Organic Spa Blog

Beauty Is Peace of Mind: Yoga Is the Way

I’m a typical New Yorker. I’m always rushing around, complaining that there are never enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. I’m concerned about the high cost of living, the rising cost of education, health care, crime, work deadlines, losing weight, wrinkles, etcetera, etcetera…

With spring finally here, it’s a wonderful time to implement change and focus on peace of mind. A mini yoga vacation is a great way to get the ball rolling in that direction. My recent trip to The Sivananda Ashram in Woodbourne New York did just that. The ashram provides a peaceful yet structured retreat, focusing on a full immersion into yogic living.

Sivananda is one of the largest and oldest international Yoga organizations. There are nine Sivananda Ashrams around the world, and each ashram’s focus is always the same: to spread and teach a yogic philosophy of peace, health and joy. This philosophy can be applied to maintain a peaceful mind, body, and spirit in one’s daily life.

To achieve this enlightened state, one should incorporate the five points of yoga into daily life. They are:  Proper Exercise (asanas), Proper Breathing (pranayama), Proper Relaxation (savanna), Proper Diet (vegetarian), Positive Thinking (vedanta) and Meditation (dhyana).

My daily life at the Ashram was structured and disciplined so that that the five points of yoga became a manageable routine. The ashram runs 365 days a year, with a daily schedule as follows:

5:30 a.m.       Wake up bell
6 a.m.       Satsang* or Silent Walk (*Satsang is a  30-minute silent meditation, kirtan/chanting, spiritual lecture)
8 a.m.          Hatha Yoga Class
10 a.m.       Organic Vegetarian Brunch
11 a.m.       Karma Yoga (selfless service)
12 p.m.       Optional Activity (coaching class, walk or activity)
2 p.m.       Lecture, Activity or Free Time (see calendar)
4 p.m.       Hatha Yoga Class
6 p.m.       Organic Vegetarian Dinner
8 p.m.       Satsang
10:30 p.m.       Lights Out

There were about 20 other guests from different parts of the world staying at the ashram while I was there. It felt like everyone left their egos and issues back in the material world, in order to become more enlightened and part of a different kind of community, structured to obtain and maintain peace of mind . I meet really wonderful people during my stay that I now call friends.

The beautiful part of maintaining a schedule like this for any time (weekend, week, month) is that the principles become something that you can weave into your current lifestyle. I’m back home now with a different perspective, and a more enlightened point of view. I’m making the connection that true beauty is peace of mind. Lipstick just adds a splash of color!

‘Til next time!

In addition to the daily schedule mentioned in this article, The Sivananda Yoga Ashram in Woodbourne New York offers several courses and workshops year round. For more information, visit Sivananda Yoga Ranch.

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