Why did Dharma Mittra teach yoga?
Dharma Mittra (DM): “Because of the magical effects or results of yoga practice, that is radiant health, mental power and peace of mind, that is a powerful antidot for pain and suffering.
I think because that’s a nice thing to do and I have no other profession but to do that (teaching yoga) and people love it. And when people love it and get healthy and happy, I also participate in that.
I am “doing it” because it’s the highest type of charity to share spiritual knowledge with others.
With some of the skills I possess from the yoga practice, everything is easily done with love. That’s how I am doing it.
What’s yoga to you?
DM: “It’s the settling of the mind into silence. So the best meditation in real life like this is by opening slightly your eyes, watching the activities of the mind, thoughts coming in and going out. Some thoughts change our feelings.”
(Let’s say you think of a person you hate, you’ll feel the abhorrence and that makes you heart beat faster, nausea, and so on. But once you focus on your parents you’ve been missing so much, you suddenly feel peaceful or maybe sad, making your body powerless.)
How is your yoga class like?
DM:”Our yoga classes are extremely simple. They’re set to everyone. The main purpose of the poses is radiant health, mental power and eventually spiritual power. The poses are very simple. The pranayama, the breathing technique, is very simple. We do only the main breathing in the main poses. And also the techniques of relaxation are the best.”
Tell us more about Yama…
DM:”Yama is the first step of yoga. Yama is like the ethical root of all religions. Without the ethical root, there is no kingdom of God. Without Yama, the mind will never settle into silence. They’re extremely compassionate to all beings because compassion is the first step to self-realization, it is the ability to place ourselves. From compassion, all the other things will just cling to it.
As soon as you meet your guru, as soon as you look at his eyes, his conduct, the way he acts and conducts himself. And by inner intuition, the vibration, you’ll immediately say,”That’s it!””
How did you start teachng workshops?
DM:”I sold the manual and the poster (The Master Yoga Chart of 908 Postures, created in 1980-s) for even 10 cents. They sent out a lot of them to many places. After that, some people started wondering if they could meet Dharma Mittra and whoever made the poster. From then on, I started going out for workshops.”
What inspired you to make the poster?
DM:”The inspiration of sun salutation poster is that I wanted many yoga teachers in many yoga centers to have a place where they can have information on the poses, without even looking through books. Just look at the posters on the wall so it can be easily learned.
DM:”I love computer! I wished to have a Mac at that time, 1983, when computer was born.”
Is there any pose you really love most doing?
DM:”My favorite pose up to now is always sirsasana (headstand) or the king of the poses. It demands no flexibility, everyone in a very short time may want it. If you have the tendencies of hatha yoga, do hatha yoga. If you don’t, you don’t have to do asanas to achieve your goals. But you have to meditate. Yoga is not body and mind anymore. Yoga is beyond samandhi or the time.”
Tell us more about compassion and enlightenment…
DM:”The saints and sages and the yogis with their psychic abilities even their script Baghavad Gita mentioned a portion of God is dwelling in the right side of the heart, that is more subtle than an atom. That is our real self, beyond forms and names and everyone is deluded since we came to existence. We are identified with the body, the mind, and the senses. And due to our deeds from the past and our knowledge creates the portion of self that is not truth. When you realize that you’re a formless portion of God, absolute intelligence and bliss and then you realize that men without form was created in his image and immediately you have accept that God has no form, is beyond form and names. That is so simple. That’s the real nature.
Compassion is birth of ahimsa (non-violence). Compassion is the best thing that one may cultivate before enlightenment. But compassion to some people is limited to their own relatives. That is no good. Compassion should go beyond your friends, relatives, etc. compassion should reach your enemies too, everything. When you realize that, you are closer to enlightenment.
What is enlightenment in the first place? Enlightenment is so deep, you’re able to see yourself in everything. What is enlightenment of the mind? It is when you see God everywhere. So God is everywhere. From compassion comes all this.”
So what’s the true purpose of asanas to you?
DM:”It (asanas practice) is meant to bring radiant health, to stimulate the glands, and also it goes beyond the physical body, to the astral body, because every pose is a way to stimulate the psyche center of the body. So by developing radiant health, physical power, and become free from all diseases and then we may easily succeed in meditation. It is not important to put legs behind the head or these fancy poses, the most important pose (sirsasana) requires no flexibility, i.e. headstand. And the mother of all the poses, sarvangasana (shoulder stand), the cobra pose, the spinal twist; these are all the main poses. And one pose from meditation. I myself had my knee injured in the army so I never could do lotus pose for a long time so you may succeed in your meditation without sitting in lotus pose. You may sit in the chair in the egyptian pose (sitting with your spine elongated to its maximum height, and both palms are well rested on the thighs). In this pose, you can meditate for hours comfortably.” (*sources: YogiTimes.com, myyogaonline, ustream.tv interviews with Dharma Mittra)