAN Meditation for Everyone

Overview and Practice CapsulesYoga Publications Trust, Munger, Bihar, India

ContentsPreface: The 2nd Chapter of Yoga ixTo Live a Yogic Lifestyle 1Karma Phal Tyag – The Making of the Everyones 21Part 1: Introducing SWAN Meditation 1. Aims 31 2. Practices and Techniques 36 3. Benefits 43 4. Obstacles 50 5. Conditions and Precautions 55 6. Indicators of Progress 59 7. Advice on Lifestyle Adjustments 64 8. Yamas and Niyamas 68 9. Spiritual Diary 7510. General Guidelines 80Part 2: Sadhana Capsules11. School Children 8712. Teenagers 9313. Adults 9814. Relationships and Family 10415. The Elderly 108

viiiPart 3: Sadhana for Specific Conditions16. Workaholics 11517. Change in Life Situations 12118. Lack of Self-Confidence 126Appendix: SWAN 131

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Preface:The 2nd Chapter of YogaSri Swami Satyananda Saraswati established the Bihar School of Yoga in 1963, in order to fulfil the mandate of his guru, Swami Sivananda Saraswati. The mandate Swami Satyananda received was to propagate the science of yoga and take yoga from "shore to shore and door to door". In the days of Swami Sivananda, yoga was far from the globally recognized and accepted word it is today. Yoga was considered a spiritual practice reserved for sannyasins and renuniciates who had renounced society and were seeking enlightenment. It was not seen as something that could be incorporated into society and practised by the general public. When the Bihar School of Yoga was established, the philo­sophy, practices, applications and lifestyle of yoga as practical and scientific systems were unknown, even in Indian society. From the beginning, yoga training and propagation by the Bihar School of Yoga took the form of intensive residential programs, in which yoga was taught as a way to qualitatively enhance physical health, mental peace, emotional harmony. A sequence of progression in yoga was defined fifty years ago by Swami Satyananda, by giving systematic training first in hatha yoga, raja yoga, and kriya yoga, as bahiranga yoga, external yoga. Simultaneously, training in antaranga, internal, aspect of karma yoga, bhakti and jnana yoga was provided through the lifestyle and inspiration of the ashram environment. A holistic or integral yoga system developed in which the yoga aspirant

xcould awaken and integrate the faculties of head, heart and hands. The different angas, limbs, of yoga become the means of attaining this personal harmony and integrated expression.In the early 1940s, the subject of yoga was propagated across the world by teachers and masters of different traditions, introducing the idea that through the practice of yoga one could explore the body, mind, emotions, and have a glimpse into one's spiritual nature. The first­generation teachers focused on bringing the knowledge of yoga to human society according to the need of the society at that time. In the 1960s, yoga was seen as a physical culture. In the 1970s, it was seen as a way to overcome stress, anxiety, tension and to improve the physical and mental functions. In the 1980s, research into the various possibilities and potentials of yoga to assist and promote physical and mental health took the forefront. By the1990s, a rapid increase in the popularity of the practice of asana was evident across the globe. The asana component of yoga had been accepted worldwide and other components of yoga were relegated to the background and largely ignored by the mainstream practitioners and majority of yoga teachers. Today, 28 million people are practising yoga in the United States alone and statistics estimate 300 million practitioners worldwide.In 2013, the World Yoga Convention was conducted in Munger to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Bihar School of Yoga. Over 50,000 yoga practitioners, teachers, students and aspirants participated in this historic event either in person or through the internet. The Convention was a milestone that marked the completion of fifty years of yoga propagation. The mandate of taking yoga from shore to shore and door to door was fulfilled. Over a fifty­year period, with the help of yoga aspirants and well­wishers all over the world, a yogic renaissance had taken place. The chapter of yoga propagation was complete and when one chapter closed, the next chapter opened.Thus the World Yoga Convention also heralded the beginning of the second chapter of the Bihar School of Yoga.

xiThe hallmark of this second chapter is a new vision of yoga not as a practice but as a vidya, a wisdom to be understood, imbibed and expressed in life. This understanding of the fundamental need for integral development was the vision of Swami Satyananda, which he imparted and taught through the concept of the yoga chakra, or the wheel of yoga. The second chapter of the Bihar School of Yoga and the teachings which are being presented are not concerned with propagation of the practices of yoga. Isolated practices of yoga do not bring about the qualitative change and spiritual evolution intended and envisaged by the seers. The transcen­dence of the negative and restricting conditions and the real evolution and growth of the personality takes place only when the vidya of yoga is comprehended, absorbed and realized.The profundity of yogic understanding must increase and the depths of yoga must be fathomed, if the vidya is to be realized and maintained for future generations. The experience and wisdom of accomplished yogis and spiritual scientists is recorded in the scriptural and classical texts detailing each anga of yoga. The second chapter teachings are a progressive effort to discern and elucidate the experiences and realizations of the ancient seers, within the blueprint of the yoga chakra.For individual aspirants, the challenge of the second chapter is to deepen the understanding and experience of yoga. Practice is merely an introduction to yoga, which is limited by personal motivation and constraints. The yoga vidya dimension is accessed only when one moves from practice to sadhana and makes a sincere effort to experience the aims defined by the different angas of yoga. Until that sincerity awakens, the commitment to adhere to the system and the vidya of yoga is lacking. With sincerity, seriousness and commitment, each aspirant has to accept responsibility for their own development and betterment in life.Ultimately, yoga is a lifestyle. It is not a practice. For, once the yogic principles are imbibed and become part of life, the attitudes, perceptions, interactions, the mind, actions and

xiibehaviours will improve. To meet the challenge of the second chapter, the expressive and the behavioural components of yoga, the antaranga and the bahiranga aspects, have to come together. When head, heart and hands unite, an ordinary moment can become divine. An ordinary life can become a divine life

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To Live a Yogic LifestyleWhat is a yogic life? How do you live a yoga lifestyle? Swami Niranjan ananda has identified two cornerstones necessary for a yogic lifestyle. The first of these are the yoga capsules; the second are the yamas and niyamas of yoga. They are the two foundations which allow you to integrate yoga into your daily routine, to improve the quality of your involve ment in the world, the material dimension of your life, and at the same time strengthen the spiritual dimension of your life – your connection with your inner self, your inner being.

2YOGA CAPSULEConsidering the lack of time for yogic practice and the speed of life in modern times, Swami Niranjan has introduced a specific sequence of sadhana, a set of practices that are easy to do, that take only about twenty minutes to complete and which will give benefits on all levels of being. He called this sadhana the 'yoga capsule'. Just as you take one vitamin capsule a day for good health, you can take a 'yoga capsule' to balance the energies in the body, improve mental efficiency, harmonize the emotions, and bring excellence in undertakings. With this sadhana, you can incorporate yoga in your lifestyle, without major adjustments, for your betterment and upliftment.The yoga capsule contains three mantras, three to five asanas, one pranayama and a short reflection or relaxation. This capsule is to be 'taken' every day. Everyone can spare twenty minutes out of twenty­four hours of the day. By adopting this capsule, yoga will become part of your daily lifestyle and spiritualize it.Become a gardenerOften it is said that you have to be a warrior to win in life, but a warrior wins by shedding blood and battling others. Yoga teaches that you have to be a gardener in life. We have been given a barren piece of land and through our personal effort we have to convert it into a beautiful garden. It requires hard work and diligent effort to remove the rocks and weeds, break up the earth, and prepare proper beds. It is only then that we plant the seeds. Once planted, we protect them.This is the process that you go through when you practise yoga, not to satisfy the whims of your mind, but to follow and experience the aims set by yoga. Yogic goals are very clearly defined: cultivation of awareness, disciplining and restructuring the personality, managing the mental and emotional distractions and disturbances, and becoming the observer of your life and actions. These are the initial goals

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YOGA LIFESTYLE YAMAS AND NIYAMASYamas and niyamas are expres sions, behaviours and con­di tion ings to fill the mind with positivity and inspiration. People think of yamas and niyamas as ethical and moral teachings, yet they represent the emergence of your con nec­tion with the positive dimen sion of your nature and provide an antidote to negativity. They take you in the most positive direction that you can aspire for. Yamas reach inside and change you from within, while niyamas are the external actions that you perform to experience the positive change internally.—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

5Each branch of yoga has its own set of yamas and niyamas according to the aim and purpose of that yoga. The specific yamas and niyamas have been presented along with each branch of yoga in these books. Apart from these, Swami Niranjanananda has imparted a set of yamas and niyamas drawn from the yogic scriptures that create and support a yogic lifestyle. The ancient texts present yamas and niyamas as a way to enhance the quality of life.Known as the 'yoga lifestyle yamas and niyamas', they connect you directly with positivity and goodness and will give you a better understanding of your inherently luminous nature. They can help you to overcome the influence of the six internal conditions spoken of in yogic scriptures: kama,desire and lust; krodha, anger; lobha, greed; moha, delusion and infatuation; mada, arrogance; and matsarya, envy, jealousy and competitiveness.Lifestyle yamasManahprasad: Happiness without an external cause. Happi­ness is your true nature – this has to be realized by connecting with the positive side of your personality and the beauty of life. No matter what circumstances you find yourself in, look within and smile at yourself and the situation at hand. This will change your perspective. Manahprasad is an antidote to kama, desire.Kshama:Forgiveness. The ability to let go of feelings of resentment, anger or hurt by clearing out the negativity through forgiveness and coming back to a state of happiness and balance. Kshama, forgiveness, is an antidote to anger and arrogance.Danti: Mental restraint. The ability to empty the mind of negativity and to live with contentment and inner discipline. This helps to prevent anything building up in your mind to the point where it results in an outward explosion. Danti, mental restraint, is an antidote to lust, anger and greed.Adweshta: To be without envy, hatred, separation and the feeling of division. Adweshta leads to atmabhava, seeing

6yourself in others and feeling for them as you feel for your own family. You begin to see the spark of divinity in all beings. Adweshta is an antidote to anger and envy.Bhava shuddhi: Purity of intention. Bhava shuddhi leads you from a state of tamas to sattwa, cultivating and expressing sattwic qualities. Sadvichara, sadvyavahara, satkarma, right thinking, right behaviour and right action are the outcome of bhava shuddhi. Bhava shuddhi is an antidote to anger, greed, infatuation and envy.Shantata: Serenity. With shantata you are able to maintain a balanced state in all circumstances. No distraction or dissipation will sway you from your inner equipoise and peace. Shantata is an antidote to anger, arrogance and envy.Lifestyle niyamasJapa: Repetition of mantra. Japa disconnects you from the activities of the senses which keep the mind in an externalized and outgoing state, making it impossible to discover inner happiness and contentment. Japa is like a cool breeze on a hot day – it provides relief for some time from the mental involvement with the external world. Japa comes as an antidote to desire and is paired with manahprasad, happiness.Namaskara: Salutations towards another person. Namaskara is an expression of humility for you make the first step towards the another person with goodwill, kind­ness and openness. It is not the physical head but the head of ahamkara, the ego, which bows. Namaskara, saluting another, is an antidote to anger and arrogance. It is joined with kshama, forgiveness.Indriya nigraha: Managing sensorial distractions and dissipations. In indriya nigraha, you cultivate a judicious use of the senses with discrimination and appropriateness. Indriya nigraha is an antidote to lust, anger, greed, and completes danti, mental restraint.Maitri: Friendliness and goodwill towards all. You start with first accepting yourself and then you extend maitri to

7all. It is not the same as friendship. In friendship there is still demand and expectations, while maitri is unconditional. Maitri comes as an antidote to anger and envy and is related with adweshta, freedom from duality.Titiksha: Patience and endurance, titiksha develops stability and contentment. Titiksha is an antidote to anger, greed, infatuation and envy and is paired with bhava shuddhi, purity of intention.Niyamitata: Regularity which is expressed as a regulated lifestyle. Sticking to a regular routine with determination and having regularity in action, niyamitata finds its expression in a peaceful and regulated yogic lifestyle. Niyamitata comes as an antidote to anger, arrogance and envy. It corresponds to shantata, equipoise.Yoga Lifestyle YamasYoga Lifestyle NiyamasManahprasad (happiness)Japa (mantra repetition)Kshama (forgiveness)Namaskara (salutations to another)Danti (mental restraint)Indriya nigraha (sensorial restraint)Adweshta (without division)Maitri (friendliness)Bhava shuddhi (pure intention)Titiksha (ability to harmonize contrary conditions)Shantata (serenity)Niyamitata (regulated lifestyle)The journey towards positivity is made by keeping the uplifting traits of yama and niyama at the forefront of your mind. You will learn how to cultivate these positive qualities in your daily life with the practice of Review of the Day and by keeping a Spiritual Diary.

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ESSENTIAL PRACTICES FOR A YOGA LIFESTYLEMantra sadhana (morning – on waking)When you wake up in the morning, the mind is relaxed, the senses are at peace and there are no mental, emotional or intellectual distractions. Therefore, the first impression the mind should receive in the morning is the positive input of mantra.Immediately upon waking up, before you climb out of bed, sit on your bed. At that moment when you are neither fully awake nor fully asleep, when you are drowsy, when you are in between sleep and wakefulness, the subconscious mind is at its most active.As soon as you wake up in the morning, the first thing you should do is practise the three mantras: Mahamrityunjaya mantra, eleven times; Gayatri mantra, eleven times; and Durga mantra, three times.At that moment make three resolves, three sankalpas. These sankalpas are like seeds that you plant in the ground, then you forget about them and allow the seeds to germinate naturally and spontaneously.

9Make a sankalpa for healing, energy, power, immunity and strength. Then chant the Maha mrityun jaya mantra eleven times.Om tryambakam yajaamahe sugandhim pushtivardhanam.Urvaa rukamiva bandhanaat mrityor muksheeya maamritaat.Make a sankalpa for wisdom, inner clarity, in­tu i tive know ledge, learning, perception and opening the dormant doors of intelli gence. Then chant the Gayatri mantra eleven times.Om bhur bhuvah svaha tatsavitur varenyam. Bhargo devasya dheemahi dhiyo yonah prachodayaat.Make a sankalpa for overcoming distress in life and for experiencing peace and harmony. Then chant the thirty­two names of Durga three times. Om durgaadurgaartishamanee durgaapadvinivaarinee.Durgamachchhedineedurgasaadhinee durganaashinee.Durgatoddhaarineedurganihantreedurgamaapahaa.Durgamajnaanadaadurgadaityalokadavaanalaa.Durgamaadurgamaalokaadurgamaatmasvaroopinee.Durgamaargapradaadurgamavidyaadurgamaashritaa.Durgamajnaanasamsthaanaadurgamadhyaanabhaasinee. urgamohaadurgamagaadurgamaarthasvaroopinee.Durgamaasurasamhantreedurgamaayudhadhaarinee.Durgamaangeedurgamataadurgamyaadurgameshvaree.Durgabheemaadurgabhaamaadurgabhaadurgadaarinee.Those who have tried this method of mantra early in the morning find that they are able to remain optimistic, positive, creative and clear for the rest of the day. The mantras provide strength to the mind and act as a shield that protects you from all the negative influences of the outer world. They keep the mind undisturbed when faced by the worries, stresses and the troubles of daily life.

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Review of the DayEvery night before you go to sleep, analyze your day, from the time you woke up until the present moment. What did you do? How did you interact with people, circumstances and situations? When did you feel angry? When did you feel confused? When did you feel depressed? Just observe each moment of the day; run through each hour of the day. If there has been some problem in any communication, notice it and think, "If I encountered the same situation again, is there a better way to deal with it?" In this way, observe your responses and reactions on a day­ to­ day basis. It only takes five minutes at night. In the course of time, you will find that you are able to control your own reactive responses in a better manner. Analysis of the events of the day must be done after meditation, as you lie on your bed, when you are about to go to sleep, to clear your mind of all the clutter that has accumulated during the day.—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

11In your nightly Review of the Day, you can also choose to incorporate one pair of yama and niyama for one month at a time. Take a few moments to recall any situations in which you were happy if, for example, you have chosen manahprasad as the yama. Identify moments of the day when you were happy. Then connect with the energy and positivity of those moments of happiness, bring it to the present moment and extend it for as long as you are able. Each week extend the feeling of happiness a few minutes more. Then identify moments of unhappiness. Reflect on the situation and on the negative quality in yourself that it highlights. Was there a cause to your unhappiness? Was the root cause anger, envy, pride? Then replace the negative quality with the positive and uplifting quality of happiness, strengthen it and immerse yourself in that experience of happiness. You can do this practice either sitting in a meditation posture with your eyes closed, lying in bed or you can record your observations in your Spiritual Diary.The niyamas are the external actions that you perform to reinforce the positive change. So, for example, japa or mantra repetition can give you a brief experience of the happiness you are cultivating through manahprasad. Similarly, namaskara or greeting everyone with openness and goodwill will support your effort to let go of resentment and nurture kshama, forgiveness.The yamas and niyamas allow you to discover and express the best in you. They are not disciplines or moral codes; they are your true nature and make you a true human being.

12Spiritual DiarySwami Sivananda emphasizes the importance of keeping a spiritual diary. It is a checklist of spiritual progress, not a patient recipient for your emotions. A spiritual diary is a matter­of­fact record, a practical tool for chronicling your behaviour, attitudes and interactions in daily life.For each branch of yoga, a set of questions is proposed which can be answered regularly over a sustained period of time. As you become more established in your sadhana and your lifestyle adjustments, you may want to change some questions and add new, more relevant ones. Turn back the leaves of your spiritual diary. Mark your spiritual progress. Even if there is a setback in certain things, do not despair. Be regular in keeping your spiritual diary. Spiritual progress will be greatly quickened.—Swami Sivananda Saraswati

13Ajapa japaAjapa japa is a pratyahara practice that can be practised for 5 to 10 minutes on a daily basis before you go to sleep at night. Ajapa means spontaneous, while japa means mantra repetition. It is the spontaneous repetition of mantra that comes from within you. The breath is used as the vehicle for awareness coupled with the mantra So Ham, the inherent mantra of the breath. The mantra Om can also be used. Japa becomes a method to disconnect the mind for a little while, whether ten minutes or half an hour, and connect with something different. The connection between your mind and the senses and sense objects is broken. In that break you direct your attention and awareness towards discovering your inner nature and that is where you will find peace. —Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

14Antar mounaThe practice of antar mouna, inner silence, has various stages which induce introspection and awareness of thoughts and the thought process. During the practice of antar mouna you learn to see the workings of the mind and gain some understanding of the inner environment: thoughts, counter­thoughts, emotional reactions. It is a key technique to develop the awareness process. In this way you acquire a means to manage the mental patterns. Antar mouna can be practised for a few moments after your morning practices or at night before you go to sleep, for 10 minutes. However, as the practice trains your awareness, it is one of the permanent sadhanas that can be practised throughout the day by becoming aware of your senses, thoughts, reactions and emotions. The Sanskrit word mouna means 'silence', and antar means 'inner'. Therefore, the English name of this practice is 'inner silence'. It is a great sadhana designed to make the aspirant aware of the inner silence as well as the inner noise which generally prevents one from knowing the silence. Antar mouna can be prac­tised at any time by simply reflecting on the question, 'What am I thinking? What is occurring now in my mental sphere?' When practised many times daily, this witnessing process becomes an automatic occurrence continuing by itself and showing you who you are, what you are doing here and where you are going. —Swami Satyananda Saraswati

15SWAN meditationSWAN meditation is a technique developed by Swami Niranjan­ananda for understanding one's strengths, weak ness es, ambi tions and needs. The practice leads to self­understanding, self­improve ment and self­acceptance. SWAN meditation can be prac tised once a week, on a Sunday for example. Reflect on your exper iences during the week and identify the strengths, weak nesses and needs you saw in yourself. List all of these on one page. Each week you can review your list. A few points can be crossed off, while others might be added. The practice should take about 10 to 15 minutes. SWAN meditation may also be prac tised at the end of each day before bed when you are writing in your Spiritual Diary.SWAN is a fascinating technique because we become aware of the various traits of the human personality. SWAN is an acronym. S stands for strength of mind, W for weakness of mind, A for ambitions in life, and N for needs in life. We all have certain strengths, in some they are more active, and in others they are less active. We all have weaknesses, such as lack of self­confidence, fear, feelings of inferiority, and various emotional and psychic imbalances.—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

16Yoga nidraYoga nidra is a technique that induces deep relaxation on all levels. Yoga nidra is practised lying on the back in the pose of shavasana. During the practice the body remains completely still. The awareness remains alert, following the guided instructions. The complete practice can be performed daily for 30 minutes. If you are short of time, you may practise for 10 to 20 minutes daily. It is generally recommended that you practise yoga nidra as soon as you get home after the day's activities, before dinner and interacting with others at home. However, it can also be practised before sleep to promote a restful sleep or on waking if you have had a restless night. In fact, it can be performed at any time that is convenient for you, but try and make it a fixed time daily. Yoga nidra is a means of contacting the source of self­knowledge and inspiration lying within each person. It is a technique of 'self­induced dreaming' in which the treasure house of our own consciousness can be systematically illumined, explored and then used to enrich our daily life.—Swami Satyananda Saraswati

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Equanimity is yoga. Serenity is yoga. Skill in actions is yoga. Control of the senses and the mind is yoga. Anything by which the best and the highest in life can be attained is also yoga. Yoga is thus all­embracing, all­inclusive and universal in its application leading to all­round development of body, mind and soul.—Swami Sivananda Saraswati

19When you choose a yogic life, you do not adopt a new religion or become puritan overnight or change your external lifestyle. By adopting a yogic way of life, you are able to express your awareness better. You need to have a deeper experience and in order to have that, you must adjust many items related to your life – and that is yogic life.—Swami Satyananda Saraswati

20Yoga is not a practice for grownups to overcome their ills of body and mind but it is a lifestyle to be lived from birth to death. If you want to improve yourself and become creative, happy, satisfied and successful, take everything in life as a form of sadhana.—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

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Karma Phal Tyag – The Making of the EveryonesIt truly was a most beautiful satsang. With great dexterity and a big grin on his face Swamiji juggled to hold five books, all in different bright colours, in his hands. "All of you look here. See what we got – five new books, five new Everyones. Applause please, and not a stingy one." Applause followed most generously, yet few had an idea what it was all about. At Ganga Darshan, books are made all the time, they must number in the hundreds, yet hardly ever is there any announcement or official introduction to the new arrivals. So there must be something special about these five.Swamiji passed the books around and followed each one with great attention, gauging carefully the responses as residents flipped through the pages. "Look this is your list." "Do you remember." "This was my idea." Yes, now it became clear why we were presented for these were our books, we had sat together to compile our understanding of yoga. This was the result: Hatha Yoga for Everyone, Raya Yoga for Everyone, Karma Yoga for Everyone, Bhakti Yoga for Everyone and Jnana Yoga for Everyone – the latest addition to everyone's yoga library."Do you remember how it all began?" Swamiji asked once the books had returned safely on his table. "In a satsang," someone ventured. "Yes, it was in a satsang, when I told you about Swami Sivananda." Swamiji continued taking himself and us down memory lane. "It must have been a bit over a year ago . . .

22Yes, there was another wondrous satsang with Swamiji, when we could feel that something was in the air. Swamiji was inspired, he had a plan and we were going to be part of it. It was a chilly winter morning yet Swamiji's words soon brought warmth to our hearts when he revealed the 'something' that was in the air."Today I want to tell you about Swami Sivananda and how he wanted to help his disciples learn the lessons of the many ancient scriptures. When I read his autobiography I came across these lines. 'Why not try this with my disciples, and see if what worked in Swami Sivananda's times can work today as well'. These were my thoughts." Swamiji picked up the small book which was Swami Sivananda's Autobiographyand began to read to us:I asked some educated students to take copies of my short articles and send them to magazines and newspapers for publication, and devote their time to study, japa and meditation. They all took great pleasure in copying out my articles, as they all contained the essence of the teachings of all sages and saints, and a clear commentary on the difficult portions of the Upanishads and the Gita. My articles contained practical lessons for controlling the turbulent senses and fluctuation of the mind.Instead of studying the ancient sacred scriptures for decades, the students spent a few minutes daily in making copies of my articles and thereby learnt yoga and philosophy easily in a short period. I closely observed their faces to see if they liked the work and then carefully selected matter suited to their taste and temperament and entrusted them with the work. Sometimes I had to do the whole work. I love the students. Unasked, I attended to their needs.What do you think? Can we do it? This is what inspires me to help you learn about yoga without having to read the many scriptures. Shall we try?" "Yes," was the unanimous reply without really understanding what we were going to try, but

23we were all in for it. "So I will tell you my plan," Swamiji continued, "It has three points:Point 1 – I will make five groups for five branches of yoga, and like Swami Sivananda I will consider your 'taste and temperament'.Point 2 – I will give each group a list of topics, and like Swami Sivananda I will make the topics simple, practical and useful for everyone.Point 3 – I will not allow any computer or other digital gadgets to be used, and forget about Google. Like Swami Sivananda's disciples you will use pen and paper.Am I clear?" "Yes," the chorus replied, now keen, eager and actually quite excited. Of course, every single one of us was thinking, guessing, wishing – Which yoga group will I be in?"Before we start there is one more important angle to the project. Do you know how Swami Sivananda made and distributed his articles? As you know now, he had no computers, no photocopy machines, only noisy, heavy typewriters. Any printing was done by typesetting. You know what that is?" Dead silence, we were obviously a generation which had not seen the incredible art of typesetting. "Anyway, it was a one hundred percent manual process, you needed skilled workers, and you could not produce thousand sheets of printed matter with the push of a button or the click of a mouse. No. So what did Swami Sivananda do? He printed one­page articles, or two pages which could be folded in half. Slowly small pamphlets and booklets came off the ashram press. Swami Sivananda's only interest and wish was dissemination of inspiration, guidance – jnana yajna. Let me read to you some lines from his Autobiography:Thousands came to me in person or through corres­pon dence seeking a remedy for solving their problems. I gave suggestions and suitable remedies based on my own experiences. I do not miss a single thought because I record all my thoughts. I attach great value to the experiences of the students also. I minutely observe and

24note down the points for the benefit of other students. I take care to see that these reach immediately all aspirants at distant places through my letters, articles and messages, through all leading journals and periodicals in various languages.Let me work as long as my eyes are good, as long as I have new messages and lessons for seekers after Truth. My love to serve mankind is so great that I will continue the publication work with the help of able stenographers and secretaries even if I lose my eyesight. Let the Divine work grow and bring peace and bliss to the world.I want you to keep Swami Sivananda's intention, attitude and mission in mind. He wrote, published and distributed his wisdom to help others, to give them practical tools so they could themselves remove obstacles, manage imbalances and suffering in their lives. He was not interested in name and fame, not in money, no he was keen to have free distribution of his books. So remember the purpose of Swami Sivananda's writing: to guide and assist others in their search for wellbeing, happiness and peace."We all sat in silence, each one of us connecting to Swami Sivananda, our grandfather guru, our constant source of inspiration and recipient of our love. Swamiji's words brought Swami Sivananda into our midst and the moment was filled with his presence; yet there is always the impatient one, and sure enough the question broke the silence, "Swamiji, are you going to make the groups now, the yoga branch groups?" "Yes, of course. Oh, but not today. Time's up. See you next week. Hari Om Tat Sat."It was a week of suspense: Who would be in which group? What would be the topics? How to manage without computer? The next satsang was rather a matter­of­fact affair. "Hatha yoga," and Swamiji read out a list of names and nominated one person to be the coordinator. "Raja yoga, karma yoga, bhakti yoga, jnana yoga," and residents were allocated to

25their branch of yoga. Some were pleased, others puzzled yet all keen to begin."So there will be three parts. Part 1 general introduction, part 2 sadhana for specific groups of people, and part 3 sadhana for specific conditions. Part 1 and 2 are the same for the five yoga branches; part 3 will differ. Now write down the list of topics. At least two people should work together on one topic. Most of you will be working on more than just one topic. So here are the topics, and remember only one page for each topic. No writing a treatise – one topic one page. Like Swami Sivananda, be short, be clear, be practical and keep the purpose in mind: to inspire people to practise yoga so they can themselves improve the quality of their lives." Swamiji started dictating and we eagerly wrote with pen on paper."Today you can sit together and make your working teams. On Tuesday and Saturday the yoga groups will meet in the afternoon and . . ." Swamiji smiled knowingly, "Oh, and write neatly and hand everything in in two­weeks' time." Stunned silence – only two weeks!So twice a week on the Ganga Darshan lawn, the five groups met to discuss, argue, laugh and create an understanding of their branch of yoga. Sub­teams for specific topics met more frequently. Of course, the plea for extension came from every corner and the deadline had to be stretched as the interest and keen spirit of investigation went into the depth of the matter or elsewhere. The hatha yogis had to be gently reminded that not 'everyone' was as fit and flexible as they were. The raja yogis told an allegorical story of a train to explain the mind and its mysterious ways of functioning. The karma yogis devised a board game to enhance correct performance or as some would quote from the Bhagavad Gita, 'develop action in inaction'. The bhaktas explored the sound of bells and the fragrance of incense, thereby forgetting about the yoga with its system for managing emotions and ego. The jnanis had

26the answer to the famous question of 'Who am I' but had not told how they got there.After a month of intense reflection, teamwork and crea tive expression of all group members, the papers were handed in. A new team was formed, the Everyone Team, which started typing the many pages and notebooks, for the presentations were beautiful, elaborate and well­devised, but they were not short. The next step, therefore, was to sift through the material and cut to fit and match Swami Sivananda's concept of easy­to­read pamphlets containing essence and practical application. So no more board game to acquire the skills and qualities of karma yoga. The train story was replaced by short definitions in point form, and vrishikasana had to give way to the hatha yoga capsule for total wellbeing.The yogas were tackled simultaneously, and slowly the first part, the introduction, the essence and understanding of each yoga took shape: how much to say, how much to omit, where to draw the line? The constant guideline was that this was meant 'for everyone', and Swamiji's instruction had been – one topic, one page.The next step was writing a brief description for the specific groups and their yoga sadhana. Everything was discussed by the Everyone Team: who was young, an adult, an elderly, what are the needs of a business man, a traditional Indian housewife, and what is required by the family. There was the ideal, the perfect world in which yoga would re­dress all the imbalances and create only peace and love in everyone's life – yet this could only be achieved with four or five hours of intense sadhana. So not practical, not for everyone – and the sadhana were adapted to suit the day­to­day lives and not turn lives upside down. The change and adjustments would happen naturally and in a gentle manner which everyone could live with ease. The Divine Life that Swami Sivananda envisioned for everyone was not a revolution, it evolved with the help of yoga slowly, harmoniously according to the needs and aspirations of aspirants.

27The third part was on specific conditions. The EveryoneTeam showed a first draft to Swamiji who reshuffled them among the yogas: stress went from this yoga to that yoga, addictions from here to there, and bhakti yoga was to be different altogether. Were the practices of raja yoga more efficient to help with insomnia or would hatha yoga be better? And for each topic one page only. The Everyone Team went back to work, rewrote, re arran­ged and made their texts 'tight and crisp'. Quotes were introduced, paragraphs became points and lists, and the first two yogas were ready to be given the shape of a book. The Everyone Team was involved, wanted it to be different and Swamiji's wise advice was to 'work something out'. So a whole new format was created with a full page picture and a quote of each of our masters, for it was their wisdom, their inspiration, their teaching that was compiled as an offering for everyone.By now The Everyone Team had incorporated many new team members on a temporary basis. Guests, participants of yoga yatra trainings and residents were requested to give input, feedback and suggestions, and it came in many shapes and forms. Language was refined, structure was revisited and content was enlarged or condensed. Mothers added their concern of bullying and weight issues of their school­going children and designed a sadhana that would help. The 'traditional Indian housewives' had a word or two to say about themselves and patiently explained how much of yoga practice they could possibly do and happily admitted that there was no time constraint on living yoga the whole day. The stressed businessman who spent a week in the ashram wanted his case duly stated and his needs and sadhana were looked at with a new perspective. Over a period of six months, dozens of helpers from around the world added their understanding to a whole book or one section, gave valuable ideas and ensured that each book was a guide to a better quality of life.

28Sometimes we reflect during the serious moments of our life and we begin to find out our relationship with time, space and creation. This, of course, I think animals don't do. Then we try to discover if there is a greater and higher consciousness within us which we have to realize and express. The style of life which we have adopted so far does not seem to be helpful in discovering this deeper and basic consciousness that I am talking about. It comes to every individual as a realization, but that realization alone is not enough. It is in this context that the yogic way of life has to be understood.—Swami Satyananda SaraswatiThe Everyone Team would like to thank all who made this project come alive with their contribution and the spirit of karma phal tyag – to work without attachment to the result. And thank Swamiji for being the source and inspiration to the Yoga for Everyone

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Part 1Introducing SWAN Meditation

311AimsOne of the aims for us as yoga aspirants on the spiritual path is to improve ourselves and become positive and reduce negativities – in thought, word and behaviour. It is important to work on this in a systematic and gradual way, so that we can keep track of our progress. Swami Niranjanananda has developed the SWAN principle which can guide us through the process of self­reflection and change, so that we can experience and express the goodness and positivity within. SWAN is an acronym for Strength, Weakness, Ambition and Need.StrengthsStrengths are qualities and abilities that we can apply positively and constructively in life to help us grow and evolve. They also uplift and inspire the people who are in contact with us. Strengths can be of different types – physical, mental, emotional and social, such as stamina, mental clarity, compassion and insight.WeaknessesWeaknesses are shortcomings and negative qualities that inhibit our growth and development. Weaknesses can also be of different types – physical, mental, emotional, social, such as lethargy, lack of clarity, having a critical attitude, and stubbornness.

32AmbitionsAmbitions are desires and goals that we aspire to achieve for ourselves, our family and profession or career. They are the driving force and motivation for our actions in life.NeedsNeeds are the requirements and conditions necessary for us to lead a happy and productive life. Our needs can be physical, mental, emotional and social.The following points are the main aims of this sadhana:• To cultivate awareness of all aspects of yourself, so that you are able to observe different levels of your personality• To reflect and introspect in an objective manner• To accept yourself as you are. Observation and intro­spection will reveal not only your strengths, positive qualities and traits, but also your limitations. Be open to face both strengths and weaknesses.• To change your thinking patterns, expressions and be­hav iours from negative to positive. To effect any change in your personality, or even in habits, you have to first understand yourself – your mind, emotions, thinking patterns, behaviours, interactions with others, your needs and desires.• To increase harmony within yourself and with the surroundings• To experience peace and integrity in daily life.With the understanding of your SWAN, you can fine­tune your qualities, behaviours and expressions, and make the necessary adjustments, so that you can grow and evolve.

33Daily self­analysis or self­examination is an indispensable requisite. Then alone can you remove your defects and can grow rapidly in spirituality. A gardener watches the young plants very carefully. He removes the weeds daily. He puts a strong fence around them. He waters them at the proper time. Then alone they grow beautifully and yield fruits quickly. Even so, you should find out your defects through daily introspection and self­analysis and then eradicate them through suitable methods. If one method fails, you must adopt a combined method. If prayer fails, you should take recourse to satsang or association with the wise, pranayama, meditation, dietetic regulation, enquiry.—Swami Sivananda Saraswati

34You have started to practise yoga with a degree of sincerity. Your nature is unimportant; all faults are unimportant. Your present personality is the starting point. Yoga and daily life experiences will be the means to refine your being and eventually bring equilibrium. If you make the effort, then you will start to tune in with yourself. But first of all accept your faults as being merely superficial aspects of your being.—Swami Satyananda Saraswati

35If you are able to remain objective, you will discover solutions to many problems that are interpersonal in nature. The problems of incompatibility, expectations, desires and attachments can be managed effectively and efficiently by knowing these four parts of your personality – your strengths, weaknesses, ambitions and needs.—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

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362Practices and TechniquesThe SWAN sadhana is a practice of swadhyaya, self­enquiry, and part of jnana yoga. It involves studying yourself through the process of observation and analysis combined with the intention to discover yourself and improve your personality and expressions in life. The practice can be divided into different stages so that you can work on yourself in a systematic manner.Stage 1 – discover and understandIn the first stage, you begin to discover the four areas of SWAN within your personality and understand them. Sit quietly in a place where you will not be disturbed for 5 to 10 minutes. It can be at home, in a park, sitting in a train or at your office. On a piece of paper make four columns to write down your SWAN. • In the first column, write down the qualities that you consider as your strengths. • In the second column, write down the qualities that are your weaknesses. • In the third column, list the ambitions that you have in life.• Finally, in the fourth column, write down your needs – short­term and long­term needs.For example, the quality of patience can be a strength in one situation, in another, the lack of patience may be a weakness.

37For a certain situation or person, you may aspire to have more patience, and to manage many situations patience is a need.Introspect and apply viveka, discrimination, to see your actual qualities, shortcomings, ambitions and needs. Try not to hide anything negative or pretend it is not there. Real change happens when you are totally honest with yourself. When embarking on the SWAN you need two important strengths: self­awareness and truthfulness.Understanding strengths and weaknessWhen thinking about your strengths, the purpose is to discover the best qualities, talents, strong points and traits that are present in you. Some of these can be in a potential state, waiting to be revealed. If you find that your weaknesses outnumber your strengths, do not worry. Make the effort to discover more of your strengths – things that you do well. This helps maintain your motivation and positivity and do not focus on your shortcomings. Weaknesses on the other hand are the qualities that hold you back and limit you. If you can only find strengths and no weaknesses, reflect on the six enemies – desire, anger, greed, infatuation, pride and jealousy, and try to see them in yourself.A quality can be a strength in one situation and a weak­ness in another depending on the context, the situations and environment.Understanding ambitions and needsWhen thinking about your ambitions and needs, do not confuse the two. Needs are the basic requirements in your life, while ambitions are the desires that drive you to do something in life. As a simple tool, ask yourself three times:• Do I really want this?• Do I really need this?Only if you can reply three times with 'yes', go ahead with it.Your ambitions or goals set the context in which your strengths and weaknesses come into play. Let us take the

38example of patience further: If your ambition is to be a good parent of a young child, patience is required as a strength. At work when you are required to take decisions, patience can be a weakness and seen as an inability to take decisions.It is important to know whether your ambitions are realistic or not. You may want to be the president of your company – ask yourself which strengths are required to achieve this and do you have them. Also examine which weaknesses would prevent you from fulfilling your ambition.The same applies for your needs. Find out if your needs are essential or unnecessary in the context of your life situation. Keep those which are vital for you to function in the best possible manner. Some people may think that to have the latest model of mobile phone is a need. However, the actual need is of a phone that allows them to work and communicate properly.Over the weekend review your SWAN, add or cross out items till you are clear about your strengths and weaknesses, and understand your ambitions and needs. After practising Stage 1 for two to four weeks and have an idea on the changes you would like to make, begin Stage 2.Stage 2 – explore and examineThe second stage of the SWAN sadhana is done in com bin­ation with Samiksha, the Review of the Day practice – at the end of the day before sleep, take a few minutes to reflect on all the activities of your day. If you have encountered any difficult or negative situations in the day, see how you responded or reacted. Using the Review of the Day explore the strengths that you were able to apply. If it was a weakness, identify it and then choose one of your strengths to correct the situation, and handle it in a more positive manner the next time. Make brief written notes along with your SWAN to track your progress and make adjustments. You get a better picture of whether there are any gaps between your perception and expression. You begin to know what is imagination and what is your real condition. For two

39to four weeks, practise Stage 2 with the Review of the Day along with your SWAN.Stage 3 – select, reflect and self-correctThe third stage helps you understand your personality better. Use your SWAN from Stage 2 as the reference to create your new SWAN:• Select and write down three strengths from Stage 2, which you would like to develop and use more often and in different life situations. For example, you may want to express the patience you have for your colleagues at work in your personal life with family and friends.• Select and write down three weaknesses from Stage 2, which you would like to overcome so they no longer affect your interactions in life. Replace them by practising pratipaksha bhavana, cultivating the opposite positive quality. For example, for anger, try to cultivate and express forgiveness and understanding.• Look at your column of ambitions, pick the most important and realistic one. Is it a positive ambition that you will not pursue at the expense of yourself and others? Does it give you purpose and fulfilment? Identify the steps to achieve the goal – which strengths will help, which of your weaknesses will limit you.• Look at your list of needs. Can they be reduced to simplify your life, or are they genuine ones that you should plan to fulfil in a positive and balanced manner. Your needs are physical, mental, emotional and social needs required by all in society like health, happiness, stability, relationships and direction in life.Based on your SWAN analysis, you can make a detailed plan of action towards living in the best possible manner. See the qualitative improvement that you are able to manifest in your personality and life.

40The practice of introspection and self­analysis demands patience, perseverance, leech­like tenacity, application, iron will, iron determination, subtle intellect, courage, but you will gain a fruit of incalculable value. You should apply your full mind, heart, intellect and soul to spiritual practice. Then only rapid success is possible.—Swami Sivananda Saraswati

41Man can never accept himself and his faults, and in a way this is a good thing for it motivates him to overcome his apparent limitations and elevate himself to the higher realms of understanding and bliss. There should be more self­acceptance combined with the need to improve oneself. There should be aspiration for self­improvement, but not neurosis because of the faults that you see in yourself. Try to accept your present personality, no matter what its obvious weaknesses and faults, but still have the aspiration to overcome them.—Swami Satyananda Saraswati

42SWAN is a Samkhya meditation, not a yogic meditation. In yogic meditations we focus on something tangible like the breath, thoughts, ideas, but here we are working at a subtle level, trying to discover what our weaknesses are and how they restrict us, what our strengths are and how they can help to uplift us. We are working in a different dimension altogether, of modifying and altering the states of consciousness. The SWAN principle is a meditative technique from the Samkhya system to discover how the inner personality interacts with the cosmic personality and how we can maintain a balance.—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

BenefitsThe word SWAN in the SWAN sadhana, though an acronym, is not just a coincidence. In the Indian tradition, it is said that the swan is able to separate milk from water, symbolizing viveka, the ability to discriminate between truth and untruth, right and wrong, the appropriate and inappropriate. A person who is given the title of hamsa, swan, and paramahamsa, supreme swan, is understood to be a living being who has special abilities in the world and a higher state of mind.This sadhana is a complete tool to know yourself and your inner nature. It begins with self­observation, which leads to self­analysis and culminates in self­correction.The awareness of your SWAN, your strengths, weaknesses, ambitions and needs, helps you to maintain balance of mind and positivity in interactions and relationships. It gives you better understanding and management of mind leading to more constructive handling of life situations. This awareness helps to maintain balance and harmony in both the ups and downs of life. The SWAN meditation gives you a perspective on who you are and it gives you the means to make a transformative change. You can root out or moderate the weaknesses blocking progress in your life.Pendulum clocks, when kept together, initially swing randomly, but eventually swing in a synchronized manner on their own. Cultivating your strengths often plays the role of

44a pendulum clock. Similarly, when the most active strength of your personality is developed, it becomes a master quality that guides all the expressions in life and you become more harmonious and in tune with yourself as well as others. You become a more well­adjusted human being. Therefore, SWAN is a very relevant, practical technique in changing life conditions and situations.These are some of the benefits of the SWAN:• It is an easy tool for self­improvement.• It can be applied to any situation of life.• It can be a tool to understand and manage situations better.• It gives clarity of mind and direction in life.• It makes you aware of obstacles which restrict qualitative personal growth and a way to lessen them with the help of pratipaksha bhavana.• It can be done in a written and later in a meditative way, during every single action, thought and expression.• Together with the Review of the Day, it brings a realistic perception of your qualities through which you gain confidence, satisfaction and happiness.The SWAN helps you to accept your own self in a positive and constructive manner with all your strengths, weaknesses, ambitions and needs by presenting a clear view of your personality. It allows you to function with greater clarity and awareness.SWAN guides you to:• Use it in every life situation as a dynamic tool for expressing yourself in the best manner possible.• Organize the mental whirlpools and prioritize your needs and ambitions, so you can organize how to start your journey towards fulfilment.• Be conscious and connect with yourself and others. This leads to better communication and empowers you to have a realistic view of life.

45• Become a friend of your mind. This further develops a focused and concentrated, positive, courageous mind which can adapt, adjust and accommodate.• Cultivate the quality of santosha, contentment. Where there is contentment, there is peace and harmony of head, heart and hands – in the way you think, express positive emotions and act on it.The sadhana develops the faculties of viveka and vairagya, discrimination and non­attachment. It gives you the ability to know what is the appropriate way of thinking and acting by letting go of the ego­attachments. It can be practised by anybody who is willing to make an effort for self­improvement and self­correction.Moving from tamas to sattwaMany people live their lives aimlessly, being swayed by their likes and dislikes, raga and dwesha, running after material comforts, stimulation and satisfaction, and chasing after their dream of name and fame, as their minds are dominated by rajas, dynamism. Other people are constantly under the shadow of fear and insecurity, and their minds are dominated by tamas, inertia. They crave for money, status, relationships, what makes them feel secure, they hold on tightly due to the fear of losing it, only to be trapped in a vicious cycle of insecurity. When people's eyes are coloured by rajas and tamas, they live their lives on autopilot, and lack the connections with positivity and their inner selves.The SWAN sadhana is a tool towards spiritual awareness, meaning you can move from rajas and tamas towards sattwa, towards positivity and luminosity. It is a sadhana which is not restricted to a yoga mat, but can be practised in every waking moment. This sadhana gives faith in yourself and the belief that you have the ability to improve.

46Expressing the best of your SWANYour SWAN operates in four areas: the physical, mental, emotional and social areas of your life. As your SWAN develops in each area and you are able to bring out the best expression of your qualities, your whole personality and interactions in life will be harmonized and you live to the best of your potential. This harmony gives you the energy and freedom to become aware of your spiritual self. You are now able to explore the spiritual dimension and find fulfilment.

47The divine within you is stronger and closer to you than any­thing else.—Swami Sivananda Saraswati

48The aim of man should be to find his natural role in life and stick to it. This is the basis of the spiritual path. Most people are on the path of adharma, in opposition to their natural inclinations. But you can never find and tread the path of dharma if you are in conflict with yourself. Non­acceptance only leads to neurosis and suppression. This is the way to find your dharma. This is the way to harmonize your life and eventually transcend all faults and personality problems.—Swami Satyananda Saraswati

49Ultimately, through the practices of SWAN meditation, a stage of integration is reached wherein the different levels of the personality – instinctive, emotional, mental and psychic – are able to function and coordinate harmoniously. The fragmented aspects of the human personality, which hinder and limit creative potential, are gradually unified and reinforced, creating more positive channels of expression.—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

504ObstaclesBeing a practice of jnana yoga, people think that SWAN sadhana is difficult and complicated, or demands lots of time and greater effort than other branches of yoga. This is not true. Rather, the SWAN sadhana opens the doorway to other branches of yoga. Self­analysis and correction are basic parts of any and every branch of yoga. SWAN provides a tool to discover obstacles, improve yourself, understand, smile, let go and move on.Lack of honesty• Not willing to look at the negative side of your personality or facing your weaknesses is natural. Your weaknesses need not be obstacles if they motivate you to make positive changes.• Be ready to let go of preconceptions that you have had about yourself. Imbalance• Too much focus on your own strengths can become an obstacle leading to recklessness, arrogance, vanity and lack of empathy.• Too much focus on your own weaknesses diminishes motivation and reduces self­confidence. • Too much focus on your ambitions disconnects you from your family and the people you live and work with.

51• Too much focus on your apparent needs makes you greedy and dependent on the whims of your mind.Non-acceptance• Having rigid rules and expectations for yourself keeps you stuck and there is no room for change. Instead make realistic plans and be happy with small changes at a gradual pace. Irregularity• To maintain regularity, decide if you are going to practise SWAN daily, weekly or once a month and then stay with it.• To achieve change takes time, if the expected result or goal is not achieved, try to find the cause – do not give up and drop the practice.• Remember the importance of regular practice and persistent effort. Have faith that you can change and improve.

52You should destroy not only big waves of pride, hypocrisy, passion, anger, that manifest on the surface of the conscious mind but also their subtle impressions which lurk in the corners of the subconscious mind. Then only are you perfectly safe.—Swami Sivananda Saraswati

53Accept your nature as it is now, whatever its obvious faults. Try not to continually feel that you are somehow inferior to others or that you are riddled with shortcomings and defects. It is only in this way that the grosser aspects and neuroses of the mind will drop away.—Swami Satyananda Saraswati

54Identify the strengths, weaknesses, ambitions and needs. Try to increase the positive strength by ignoring the negative weakness. If you begin to look at what is negative and bad, that will dominate the entire mind. You will not be able to do justice to what is good because you will be feeling depressed, insecure and guilty. Instead of always identifying with the negative and limiting, begin to identify with their opposites and you will gain positivity and strength.—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

555Conditions and PrecautionsIn order to progress in the SWAN sadhana, the following precautions should be taken:• There is no need to compare yourself with other people. It is your own process of self­improvement, not a com pe­ti tion.• Be aware of how you spend your time – eating, exercising, your digital diet, the things you read online, including news, browsing of websites, watching videos via YouTube, reading and posting on social media, and watching movies. Read or consume what is uplifting and inspiring. Avoid filling your mind with negative thoughts and ideas.• Do not take shortcuts. The review through paper and pen is an important part of the process. Do not skip the writing process – it helps crystalize the thoughts and ideas in your mind. If words are difficult then use drawings. It also gives a tangible record of our progress.• Associate with people who allow you to express your strength in a constructive manner, help you overcome your weaknesses; who help you reflect on your ambitions and achieve the appropriate ones; and who help re­evaluate your needs.

56These subtle impressions lurk like thieves and attack you when you are napping, when you are not vigilant, when your dispassion wanes, when you slacken a bit your daily spiritual practice, and when you are provoked. If these defects do not manifest even under extreme provocation on several occasions, even when you are not practising daily introspection and self­analysis, you can rest assured that the subtle impressions also are obliterated. Now you are safe.—Swami Sivananda Saraswati

57Accept your nature, whether it is 'bad' or 'good'. Don't feel guilt. Accept your character for what it is: a product of cir­umstances.—Swami Satyananda Saraswati

58My ambition attaches me to something, to somebody, to some identity, idea and motivation. My weaknesses make me wear a mask where I begin to believe that I am not that weak person. We have been conditioned to cover ourselves with a hard shell. By being ourselves and expressing ourselves, we know who we really are.—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

596Indicators of ProgressWhen you embark on the journey of the SWAN and peel back the layers of what makes who you are, the indications of progress will be experienced and lived. You will see that your SWAN is constantly changing, depending on your situations and circumstances in life.• You begin to identify more with your strengths. Even when overpowering negative events occur in daily life, it does not affect you as much, rather you can rise above and feel a sense of non­attachment and non­identification with the situation, creating a sense of inner freedom.• You will naturally find that your ambitions become clear. You connect more to a positive direction in life. You are able to discriminate between a genuine need and a desire, and come to a healthy balance. This gives a feeling of inner contentment and happiness.• You do not seek external validation from others, but are able to rely on yourself as you have a clearer understanding of your SWAN. This gives a greater sense of empowerment and self­confidence.• You are able to accept the ups and downs in daily life, seeing everything as a transitory experience, which is an opportunity for growth and transformation.

60• Your acceptance of yourself and others grows. Youbecome aware that everyone has within them a unique SWAN with qualities similar to yours.• Your compassion can reach out to others as you see yourself in them.• You may feel a desire to 'step out of the box' of conditioned thinking and commit to something more meaningful.• You see yourself as an instrument in this world, performing your part in the play of life. You feel a sense of purpose.AtmabhavaAs you progress with the SWAN sadhana, awareness of the needs of others develops and you feel like extending a helping hand. You may join a local community project like communal gardening, charitable events, serve the homeless, or volunteer at an animal shelter. This helps to connect with others and cultivate atmabhava, feeling another's pain as your own, another's joy as your own, expanding your heart. As you become more open­hearted, things naturally become simpler.

61Duty is that which you must do, ambition is that which is not necessary but you still pursue it. Ambition is born when you compare yourself with others. When you notice that your neighbour is very rich, you also aspire to become rich like him. The difference between duty and ambition lies in that those who are faithful to their duty can love others. An ambitious person cannot love anyone with a true heart. Anyone who is ambitious is selfish. This is my experience. —Swami Sivananda Saraswati

62Every person has some desires. These are natural, they are part of man's innate nature. Without desire there would be no motivating force in life, children would not be produced and so forth. So accept your desires; they are perfectly natural. Don't listen to narrow­minded moralistic codes. Whether you express your desires or not is, however, your business. When you have strong desires, let the thoughts come. Feel them. Be aware of them. In time they can be transcended.—Swami Satyananda Saraswati

63Knowing your strengths and weaknesses, ambitions and needs is an important aspect of knowing yourself. Don't try to discover the concept of 'atman' and 'paramatman' that you have read about in the scriptures, instead try to understand what makes you tick first. The primary class of yoga is discovering the self, the person who is alive and active in this manifest world.—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

647Advice on Lifestyle AdjustmentsIn order to progress in the SWAN sadhana, certain lifestyle adjustments can be incorporated into daily life to make the journey of getting to know yourself easier and support you on the journey to making changes. Below are mentioned a few points to help support your sadhana:• By developing regularity, you gain a greater awareness of the body, the mind, your own actions, and a deeper understanding of your SWAN.• Be regular with your timings for work, meals, sleep, family and leisure.• Practise mitahara, moderation in diet.• The practice of restraint or sanyam is a useful technique to create awareness and to manage not being a slave to the device. Check the urge to constantly look at your device.• You can practise digital fasting by putting aside and switching off all devices like computers, mobiles, tablets for a period of time – like getting the family together for a meal, and enjoying each other's company. Once a week practise digital fasting, switching off all devices for the day.

65Do not be dejected. You have got immeasurable strength and power within. There is a glorious future awaiting you. Face all difficulties with a smile. Pain is the real eye­opener and real guide. God is putting you to this severe test to make you more strong and more powerful. Understand this secret well. Never be despondent. Keep yourself in a positive state. Overcome negative thoughts by entertaining positive, divine thoughts. Be bold. Be cheerful always. Ever laugh, jump, whistle and smile.—Swami Sivananda Saraswati

66If elephants spent their time wishing they were goldfish, or peacocks spent their time wishing they were cows, then they would live totally useless and disharmonized lives. But animals live in accordance with the way that they have been designed. They have a unique role or dharma to perform in the kaleidoscope of life and they do it. Because of this, they live harmoniously. Man should also live a harmonized, tuned­in life.—Swami Satyananda Saraswati

67We have to live with this mind and use it to improve the quality of our life. Our discussion is not how to manage our thoughts, emotions, desires or expectations, but rather how to manage the strengths, weaknesses, ambitions and needs which influence the nature of our personality, and govern the expressions and manifestations of the mind. If one of these four patterns is strong, then our behaviour, thought patterns, emotions, will and expectations will be influenced. This is where yoga comes in with a very clear­cut system of meditation – the SWAN meditation.—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

688Yamas and NiyamasEach branch of yoga has its own set of yamas and niyamas according to the aim and purpose of that yoga. People think of them as ethical and moral teachings, yet they are the key to allowing you to experience the completeness of yoga and the beauty of life. They take you in the most positive direction that you can aspire for. When the mind is purified they arise effortlessly. The potential of the yamas and niyamas helps you to reconnect with the inherent goodness and integrity that resides within.Yamas and niyamas of a yogic lifestyleTwelve yamas and niyamas that help you to live a yogic lifestyle have been presented in pairs in the introduction of this book.Start with the lifestyle yamas and niyamas. In the begin­ning, practise the yama and niyama, the first pair (happiness and remembrance) for one month. You can continue for longer if you feel you need to deepen your understanding and derive more benefit; there are no hard and fast rules, but then try the next pair for one month. Continue like this until you have experienced the six pairs. It is then good to start the cycle again, develop your understanding with practice. The aim is to integrate positive qualities into your daily life to bring goodness, balance, harmony and joy in life.

69Once you have established the practice and are able to appreciate the benefits of maintaining awareness of the lifestyle yama and niyama throughout the day, you may wish to begin focusing on those of jnana yoga. Jnana yoga yamas and niyamas have been presented in pairs in the chart but can be practised individually.The yamas and niyamas of jnana yogaThe yamas and niyamas of jnana yoga help you in the journey of self­understanding to develop qualities that apply wisdom in your life. They fine­tune your nature and connect to your innate goodnessYamasNiyamasSama, peaceful state of mindDama, sensorial controlUparati, state of contentmentTitiksha, patience and enduranceViveka, discriminationVairagya, detachmentShraddha, faith in yourselfSamadhana, fixing your mind The four yamas of jnana yoga1. Sama is the peaceful state of mind attained by repeatedly detaching yourself from the chaos of the senses and remembering your inner self.2. Uparati is having the ability to hold a continuous state of contentment, no matter what life gives you, the success or failure, maintaining balance and equanimity throughout all the experiences that come and go. 3. Viveka is discrimination; it is the ability to observe situations in life and discriminate between the appropriate and inappropriate, thus making the right choices in thoughts, words and actions. In the context of your SWAN it is not confusing a strength as a weakness, or a need for an ambition.

704. Shraddha means to have faith, whether in yourself, a goal, the Guru or your higher self. In the context of SWAN, it is believing that you can transform the negatives and create a positive change. Look through the eye of shraddha and see how every moment is an opportunity for growth, even through life's most challenging moments. The four niyamas of jnana yoga1. Dama is maintaining sensorial control, by guiding your senses back to stillness when they are about to run wild, you can hold on and bring them back to the peaceful state of mind or sama.2. Titiksha is the quality of patience and endurance. It is being able to hold a peaceful state of mind while enduring hardships and challenges in life. It is an essential quality for SWAN sadhana as change can be a slow process.3. Vairagya is non­attachment to objects, places and relationships. It is also being non­attached to your personality, identity and ego. You can then use the discrimination of viveka to let go of what is no longer right for you. It helps you step out of your comfort zone to let growth and change take place. Viveka and vairagyaare like the two wings of a bird.4. Samadhana means to fix the mind on a contemplative idea and not lose your focus or aim. It helps you reflect and develop an intuitive understanding.For the first six months, practise the lifestyle yamas and niyamas, one pair for one month. Then begin practising the yamas and niyamas of jnana yoga. Start with the first pair for one month. Then for the next month practise the next pair. Discover the way you carry all these yamas and niyamas within yourself. Become aware of these qualities and bring them to the surface so they can become a living experience.

71Extra toolsThe tool of the drashta bhava, the witness, gives you the ability to remain unaffected, neutral, and free of identification with external situations or interactions. Also it keeps you steady and reveals your SWAN.You can use the Review of the Day to assess your own progress daily. The Spiritual Diary is another tool to keep track of your practice, observations, level of awareness, obstacles and progress. It is good to have a written record which you can refer to at any time to refresh your memory and learning.The day you follow your yama and niyama fully, there is deep satisfaction, a deep feeling of spontaneous happiness, inner peace and emotional stability. Make the yamas and niyamas of yogic lifestyle and of jnana yoga constant companions to enhance your experience and expression in life.

72Do not think of your defects or evil qualities much. It is enough if you introspect and find out your defects. Do not try to attack the evil qualities. Then they will show their long faces. Do not worry yourself often: "I have got so many defects and weaknesses." Cultivate sattwic virtues. Through meditation and by the development of positive qualities, through the pratipaksha bhavana method all the negative qualities will die of themselves. This is the right method.—Swami Sivananda Saraswati

73You have in you the capacities to dive deep within. Put off your superimposed mental cloaks of desires, prejudices, complexes, self­consciousness and brooding with the help of sincere and impartial self­analysis.—Swami Satyananda Saraswati

74The practice of SWAN unfolds a new vision of yourself and of your life, an experience of internal unity and self­acceptance, which is not affected by external changes and influences. Coming to terms with yourself, learning to accept yourself and beginning to flow with the present environment without struggle, is the beginning of spirituality. Spirituality is nothing but the emergence of positivity, creativity, connectivity, optimism and clarity of direction.—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

759Spiritual DiaryThe Spiritual Diary is a tool which helps us track progress, achievements and setbacks of our SWAN sadhana, so that we can re­evaluate our plans of self­improvement and self­correction. It ultimately guides us to be constantly aware of the effort we are making towards our goal.The following questions can be answered in your Spiritual Diary every night before going to sleep. Answer each question with a few words. Once a week, when you have more time, review your weekly SWAN and see the changes that you have made or have not. Based on this, set your goal for the coming week.You can use any of the following questions most relevant to you or create your own. Begin with a few questions that do not take too much time. These questions are suggestions that you can add or modify to suit your own SWAN which will change as you keep practising.• To what extent did I express myself and act in a positive manner during the day? Rate your positivity on a scale of 1 to 10; 10 being positive throughout the day.• How many times during the day did I remember and practise the yamas and niyamas that I am practising?• How did the yamas and niyamas influence my thoughts and behaviour?

76Strength• What was my predominant strength expressed today?• Did I try to expand it and extend it to different situations?• Was I successful? Rate on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being completely successful.Weakness• What was my predominant weakness expressed during the day? • Did I try to overcome it with my strength or with the practice of pratipaksha bhavana?• Was I successful? Rate on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being completely successful.Ambition• How was my thinking and behaviour influenced by my ambition? • Did my ambition guide me to act and behave in a positive and constructive manner?Needs• How was my thinking and behaviour influenced by my needs? • Did my needs guide me to act and behave in a selfish or in a caring manner?

77Keep a daily spiritual diary and practise self­analysis or self­examination at night. Note down how many good actions you have done; what mistakes you have committed during the course of the day. In the morning resolve, "I will not yield to anger today. I will speak truth today."—Swami Sivananda Saraswati

78Self­awareness, self­observation is the end of the way.—Swami Satyananda Saraswati

79SWAN meditation, hamsa dhyana, aims at developing aware­ness of your state of being by taking you through a process of observation and awareness of the deeper ahamkara or ego aspects of life. The true nature of ego is living with absolute awareness of actions and reactions. It is the realization of the positive aspects of ego that is the purpose and aim of SWAN meditation.—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

8010General GuidelinesWe all draw our understanding of who we are based on the way we interact with the external world. We often look at our inner world more carefully when we face situations that make us re­evaluate how we are living our lives. The SWAN sadhana gives us the method to understand ourselves.We look at the four areas:1. Strengths:when we look to discover our strengths we look at the abilities, qualities, values and resources we have at our disposal. It is also possible that we possess strengths that have we have not had the opportunity to discover. This is where SWAN helps to explore and identify. Strengths can be divided into four main areas:i) Physical ii) Mental iii) Emotionaliv) Social2. Weaknesses:are limitations that are part of our personality, they could be the cause that holds us back from changing or achieving our potential and goals. Weaknesses are also divided into four main areas:i) Physical ii) Mental iii) Emotionaliv) Social

813. Ambitions are the desires that drive us to achieve something in our lives. There are ambitions that are positive and they guide us towards goals that we have set for ourselves. There are also hidden desires that are not necessary or beneficial. Therefore when we look at our ambitions it is important to evaluate if the ambitions are leading us towards a positive direction in life.4. Needs are the essentials that we require in life, this includes food, clothing, shelter as well as mental needs like awareness and understanding and emotional needs like love and caring.Review your SWAN every month to assess of how it expressed in your life. With the intention to change, this journey of discovery and self­correction requires sincere commitment and effort. It is not a short­term practice. Every few months take a break if you feel the need, and then continue again with new understanding and inspiration.

82This common place 'I' that everyone is glibly talking about and relishing acutely every moment of one's life, from the babbling baby to the fabulous old man must be clearly analyzed.—Swami Sivananda Saraswati

83Swadhyaya means trying to perceive your own self in different perspectives. When you look at your nose or teeth in the mirror, it is called adhyaya of your own face; that is, detailed study. Likewise, swadhyaya means the detailed study of your own self, which includes study of the entire structure of your personality, which includes the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects.—Swami Satyananda Saraswati

84By analyzing and observing your qualities and limitations, strengths and weaknesses, you are bringing your inner nature into the conscious field. You are learning how to bring about a balance in your outer experiences and interactions and your inner nature and personality. So analyze your strengths and weaknesses, and make an effort to cultivate the strengths which transform the weaknesses. If there is hatred, make an effort to cultivate love, the opposite trait. If there is selfishness, try to become selfless. If there is animosity, try to cultivate friendship and focus on that. Remember that instead of removing things from the heavier side of the scales, you can bring about a balance by making the lighter side heavier. If you focus only on removing and lightening the negative side, you will be ignoring the positive side. If you identify with the positive side, then there is self­acceptance, not self­denial, and this leads to creativity as you make an effort to transform a good quality into a better one.—Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Part 2Sadhana Capsules

For further reading Recommended publications are:• Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha• Water the Roots series• Yoga in Daily Life• Yoga DharmaWebsite and online recordingswww.satyamyogaprasad.net• Recording of three­mantra sadhana• Recordings of practices such as yoga nidra• Recordings of kirtan and bhajans

8711School ChildrenChildren are open and soak up all they come into contact with. Their early impressions shape who they are and who they grow into. Helping children to believe in themselves and feel loved and supported in all they do is essential.Everyone comes with inborn samskaras, impressions,positive and negative. Children need to know they are not judged or compared, giving them space to grow into their full potential and unique individuality.Children should be free to express themselves without suppression, otherwise this can lead to mental and emotional difficulties. They should be encouraged to correct themselves, from a place of acceptance and love, not guilt or fear. Learning to correct their mistakes is a life skill that contributes to making them well­adjusted and well­rounded adults. The SWAN sadhana is a wonderful practice that can set them on a journey of a lifetime, guiding them to understand themselves and helping them to achieve their dreams and goals.Needs of children• Balance between physical changes, self­image and thoughts • Balance between mental, emotional and physical experiences• Balance between study, social activities and interactions

88• Discipline and restraint in expression and behaviour with guidance from family, school and society• Good memory skills to learn and retain information• Concentration • To gain self­awareness and a positive self­image, along with uplifting and positive attitudes and samskaras• Inner strength and self­confidence• Encouragement and inspiration to discover their potential.SWAN SadhanaAt first, Stage1 of the SWAN sadhana can be done together with parents, teachers and guardians to help children get an understanding about their strengths, weaknesses and needs. Later the child can to do the practice alone. The more creative the SWAN sadhana the better for the child; to use imagination and creativity helps them relate to the practice. Help the child select positive strengths like joy or kindness, consideration or a positive affirmation to focus on upon waking.As parents you can also do a SWAN for your relationship with your children; check with yourself that you are connecting with the best in them without imposing your expectations or ideas on the child.StrengthsWhen a child is guided to practise SWAN it needs to be adapted to the age and ability of the child. They can start with identifying three to five strengths with the help of a parent or guardian. When they are familiar with the practice, they will be able to practise by themselves. Children naturally have many strengths, and should be guided to recognize and nurture them.• Help them recognize their strengths in doing their daily duties like studying, being punctual, helping in the house, spending time with a grandparent. • Give them opportunities to do seva in the community during the weekends like looking after family or pets,

89working at an animal rescue centre or helping at a shelter for homeless people. This will help them develop strengths like compassion and understanding and selflessness at an early age.• Simple acts of gratitude and appreciation like giving thanks before eating food, thanks to the sun for its warmth and to the trees for providing clean air to breathe will teach them empathy and civic awareness.• Parents and elders are role models for children; in the practice of SWAN the child can be asked to think about the people they admire and look up to. This will allow them to identify and aspire to develop these positive qualities and virtues.WeaknessesChildren should be taught to correct themselves without guilt or fear. When looking at their weaknesses together, identify a negative situation or aspect with love, support and compassion to overcome it. For example, if there is a quarrel with a friend, they can be taught the practice of pratipaksha bhavana, helping them see the opposite positive strength in the other person. We suggest that they can start with identifying three weaknesses. The parent or guardian can help them understand how to recognize situations and how to work through their weaknesses positively. AmbitionsAmbitions can be simple and short term; the child can learn to achieve small goals and then be helped to set larger goals. For example, if the children need to write better or learn to sing, play an instrument, this can be a goal. Achieving the goal will give the child a sense of accomplishment and prepare him or her to take on the next level of goals.NeedsLooking at needs especially in today's context is important. makes children aware of basic needs and they are able to

90discard what is unhealthy and unnecessary. Children can learn to discriminate between real needs and needs suggested by peers, advertisement and media. They can ask themselves the questions:• Do I really need it? (new phone, games, new clothes)?• Do I really want it? It will help them become aware of their genuine needs, desires and those imposed by others.SWAN SADHANAMorning, before breakfast• Chant the Gayatri mantra on waking in bed, to improve learning and right understanding, aloud 11 times. • Asana and pranayama• SWAN (for 5 minutes):Pick a strength the child wants to cultivate.Identify a weakness the child needs to overcome in a particular situation or with particular people.Repeat positive affirmations that include their strengths like:• I am strong and courageous.• I am happy, healthy and strong.• I believe in myself.During the day • SWAN (for few minutes):Once or twice a day, remember your strengths and weak­nesses from the morning and see how you are doing.Evening, before bed• Practise Om chanting.• Review of the Day: Recall events aloud from the moment you got up, the places you went, the people you met and things you saw, any particular ups and downs, until the present moment.

91• SWAN (for 5 to 10 minutes):Parents, guardians or older siblings can help identify one strength and weakness which happened during the day. They may also help suggest and imagine a positive outcome to an unpleasant or negative experience.Complementary practicesA selection of the following practices can be done along with your daily SWAN sadhana for you to experience the full benefits. They also help you live a yogic lifestyle which is based on an integrated practice of different yogas and the yamas and niyamas.Yamas and niyamasYamas and niyamas are expressions, behaviours and con­di tionings to fill the mind with positivity and inspiration. Practise the yama manahprasad, happiness, and the niyama japa.Hatha yoga When children are found to be in a dull state, it could have been caused by less energy supplied to the brain. It can easily be tackled by the simple practice of asana and pranayama.• Asana:TadasanaTiryak tadasanaKati chakrasanaSimhagarjanasana Surya namaskara Shashankasana• Pranayama:Nadi shodhana: Begin with the ratio 1:1.Bhramari: Practise 11 times.

92Raja yogaChildren become good human beings not based on their education but on the qualities of their mind. Raja yoga develops and steadies the mind.• Practise yoga nidra or yoga nap when you come home from school.Bhakti yoga• Yantra drawing and colouring• Chanting of selected kirtans and bhajans• Offer your seva and help others with little acts of kindness and goodwill.Other lifestyle adjustmentsOn weekends:• Do a more detailed drawing of SWAN, use colour and creativity. You can review the week and select one strength and one weakness that was predominant. Think and imagine how you can do better next week.• Chanting of Mahamrityunjaya mantra 108 times with family and friends with a sankalpa for health and wellbeing for all will bring everyone together and strengthen the family bond.• Kirtan with family and friends – sing and play along and express and cultivate positive feelings.• Spend time in nature, walking, hiking, bird watching.• Engage in a hobby of arts, crafts and games instead.

9312TeenagersThe transition to adulthood is a period of great change. At one level there are hormonal changes in the physical body that affect your emotional and mental balance. In addition, you may have parental or academic expectations. Today peer pressure has intensified due to media, internet and social media. As a teenager you look for approval and belonging in terms of body image, clothes and accessories, media icons, sensorial stimulation. It is important for you to treat these years also as a period of personality and value development.The SWAN sadhana can help you develop the drashta, witness, aspect within yourself and give a greater under­standing of your personality which helps to better manage emotions. It also helps you find direction in life, especially with making decisions like whether to go to college and study or find paid work, developing your relationship with others and finding a place in society.You will begin to understand things better and do what is right for you. This along with other complementary yoga practices will help you find your purpose in life.Needs of a teenager• To have a balanced lifestyle with regular hours for waking and sleeping, eating, studying, meeting friends, hobbies, movies, games and social media

94• To be able to concentrate without any strain and deal with academics or work• To choose positive associations and withstand negative influences like peer pressure, bullying and the grip of social media• To channel and use physical and mental energy positively through yoga, playing sports, music, being in nature• To seek support and guidance in life• To connect to positive role models, ideas, attitudes and a yogic lifestyle• To have mental clarity and awareness• To manage emotions better• To have faith and belief in oneself.SWAN SADHANAPractise SWAN sadhana on a weekend with adequate time, as outlined in Chapter 2, Practices and Techniques, follow all the four stages sequentially.Morning, before breakfast• Three­mantra sadhana on waking in bed• SWAN (for 5 to 10 minutes after your asana and pranayama practice):Spend a few moments bringing to mind: i) A strength you would like to apply and use in more areas of your life ii) A weakness you would like to reduceiii) An ambition you want to achieve iv) A need you want to lessen or give up.During the day• When you are free take a few moments to relax in shavasana or on a chair if necessary.

95• SWAN (for 3 to 5 minutes):Bring to mind the particular strength and weakness that you are working with at the moment, see it in relation to the events and situations of the day. Evening, before bed• Review of the Day• SWAN (for 5 to 10 minutes):Focus on situations and events where your strengths or weaknesses were predominant. Think of areas where you can use the same strength.Where a weakness was strong, visualize the same situation with a strength and see the positive outcome four yourself and others.Complementary practicesA selection of the following practices can be done along with your daily SWAN sadhana for you to experience the full benefits. They also help you live a yogic lifestyle which is based on an integrated practice of different yogas and the yamas and niyamas.Yamas and niyamasYamas and niyamas are expressions, behaviours and con­di tionings to fill the mind with positivity and inspiration. After practising the lifestyle yamas and niyamas, consider starting the jnana yoga yama, shraddha, confidence and trust in yourself, and the niyama samadhana, fixing your mind, being focused.Hatha yoga• Shatkarmas:Neti once or twice a weekTTK solution once a month• Asana:A selection of practices from Pawanmuktasana Parts 1, 2 and 3

96TadasanaTiryak tadasanaKati chakrasanaSurya namaskara ShashankasanaSimhagarjanasanaAkarna dhanurasanaEka pada pranamasana and eka padasana• Pranayama:Nadi shodhana: Begin with the ratio 1:1 and then gradually move to the ratio 1:2, always to a comfortable count.Bhramari: Practise 11 times.Raja yogaRaja yoga allows you to disconnect from the influences of the senses and their experiences so that your mind can be free.• Yoga nidra or yoga napKarma yoga• Perform all actions with full concentration and focus.• Always do your best.Bhakti yogaBhakti yoga works with your emotions and is the yoga of inner transformation. It improves the quality of your life, behaviour and thinking patterns to increase the harmony, productivity and creativity in your life.• Kirtan and bhajan alone or with family and friends will help release tension and connect you to joy and a calm state of mind.• Nurture creativity through music, dance, arts and crafts, yantra drawings, writing stories and poetry as positive channels to express yourself and connect to your SWAN.• Seva, sharing your skills, knowledge and experience will help you move from your head into your heart. This attitude can be applied whether you are doing general

97tasks at home or volunteering at community events, like tree planting, helping out at old person's homes, soup kitchens for the homeless or animal shelters.Other lifestyle adjustmentsOn weekends:• Detailed Review of the Day and Spiritual Diary. Pay attention to any recurring situations that happened during the week, and how you can respond better in future.• Chant the Mahamrityunjaya mantra 108 times on Saturday evenings with family and friends or by yourself, with a sankalpa for peace and wellbeing for all. You can include particular people, places or situations that need healing.• Enjoying time in nature allows you to step back and forget about worries and distractions. It increases creativity and concentration and the state of your overall happiness

9813AdultsAdults lead active and busy lives, taking on multiple responsibilities. They juggle the demands of family, friends and professional life, as well as engaging with their community and society. Often they do not have much personal time. However, to experience fullness and content­ment in life, it is necessary to find a way to support inner needs and maintain physical, emotional and psycho logical wellbeing.The practice of SWAN sadhana can help improve one's performance in all the different domains, maintain positivity, and achieve balance, contentment and happiness.Needs of adults• Physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health and wellbeing• Improving the quality of life by reducing stress and tension and by increasing inner strength and resilience• To develop positivity and the ability to stand back and observe life situations with a detached and calm mind• Harmonious interaction with family members, neighbours, friends, colleagues and the community at large• Time for sadhana and a sense of inner connection• Emotional stability, balance and harmony.

99Begin your SWAN sadhana with a frequency of once a month, fortnight or week. As you get to understand how to work with it you could make it a regular daily practice of continuous self­development. First begin by working on your own SWAN as outlined in Chapter 2, Practices and Techniques, follow all the stages sequentially. Once you have worked with your own SWAN, you can then extend it into other areas.Apply the SWAN to the following areas in your life:• For yourself• For your family life or a specific relationship• For your work situation• For an ambition you want to achieve• For your lifestyle• For your yoga sadhana.When working with the SWAN for specific areas of life the following questions may help you:• In this specific area of your life, which aspect of your SWAN needs to be worked upon? • Which of your personal strengths can you use to improve the situation? You can list three to five strengths. Look at the most appropriate one that can be used when the need arises. • Are there any weaknesses in this situation that limit you? What or who holds you back? Look at the most amenable or friendly way to resolve it.• How can you attain more balance in this area? What are the specific steps you can take to work towards a resolution?• Look at your personal SWAN and the specific SWAN – how can you harmonize your SWAN and a specific area to create balance, harmony and cohesiveness?

100SWAN SADHANAMorning, before breakfast• Three­mantra sadhana on waking in bed• SWAN (for 5 to 10 minutes after your asana and pranayama practice):Spend a few moments bringing to mind your SWAN of yes terday or any part of the SWAN you would like to adjust today: i) A strength you would like to apply and use in more areas of your life ii) A weakness you would like to reduceiii) An ambition you want to achieve iv) A need you want to lessen or give up• Fix your aims of the day and put them in order as per your priorityDuring the day• When you are free take a few moments to relax in shavasana or on a chair if necessary. Practise deep abdo­min al breathing.• SWAN (for 3 to 5 minutes):Bring to mind the particular strength and weakness that you are working with at the moment, see it in relation to the events and situations of the day. Evening, before bed• Review of the Day and SWAN • SWAN (for 5 to 10 minutes):Recall your morning's reflection on SWAN and your priorities.Review the chosen strength and weakness in relation to the events of the day. Watch the triggers and ups and downs. Observing your thoughts, words and actions and develop the drashta attitude.

101Be aware of your ambition and need and check to see if you have worked towards it in the day.Set a goal for the next day.Complementary practicesA selection of the following practices can be done along with your daily SWAN sadhana for you to experience the full benefits. They also help you live a yogic lifestyle which is based on an integrated practice of different yogas and the yamas and niyamas.Yamas and niyamasYamas and niyamas are expressions, behaviours and con di­tionings to fill the mind with positivity and inspiration. After practising the lifestyle yamas and niyamas, consider starting the jnana yoga yama, uparati, state of contentment, and the niyama titiksha, patience and endurance.Hatha yoga• Shatkarmas:Neti three times a weekTTK solution fortnightly or once a month• Asana:Pawanmuktasana Parts 1, 2, 3 – practise 15 times (5 times with awareness on the body, 5 times with awareness on the breath and prana, and 5 times visualize yourself in the perfect posture)TadasanaTiryak tadasanaKati chakrasanaSurya namaskara or marjari asanaEka pada pranamasana, bakasana, eka padasana.• Pranayama:Abdominal and full yogic breathingNadi shodhana: Begin with the ratio 1:1 and then gradually move to the ratio 1:2, always to a comfortable count.

102Bhramari: Practise 11 times.Ujjayi: Practise at any time for a few moments during the day.Sheetali or sheetkari: Practise in hot weather.Raja yogaRaja yoga allows you to disconnect from the influences of the senses and their experiences so that your mind can be free.• Yoga nidra or yoga napBhakti yogaBhakti yoga works with your emotions and is the yoga of inner transformation. It improves the quality of your life, behaviour and thinking patterns to increase harmony, productivity and creativity in life.• Kirtan and bhajan alone or with family and friends will help release tension and connect you to joy and a calm state of mind.• Reading or listening to satsang and motivational stories inspires you to tap into your hidden potential.• Offer your seva, your support and help. Sharing your skills, knowledge and experience will help you move from your head into your heart. This attitude can be applied whether you are doing general tasks at home or volunteering at community events, like tree planting, helping out at old person's homes, soup kitchens for the homeless or animal shelters.Karma yoga• Perform all actions with full awareness and do your best without being motivated by expectations and results.Other lifestyle adjustmentsOn weekends:• Detailed Review of the Day and Spiritual Diary. Pay atten­tion to any recurring situations that happened during the week, and how you can respond better in future.

103• Mahamrityunjaya mantra chanted 108 times with family and friends with the sankalpa for wellbeing and peace for all, or any particular person who needs it.• Take time to stroll through the park or walk in nature, it helps in many ways to improve your mood, reduce negative emotions and contributes to your overall wellbeing

10414Relationships and FamilyRelationships and family are the foundation of a happy and healthy society. They are the source of stability as well as care and comfort. They provide a sense of belonging and raise the future generation. Maintaining harmony in relationships and family can be challenging, as each member has different perceptions, ways of expressing and ideas of living together. There can be miscommunication or misunderstanding which can cause conflict, reaction, suppression or unintentional non­cooperation.The SWAN sadhana can be used to promote under­standing and respect for each other. It encourages honest communication and creates balance, unity and affection. It helps create an open ground for clearing misunderstandings, resolving conflicts and finding solutions to problems collectively.With the SWAN sadhana you not only embark on the journey of self­discovery and self­improvement but you are able to develop understanding for those you love. Everyone has a SWAN and it is changing as much as yours. The same qualities are in all, maybe in various degrees and expressed in different situations. Allow the SWAN sadhana to open your heart to the needs of others and be ready to help them to overcome their weaknesses and limitations. Use the SWAN to reinforce your connection and nurture your relationships and the family with your own strengths.

105Needs of relationships and family• Patience and an open mind when listening to each other's experiences or issues, but also allowing an honest expression of views without blame.• Sanyam is self­restraint and control over responses, especially in conflict. The concept sanyam can also be applied to lifestyle as a daily routine which can be agreed upon jointly. It provides structure and right living to every member of the family and every member becomes a responsible contributor.• Swadhyaya, self­analysis and self­correction, for each individual member, as per the role they have and responsibilities they hold within the relationship and family.• Satsang means creating positive associations and being in the company of goodness. As a unit, this means activities that keep the members together and inspire them – spend time with good and like­minded friends, work together on community projects, read uplifting books, and inspiring stories, create a positive atmosphere.Practical SWAN sadhanaThe SWAN can be applied to a relationship or the family unit along with the individual ones. This helps every member to fulfil their duties and contributions towards maintaining harmony, balance and affection. The SWAN sadhana can be used: • For yourself and your partner• To prepare for the arrival of a baby• For parent and child• For the entire family life or a specific relationship• For a specific situation that is challenging at the moment• For developing a yogic lifestyle• For welcoming a new family member into the fold• For retirement• For relocating

106• For achieving a goal whether for the individual or the unit.SWAN SADHANAOnce a week• At a convenient time for everyone, sit together for a little while to share your experiences. Identify whether you are addressing a specific matter or if it is a general SWAN for overall wellbeing of the unit. If there are specific matters that need to be looked at or resolved the SWAN can be done together. i) What are the strengths of the relationship or family in the current situation? How can the strengths of the family be used to help the person manage the specific situation? ii) Identify the weaknesses of the individuals and how they impact and weaken the family unit. How can the others help overcome these weaknesses?iii) Identify the ambitions of the individuals. How can the others support the person achieve it? iv) What are the needs of the family unit? How can each family member contribute to meeting this need? • One person may want to write or note down the SWAN and share it with everyone.• The SWAN is not confined to problematic areas; it is a yogic tool for achieving collective goals and supporting each other.Some general recommendations• Every member should think about how they could contribute in their roles for a best possible outcome.• Each time you meet, think about and share family goals and problems to find the root cause and appropriate solutions.• Discuss the family SWAN, appreciate and value each individual's contribution.

107• Avoid hurtful expressions, body language or blame. Present your side in the most neutral manner possible.• Express or accept apology if needed. Each member should express love and care towards each other.Other lifestyle adjustmentsOther activities you can do as a family on a regular basis:• Chant the Mahamrityunjaya mantra as japa or do havan every Saturday evening with the whole family and friends with a sankalpa for the wellbeing of all.• Follow a yogic lifestyle: like waking early in the mornings and sleeping early at night, starting the day with the three­mantra sadhana, timings for meals and getting together as a family for a meal.• Fix a day or a time when the whole family practises digital fasting.• Visit places of interest together, go for a family holiday, go for walks in nature, in a park, along the beach, go to a forest or into the mountains, spend some time in an ashram, spend your holidays together.• Do seva together, choose a project or cause you want to support as a family and do it together.• Sing kirtan and bhajans together or practise music, invite friends and neighbours.

10815The ElderlyElderly people have fulfilled their duty in society and are free from many obligations. Identification with name, fame and status no longer have meaning as the professional years have been completed and children have become independent adults. Having gone through stress, activity and dynamism they have gained a lot of knowledge and experience.The SWAN sadhana is very helpful to fulfil the needs of the elderly. It helps to connect with positivity and hope, empowers you by reaffirming your strengths. It helps you to identify your weaknesses and ways to overcome them. You are able to organize your priorities with a realistic view of yourself and others and have appropriate goals suitable to your stage of life.Needs of the elderly• Live a simple life with happiness and satisfaction and most importantly a sense of humour.• Maintain your stamina and physical health to be active and self­reliant.• Stay mentally and emotionally balanced in the face of changes.• Cultivate positivity, see the good in everyone and everything.• Disconnect from previous responsibilities.

109• Allow time for introspection.• Create harmony in your social interactions and environ­ment.• Maintaining awareness of your inner self as the body ages, accept the cycle of life and death, as you gain a spiritual understanding of the phases of life, and you review your life.• A lifestyle connected with natural cycles – rising with the sun, living and eating simply and keeping oneself engaged. It is very important to express spiritual insights by maintaining a yogic lifestyle where sadhana for one's own upliftment is balanced by seva, selfless service of others.SWAN SADHANAMorning, before breakfast• Three­mantra sadhana on waking in bed• SWAN (for 5 to 10 minutes after your asana and pranayama practice):Spend a few moments bringing to mind your SWAN of yesterday or any part of the SWAN you would like to adjust today: i) A strength you would like to apply and use in more areas of your life ii) A weakness you would like to reduceiii) An ambition you want to achieve iv) A need you want to lessen or give up.During the day• SWAN (for 3 to 5 minutes):When you are free take a few moments to relax in shavasana or on a chair if necessary. Practise deep abdominal breathing.Bring to mind the particular strength and weakness that you are working with at the moment, see it in relation to the events and situations of the day.

110Choose a situation in the day and identify the qualities of your SWAN that you were able express.Evening, before bed• SWAN (for 5 to 10 minutes):Recall your morning's reflection on SWAN and your priorities and the chosen strength in relation to the events of the day. Observe your thoughts, words and actions and develop the drashta, witnessing attitude. Review the chosen strength and weakness in relation to the events of the day. Watch the triggers and ups and downs. Be aware of your ambition and need and check to see of you have worked towards it in the day. Set a goal for the next day.Complementary practicesA selection of the following practices can be done along with your daily SWAN sadhana for you to experience the full benefits. They also help you live a yogic lifestyle which is based on an integrated practice of different yogas and the yamas and niyamas.Yamas and niyamasYamas and niyamas are expressions, behaviours and con di­tionings to fill the mind with positivity and inspiration. After practising the lifestyle yamas and niyamas, consider starting the jnana yoga yama, viveka, discrimination, and the niyama vairagya, non­attachment.Hatha yoga• Shatkarmas:Neti once or twice a weekTTK solution when necessary• Asanas:Pawanmuktasana Parts 1, 2, 3 – a selection which is suitable and which you can practise with easeTadasana

111Tiryak tadasanaKati chakrasanaMakarasana• Pranayama:Nadi shodhana: Begin with the ratio 1:1 and then gradually move to the ratio 1:2, always to a comfortable count.Bhramari: Practise 11 times.Raja yogaMost difficulties in life are created by the mind; the mind needs to be freed of its bad habits and conditionings. Raja yoga is the method to help you know yourself and to improve the quality of your thinking and behaviour.• Practise yoga nidra or yoga nap.Bhakti yogaBhakti yoga is a process of personal, psychological, intel­lec tual and emotional transformation, moving to a state of balance and harmony.• Kirtan and bhajan alone or with family and friends will help release tension and connect you to joy and a calm state of mind.• Reading or listening to satsang and inspiring stories is always a source of motivation to live a more complete life.• Seva is to offer selfless service to uplift others. One of the benefits of the SWAN sadhana is that you gain more understanding of yourself and others. Sharing your skills, knowledge and experience will help you move from your head into your heart. This attitude can be applied whether you are doing general tasks at home or volunteering at community events, like tree planting, helping out at old person's homes, soup kitchens for the homeless or animal shelters. Community activities connect with positive people interested in seva projects dedicated to the environment or social schemes.

112Other lifestyle adjustmentsOn weekends:• Detailed Review of the Day and Spiritual Diary with pen and paper. Pay attention to any recurring situations that happened during the week, and how you can respond better in future.• Chanting the Mahamrityunjaya mantra 108 times on Saturday with family and friends or alone with the sankalpa for wellbeing and peace for all.• Become a mentor and friend to teenagers. Guide and accompany them in their process of finding employment. Help them use the SWAN meditation.• Become an inspiring example of a happy and positive life journey with the SWAN sadhana.

Part 3Sadhana for Specific Conditions

11516WorkaholicsToday most adults work in order to earn a living. Working is associated with social status and achievement, and it forms a big part of our personality. A workaholic is someone who needs to compulsively work and they cannot control their behaviour. The motivation for this could be that work is the main focus of their life and they are good at that. There could also be a variety of reasons for this focus like finding a sense of purpose and importance, an intense need to achieve, living on the edge or fear of failure.Workaholics may feel that they are only trying to meet the demands of their work but in reality they have lost the work­life balance by neglecting other things such as their family responsibilities, social connections, personal growth, health and wellbeing. The SWAN sadhana can help workaholics understand themselves better and get a perspective on how their work impacts their other areas of life. The practice of the SWAN sadhana is beneficial to help them find out their genuine needs, so they can make a choice to reprioritize their lives. The SWAN can be used in different contexts – related to work, to family, social life and health. Once this is clearly seen, they can step back, make corrections and live a more balanced life.

116Signs and symptoms• You work long hours beyond regular work hours, in clu­ding weekends and holidays.• You bring work home, and are at work while at home by answering phone calls and emails.• You think about work or work­related issues all the time.• You feel that your work identity is the only identity that is important.• You lack other outlets, such as hobbies and recreational activities.• You lack connections or interactions with family or friends or you are not interested in cultivating relationships.Follow the program outlined in Chapter 2, Practices and Techniques. Work with Stage 1 for fifteen days. When you are ready you can move on to Stage 2 and complete the entire SWAN in the stages recommended.Strength• What were your strengths at work?• What were your strengths at home?• If there is an imbalance, how can you correct the imbalance – adjust your schedule, commit to family activities?Weakness• What were your weaknesses at work?• What were your weaknesses at home and in personal relationships?• How did those situations make you feel? What steps can you take to bring the balance back into your life?Ambition• Are all your ambitions only achievable through your work?• Are your ambitions at work realistic and achievable?• How can you balance your work ambitions with your family and other ambitions?

117NeedsMake a list of your needs: • Professional needs• Needs of family and friends• Personal needs such as health, happiness, living in harmony with yourself and others• Social needs.Try to balance the list of needs for yourself and family versus work and identify the areas you can improve.SWAN SADHANAMorning, before breakfast• Three­mantra sadhana on waking in bed• After your asana and pranayama practice• SWAN (for 5 to 10 minutes):Spend a few moments reflecting on your SWAN chart, bring to mind one area you would like to address today. Be realistic and practical.During the day• When you are free take a few moments to relax in shavasana or on a chair if necessary. Practise deep abdominal breathing.• SWAN:Bring to mind the particular strength and weakness that you are working with at the moment, see it in relation to the events and situations of the day. Choose a situation of the day at work or with family and friends: i) Identify the strengths and weaknesses you have expressed today. ii) Identify if you have been able to create a balance between the different areas of your life.

118With each situation that you find difficult to deal with ask yourself each question thrice:Do I really want this?Do I really need this?Only if the answer is repeatedly yes, act on it.Evening, before bed• Review of the Day• SWAN (for 5 to 10 minutes):Recall your morning's reflection on SWAN and your priorities and the chosen strength in relation to the events of the day. In regard to the balance you want to create: i) Which strengths have helped you? ii) Which weaknesses were obstacles and limited you?iii) Which ambitions were in the way of a balanced day? iv) Which needs were addressed or ignored?Set your priorities for the next day.Complementary practicesA selection of the following practices can be done along with your daily SWAN sadhana for you to experience the full benefits. They also help you live a yogic lifestyle which is based on an integrated practice of different yogas and the yamas and niyamas.Yamas and niyamasYamas and niyamas are expressions, behaviours and con di­tionings to fill the mind with positivity and inspiration. After practising the lifestyle yamas and niyamas, consider starting the jnana yoga yama, sama, cultivating a peaceful state of mind, and the niyama dama, sensorial control. The following yama and niyama may also be helpful viveka, discrimination, and vairagya, detachment.

119Hatha yoga• Shatkarmas:Neti once or twice a weekTTK solution once a fortnight • Asana:Pawanmuktasana Parts 1, 2, 3 – practise 10 times (5 times with awareness on the body, 5 times with awareness on the breath)TadasanaTiryak tadasanaKati chakrasanaSurya namaskaraEka pada pranamasana, bakasana, eka padasana• Pranayama:Full yogic breathingNadi shodhana: Begin with the ratio 1:1 and then grad­ually move to the ratio 1:2, always to a comfortable count.Bhramari: Practise 11 times.Raja yoga• Yoga nidra or yoga napBhakti yoga• Kirtan and bhajan with family and friends• Connect with others by offering your selfless service. Seva helps you see the SWANs of other people, so that you can reflect and re­evaluate your own SWAN, and further develop yourself. In seva there is no element of com pe­ti tion or pressure to achieve anything. You can relax and give your best supporting and making others happy. Other lifestyle adjustments• Avoid making drastic changes as they are difficult to maintain. • Make small changes, step­by­step, have faith and be persistent.

120• Reduce your long work hours by leaving 15 minutes early for one month then add another 15 minutes the next month.• Work only in your workplace. Do not bring your work home. Avoid checking work emails or messages, or making work phone calls when not at work.• Plan for weekends or non­work day activities, so you do not feel idle and go back to the default activity – your work. Include friends and family, or time out to be on your own.• Rekindle your interest in hobbies or sports, or explore new ones that motivate you and where there is nothing to attain other than joy and fulfilment.At mealtimes:• Do not eat at your work space.• Take time for your meals and be aware of what you are eating and drinking.• Turn off all digital devices. When travelling:• Close your eyes and practise breath awareness. • If you commute between home and workplace, relax, listen to music, read a book, call a friend or a member of the family. The train is not your office.• Talk to a fellow passenger.On weekends:• Detailed Review of the Day and Spiritual Diary. Pay attention to any recurring situations that happened during the week, and how you can respond better in future.• Chant the Mahamrityunjaya mantra 108 times with family and friends with the sankalpa for wellbeing and peace for all, or any particular person.• Connect with nature, spend more time in nature, parks or the countryside.

17Change in Life SituationsSometimes there are unexpected situations in life. These changes can create mental or emotional imbalance, which can be caused by many circumstances, the death of a loved one, long­term illness, a divorce, losing one's job, stepping into a new job or relocation. It could be your grown up children leaving home. It could also be an internal cause like neglecting your inner needs over the years, and not following your calling in life, not having a sense of belonging or direction in life. Use the SWAN practice to face the changes in life and manage them constructively with optimism and your own inner strengths.The following sadhana program is designed to help you reestablish your faith and belief in yourself and bring you back to a state of balance and harmony within. You are assisted by a new routine which applies yogic lifestyle principles – taking life one step at a time and keeping the SWAN as the basis for rebuilding your life.• Remember the strengths that you have noted in your SWAN and ponder on how to best use them. • Reflect on the new ambitions and needs that this change has brought into your life as new opportunities to grow.• Make time to reconnect with good people you know who support you and are there for you during your hour of need.

122• If your children are affected, assure them of your love and support. Let them know you need time and they need not involve or blame themselves for the situation.• If possible take time out and stay in an ashram for some time, for a change of scene and lifestyle to rejuvenate and reconnect to your positivity and sense of direction.SWAN SADHANAFollow the program outlined in Chapter 2, Practices and Techniques. Work with Stage 1 for a week to fifteen days. At first place more emphasis on your strengths and consciously connect to them throughout the day to help overcome emotional turmoil. Through the SWAN sadhana recall your strengths, and with awareness allow them to come back brighter than before. You may also begin to appreciate new strengths that you have acquired and strengths in other people that you did not recognize before. When you are ready you can move on to Stage 2 and complete the entire SWAN in the stages recommended.Morning, before breakfast• Three­mantra sadhana on waking in bed• After your asana and pranayama practice• SWAN (for 5 to 10 minutes):Spend a few moments bringing to mind your needs for the day: i) Which strengths will help you stay balanced and able to function well in the day, or ii) Which weaknesses are obstacles and which strengths can you use to overcome them whenever the need arises?iii) Which ambition will help you overcome the change? iv) Which of your needs would you want to lessen or give up?Fix your priorities for the day.

123During the day• When you are free take a few moments to relax in shavasana or on a chair if necessary. Practise deep abdominal breathing.• SWAN:Bring to mind the particular strength and weakness that you are working with at the moment, see it in relation to the events and situations of the day. Evening, before bed• Review of the Day• Antar mouna, particularly stage 3.• SWAN (for 5 to 10 minutes):Recall your morning's reflection on SWAN and your priorities and the chosen strength in relation to the events of the day. Review the chosen strength and weakness in relation to the events of the day. Watch the triggers and ups and downs. Observe your thoughts, words and actions and develop the drashta attitude.Be aware of your ambition and need and check that you have worked towards it in the day Set a goal for the next day.• Mantra japa of Om or your Guru mantra for 10 to 15 minutes to unplug from outside and connect with the stillness within.Complementary practicesA selection of the following practices can be done along with your daily SWAN sadhana for you to experience the full benefits. They also help you live a yogic lifestyle which is based on an integrated practice of different yogas and the yamas and niyamas.Yamas and niyamasYamas and niyamas are expressions, behaviours and con di­tion ings to fill the mind with positivity and inspiration. After

124practising the lifestyle yamas and niyamas, consider starting the jnana yoga yama, sama, peaceful state of mind, and the niyama titiksha, patience and endurance.Hatha yoga• Shatkarmas:Neti once or twice a weekTTK solution once a fortnight • Asana: A selection of pawanmuktasana Parts 1, 2, 3TadasanaTiryak tadasanaKati chakrasanaSimhagarjanasana Surya namaskara or marjari asanaEka pada pranamasana and eka padasana• Pranayama:Abdominal and full yogic breathingNadi shodhana: Begin with the ratio 1:1 and then gradually move to the ratio 1:2, always to a comfortable count.Bhramari: Practise 11 times.Ujjayi: Practise at any time for a few moments during the day.Raja yogaToday life is full of stress and tension; if you can practise yoga nidra or antar mouna of raja yoga regularly you will be able to cope better with your life. • Yoga nidra or yoga nap• Antar mounaKarma yoga• Perform all actions with full concentration and focus.• Always do your best.

125Bhakti yogaBhakti yoga is a process of personal, psychological, intel­lec tual and emotional transformation, moving to a state of balance and harmony.• Kirtan and bhajan alone or with family and friends will help release tension and connect you to joy and a calm state of mind.• Offer selfless service to uplift others. Seva helps you see the SWANs of other people, so that you can reflect and re­evaluate your own SWAN, and further develop yourself. In seva there is no element of competition or pressure to achieve anything. You can relax and give your best supporting and making others happy.Sharing your skills, knowledge and experience will help you move from your head into your heart. This attitude can be applied whether you are doing general tasks at home or volunteering at community events, like tree planting, helping out at old person's homes, soup kitchens for the homeless or animal shelters. Seva can give you the understanding and compassion that you have developed or want to develop because of this change in your life situation.Other lifestyle adjustmentsOn weekends:• Detailed Review of the Day and Spiritual Diary. Pay attention to any recurring situations that happened during the week, and how you can respond better in future.• Chanting the Mahamrityunjaya mantra 108 times with family and friends with the sankalpa for wellbeing and peace for all, or any particular person.• Enjoying time in nature allows you to step back and forget about worries and distractions. It increases creativity and concentration and the state of your overall happiness.

12618Lack of Self-ConfidenceThere are many reasons and factors that can contribute to a lack of confidence. Often we live with little awareness and depend on others' opinions, decisions and expectations. Lack of self­confidence is not necessarily related to a lack of ability. You may have all the skills required and be successful, and yet still doubt yourself, not valuing yourself and your contribution.Self­esteem is the capacity to like and love yourself, know­ing your abilities and having trust in your potential to be in tune with all areas of your life. SWAN gives you insights into your personality and empowers you to use your positive qualities.Reasons for lack of self-confidence• You feel a lack of support and encouragement by your family, at school or at work.• You feel embarrassed or uncomfortable, or put down.• You have a fear of failure or being defeated.• You have a lack of interest in any work or goal because of past experiences.• You have a feeling of loneliness.• You have a negative self­image.• You have trouble accepting positive feedback. • You find it difficult to follow discipline in daily life, instead you follow a desire­oriented routine.

127SWAN SADHANA Morning, before breakfast• Three­mantra sadhana on waking in bed• After your asana and pranayama practice• SWAN (for 5 to 10 minutes):Kaya sthairyam with awareness of the body and breathBring to mind your SWAN of yesterday or any weakness you want to overcome today. Identify: i) the steps you need to take ii) the strength that will help youiii) the obstacles you may encounter and how to deal with them iv) the resolve you want to take for the day• If there is any situation today that you anticipate with fear and insecurity, prepare yourself with two strengths that will help you.During the day• Take five to ten minutes to relax in shavasana or on a chair if necessary.• Practise SWAN for 3 to 5 minutes.• Practise deep abdominal breathing. As you breathe in, imagine that you are filling yourself with the identified strengths, as you breathe out expel the weaknesses you are working on. • Check yourself and the resolve you had made in the morning.Evening, before bed• Review of the Day • SWAN (for 5 to 10 minutes):Note your SWAN of the day and write in your Spiritual Diary.Analyze the situation you anticipated in the morning and the resolve taken.

128 i) What was the level of confidence as you handled the situation? ii) Which strengths helped you?iii) Which weakness did you overcome?End the practice with a feeling of confidence and gratitude.Complementary practicesA selection of the following practices can be done along with your daily SWAN sadhana for you to experience the full benefits. They also help you live a yogic lifestyle which is based on an integrated practice of different yogas and the yamas and niyamas.Yamas and niyamasYamas and niyamas are expressions, behaviours and conditionings to fill the mind with positivity and inspiration. After practising the lifestyle yamas and niyamas, consider starting the jnana yoga yama, shraddha, faith in yourself, and the niyama titiksha, patience and endurance.Hatha yogaHatha yoga practices create a balance between the mental energy and the vital energy in your body, for you to find harmony between body and mind. They are in tune with each other and you experience overall wellbeing and peace.• Shatkarmas:Neti once or twice a weekTTK solution once in a fortnight or month• Asana:Pawanmuktasana Parts 1, 2, 3 – practise each asana 10 times (five times with awareness on the body, five times with awareness on the breath)TadasanaTiryak tadasanaKati chakrasanaSimhagarjanasana

129Surya namaskara or marjari asanaAkarna dhanurasana• Pranayama:Abdominal and full yogic breathingNadi shodhana: Begin with the ratio 1:1 and then gradually move to the ratio 1:2, always to a comfortable count.Bhramari: Practise 11 times.Raja yogaRaja yoga allows you to disconnect from the influences of the senses and their experiences so that your mind can be free.• Yoga nidra or yoga napKarma yogaRecognize every action as an opportunity to learn and grow, see a teacher in everyone you meet.• Perform all actions with full concentration and focus.• Always do your best.Bhakti yogaBhakti yoga works with your emotions and is the yoga of inner transformation. It improves the quality of your life, behaviour and thinking patterns to increase harmony, productivity and creativity in life.• Kirtan and bhajan alone or with family and friends will help release tension and connect you to joy and a calm state of mind.• Connect with others by offering selfless service to uplift others. Seva helps you see the SWANs of other people, so that you can reflect and re­evaluate your own SWAN, and further develop ourselves. In seva there is no element of competition or pressure to achieve anything. You can relax and give your best supporting and making others happy.

130Other lifestyle adjustmentsOn weekends:• Detailed Review of the Day and Spiritual Diary. Pay attention to any recurring situations that happened during the week, and how you can respond better in future.• Chant the Mahamrityunjaya mantra 108 times on Saturday evenings with family and friends or by yourself, with a sankalpa for peace and wellbeing for all.• Take time to stroll through the park or walk in nature; it helps in many ways to improve your mood, reduce negative emotions and contributes to your overall wellbeing

131Appendix SWANWe are presenting a few qualities which may help you start on your SWAN journey. As you go along you will certainly discover more and more qualities which reflect your SWAN and who you are.StrengthsPhysical refers to abilities and functions of your body• Physical health• Strength• Stamina• Flexibility• Coordination• Energetic• Optimal functioning of body• Good sleep• Proper digestion and eliminationMental refers to your thoughts and behaviour• Calmness• Confidence• Creativity• Mental clarity and focus• Mental balance• Fairness• Honesty

132• Determination• Motivation• Humour• OrganizedEmotional refers to how feelings are expressed• Caring• Compassion• Consideration• Faith• Forgiveness• Gratitude• Happiness• Positivity• KindnessSocial refers to your interactions and communication• Sharing• Cooperating• Empathy• Communication• Active listening• Observing• Resolving conflicts• Adaptable• Open­mindedness WeaknessPhysical refers to abilities and functions of your body• Lack of health• Weakness in the body• Weak eyesight• SensitivitiesMental refers to your thoughts and behaviour• Dullness• Restlessness

133• Inhibition• Lack of awareness• Confusion• Poor memory• Dissipation• DistractionEmotional refers to how feelings are expressed• Aggression• Apathy • Pettiness• Meanness• Brooding• Fear and worry• Dependence• Excitability• Emotional imbalance• InsecuritySocial refers to your interactions and communication• Self­involved and self­centred• Uncaring and unkind• Arrogant• Impatient• Dishonesty• Aloofness• Intolerance and non­acceptanceAmbitions and needsAll the qualities of strengths can be part of your ambitions and needs. For example, patience can be a quality you want and express more frequently in your life, and it can also be a need in certain situations. Both ambitions and needs can be physical, mental, emotional and social. They are interconnected and interdependent. Ambitions are what you want to achieve in life whereas needs are essential to your

134wellbeing and life. The following list shows areas where your ambitions and needs find fulfilment and expression.• Being healthy• Good nutrition• Having a home• Love and security• Education• Career• Relationships• Family• Friends• Meeting new people or visiting new places• Learning a sport• Learning art or dance• Learning a new language• Taking up a hobby• Learning yoga • Following a spiritual path