By Nayaswami Dharmadevi
January 1, 2019

Just Don’t It!

Narayan and I are in beautiful Costa Rica as I write this blog. On our first day, we attended a yoga class. The teacher informed us that yoga is much more than the asanas, or postures, so she was going to share some yogic philosophy with us.

She began talking about Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga, or the 8 limbs of yoga. She wanted to give special emphasis to the first limb, Yama. Yama literally means “control” in Sanskrit. She was trying to keep everything in the positive, affirmative state so she wouldn’t use the word control. She was searching long and hard for a positive way to say “what not to do.”

It is true that many times we shut down or rebel when told what not to do. However, I’m realizing that when we have a rebellious attitude, we will react just as strongly to being told what to do! As with everything, it is the consciousness with which something is said that really matters.

So rather than tip-toeing around the subject, I’d like to put a shout out for some good, healthy self-control. It is the New Year, which is a time of setting goals and resolutions for ourselves.

Paramhansa Yogananda said, if you have trouble developing willpower to overcome a bad habit, like overeating, for example, to develop “won’t power.” He gave this example and said when someone offers you a second helping, to get up from the table and say to yourself, “I won’t.” Then, when they call after you, “But what about the apple pie for dessert?”, run away calling back, “I won’t!”

It’s an amusing image, isn’t it?

He only gave overeating as an example of a temptation. That may not be the area you need to exercise won’t power.

Ananda Moi Ma says, “As soon as devotion to God begins to dawn in a person, he must try with full earnestness to discipline and regulate himself in order to develop this fervour in his life.”

Try this:

  1. Think of one area you need to practice “won’t power” because your willpower hasn’t worked for you in the past.
  2. Ask for the Grace of God and the Great Ones to help you in overcoming this bad habit and in replacing it with a good one.
  3. Introspect and pray for guidance and then with Their grace and your won’t power, Just Don’t Do It!

Happy New Year!