Monday, October 8, 2012

Transform Your Life in 39 Days

Transform your life in 39 days through tarka or reflective journaling.

To get started on this practice read through the "About" section to learn about the benefits of tarka and then work through each lesson. There is a lesson for each day so start with day 1 and work through all of the lessons in order. While this practice is meant to take place over 39 consecutive days, you may work through this practice at your own pace. The benefits of the practice will be the same no matter how long it takes you.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions at This practice can be started at any time in your life.

Hope you enjoy the practice!

Swami K

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day 1 - Yoga Sutra 1 - Reflections on Practice

Shanti and welcome

Perhaps one of the most important parts of a strong yoga practice is the practice of tarka or reflective journaling. Reflection upon your inner and outer life is essential if you wish to progress along the path. These reflections on your life can help you see your mind more clearly. Your relationship to yourself, the world, and others is revealed in each journal entry. We can sometimes be blinded by our own beliefs or trapped in a cycle of thinking that is unhealthy for us. Tarka can help us to illumine the way before us, discard old beliefs, and change our attitudes and ways of thinking.

This blog is designed to help you reflect upon your life and examine your mind so that you may travel the path of enlightenment with greater ease and harmony.

Today's Tarka Practice
For today’s reflection, I have chosen Satchidananda’s translation of Patanjali’s first teaching in Book 1 of the Yoga Sutras.

“Now the exposition of Yoga is being made”

Here, Satchidananda’s emphasis is on the “practice”. He tells us that yoga is not something you just think about but something you do. He is not talking about only the physical practice (asan) but the entire practice of yoga (all 8 limbs – yamas, niyamas, asanas, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi).

He believes that one will not reach the goal by philosophy and words only; instead, if we wish to reach the goal of yoga, we must practice.

For today’s tarka in your journal consider the way you practice each of the eight limbs of yoga. If you are not practicing all 8 limbs, think about how you could incorporate this practice into your daily life.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day 2 - Yoga Sutra 1 - Reflections on the Present Moment

Today's Tarka Practice
For today’s reflection, I have chosen Kriyananda’s translation of Patanjali’s first teaching in Book 1 of the Yoga Sutras.

“Now, at an auspicious moment, begins the traditional instruction in yoga”

Here, one of the main ideas of Kriyananda’s translation is his focus on “this moment”. He wants us to consider the important concept of auspiciousness. He wants us to ask “why now”? Why has yoga come into our lives right now, at this particular time?

For today’s tarka see if you can reflect on the importance of yoga in your life right now. For a deeper understanding, you may want to think about how long you have been practicing yoga, why you were called to it in the first place, and what it means to you on this particular day.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 3 - The Simple Life

Today's Tarka Practice
In the nineteenth century, Henry David Thoreau said that as our lives become more complex, we hunger for simplicity.

One might argue that today, in the 21st century, our lives are much more complex than they were during Thoreau’s time. In our yoga practice, we should be working towards simplifying our lives.

When our lives are simpler, our minds are quieter. When our minds are quieter, we feel more peaceful and at ease.

For today’s journal entry, reflect on the following questions: Is this true for you? Do you feel your life is very complex and would you like it to be simpler? If so, what could you do today that would bring your life into greater simplicity?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day 4 - Awakenings

Today's Tarka Practice
In order to experience an awakening in your life, you have to let go of your own personal lens - this is your own personal vantage point from which you see the world and the way in which you see yourself, your problems, your beliefs, and your values. An awakening or an "aha" moment takes place when we are able to step back and objectively observe our thoughts, our actions, our attitudes, and our beliefs.

Just for today, pay attention to your thoughts, your actions, your attitudes, your problems and your beliefs. As you go about your day, observe yourself and what is arising in your life. Practice objectively observing or watching yourself. In your journal, write down what you observed and how you reacted to certain things in your day. What do these thoughts and reactions tell you about yourself? Are they helpful or harmful to your own well-being?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 5 - Letting Go

Today's Tarka Practice
Being able to let go of things is an important part of your yoga practice. People hold very tightly to things that have happened in their past and often ask me, "how do I let go"? Letting go of something from our past is a very gradual practice that cannot be done overnight; however, there are things we can do to encourage ourselves to let go. Today, I have a practice that you can use to help you let go:

During your meditation practice, bathe yourself in light. Picture light washing over your entire being like a waterfall. Picture this light cleansing you. Every time you think about that thing which you are trying to let go, picture this light washing over you. It doesn't matter if you are standing in line for groceries or at a party; you can always take a few seconds to release your feelings by using light.

In your journal, reflect on something that you need to let go of and freewrite about it. Freewriting involves writing for 10 minutes about the experience without thinking or organizing your writing. Just write about that experience without stopping yourself for 10 minutes. Next, find a quiet place to meditate and try to let go of that experience using the light cleansing technique discussed above.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day 6 - Wherever you go, there you are

Today's Tarka Practice

Wherever you go, there you are. You are stuck with yourself and so you might as well practice the art of loving yourself. In order to grow along this path, you need to forgive yourself, stop criticizing yourself, and be gentle with yourself. We usually tend to be very hard on ourselves and fairly over critical. We get angry at ourselves easily and then we stew in this anger. These negative thoughts can harm you and your practice. Instead, you need to step outside of this habit and be more kind to yourself.

In your journal, reflect on a time in which you were angry with yourself. It could be for something you did or the way you treated someone else. It could be for something you wanted to accomplish but didn't because you were too afraid to try it. It could be something you regreted not doing in your life.

Remember this time and record it in your journal. Think about why it made you angry. Think about what hot buttons it pressed for you. Think about how this anger hindered rather than helped you. Now, every time you think of this event in your life, replace it with something you like about yourself, something more positive. Be compassionate towards yourself like you are to others in need of compassion.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Day 7 - The Chandogya Upanishad

Today's Tarka Practice
I want you to reflect on this passage from the Chandogya Upanishad...

Brahman is all. From Brahman come appearances, sensations, desires, deeds. But all these are merely name and form. To know Brahman one must experience the identity between him and the Self, or Brahman dwelling within the lotus of the heart. Only by so doing can man escape from sorow and death, and become on with the subtle essence beyond all knowledge.

To get started on your reflection, think of Brahman as meaning "the totality of reality". That is everything in reality both physical and non-physical.

The Atman or Self is one thing in that total reality.

How does this Upanishad help you to understand the relationship between yourself and the total reality? If you are having trouble, think of yourself as one ripple in an entire pond or one wave in an entire ocean. The ripple or the wave is the Self and the pond or Ocean is Brahman.