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Yoga for Inner and Outer Beauty

Posted Jul 07 2008 7:00pm

by Dada Vedaprajinananda

Sometime back I read an anecdote concerning Bill and Hillary Clinton. It seems that one time, many years ago, Hillary dragged Bill to a yoga class. Bill remarked that he was the only man in the class. In many countries, that is the way it is, with women being the primary enthusiasts at yoga classes. One of the main reasons for this may be that yoga is seen as a way to lose weight and become more beautiful. Let’s take a look at this and see what role yoga has to play in making someone look beautiful.

No doubt yoga can help a person to become healthy, and fit. If someone practices the postures, does meditation, and follows the yogic prescriptions for eating, sleeping, hygiene and exercise it is almost certain that he or she will end up in great shape and look better.

In fact, our concept of beauty is in large part biological and part of the evolutionary process. Clear skin complexion, for example, is an indicator of good health and for our ancient ancestors it made good sense to choose partners who were healthy and could pass on their genes to future generations.

However the beauty of a person is not just based on physical factors alone. Just as internal physical factors, such as digestion and the proper functioning of physical organs, are reflected in the outer “look” of a person, there are internal psychic and spiritual factors that play a big role in how we feel and how others see us.

Although the physical practices of yoga, such as yoga postures (asanas) are the best known part of yoga, at the heart of yoga is a moral code which defines a way of life in which a person can live in harmony with herself and with society. This set of lifestyle instructions is know as Yama and Niyama.

Yama which means “that which controls” has five parts and the main function of these five practices is to help an individual achieve harmony with his or her external environment. One of the most important parts of Yama is a practice known as Satya.

Satya is loosely defined as “truth” but in fact there is no exact English equivalent for this term. In his bookA Guide to Human Conduct,my guru Shrii Shrii Anandamurti defines satya as “action of mind and right use of words in the spirit of welfare.” That is, we should do whatever we can to promote the welfare of others, by keeping good thoughts in mind and by speaking in the spirit of helping others.

Someone who practices satya and always keeps positive thoughts in mind develops will power and straightforwardness. This practice is actually going on in the subconscious mind, and results in an internal effulgence or glaze known as Ojas. This inner effulgence is expressed outwardly as a vigor that definitely contributes to the attractiveness of a person. If you practice satya you will achieve a glow that cannot be duplicated or achieved with any kind of makeup!

When you are twenty years old you are helped out by Mother Nature, as the hormones of your body are helping you to blossom and enter your years of peak physical well-being. However, this help from Nature is not indefinite and also must be supported by a proper way of life.

If you practice the outer aspects of yoga (postures, diet, fasting, hygiene) then you will be able to make the most of what God has given to you in the way of a physical body. If you practice the inner aspect of yoga (meditation and balanced conduct) you will bring forth an inner effulgence and beauty that will remain with you long after you physical body begins to wind-down.

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