By Saguna Goss, SVA Board Member
The Olympics. What a wonderful celebration of human ambition and discipline. It’s really a lot like yoga… at least that is my experience. Olympians and yogis are both filled with a deep yearning; they just yearn for different things.
As a teenager I aspired to be an Olympic champion. I played competitively on a curling team and was an athlete in the Canadian Olympic Development Association. What I remember most from those days was my yearning. I dreamed, fantasized and visualized all aspects of being an Olympian. I had notes, pictures and other reminders all over my room about my Olympic goals. I attended talks and workshops from past Olympians to learn from them and to add fuel to my yearning. And I closely monitored and studied the current Olympian champions in curling.
Not much has changed now, except I yearn for my own Self instead of an Olympic medal. I repeat mantra instead of visualizing my sport. I fill my house with yoga books, Guru pictures and murtis (statues). I attend as many yoga classes, retreats or phone calls as possible. And I spend as much time as possible with someone who has realized her own Self — Swami Nirmalananda.
Discipline is another commonality between Olympians and yogis. A quick search online suggests that Olympic athletes train at least six days a week with full-day schedules. In the Svaroopa® Sciences, the daily discipline is emphasized in all aspects from the beginning. In a beginner’s yoga class, the first theme you learn is Daily Practice so that you can practice the poses at home. After the first class in a Learn to Meditate series, your homework is to setup a daily meditation practice. The discipline of a daily practice is key for you to reach your goal, whatever it may be.
At the Rio Olympics, 11,303 athletes competed, but only 974 medals were awarded. For every Olympic athlete who represented his or her country, there were many more who were competing for that spot. For every athlete at the Olympic Trials, there were even more athletes that did not make it. The Olympian Champions are the 1 in 100 in 100 in 100…
And yet, again, the same is true in yoga. There will be the 1 in 100 who experiences the yearning of the Self, 1 in 100 who acts on the yearning, 1 in 100 who has the discipline and 1 in 100 who Realizes their own Self.
As a teenager, I was part of the Canadian Olympic Development Association. It was a place for promising Olympic hopefuls to come together to develop their skill, improve their discipline and fuel their yearning. Lokananda is our Self-Realization Development Center. It is a place for us to come together to develop our awareness of our own Self, improve our discipline for a daily practice and fuel our yearning for Self-Realization.
Please join me in contributing to the final stage of our Capital Campaign to complete the needed renovations for our Self-Realization Development Center, our Bliss Place, Lokananda. Click here to donate.