In Yoga Journal's online course, Finding Connection Through Yoga: A Workshop on Our Universal Oneness, legendary integrative-medicine and meditation expert Dr. Deepak Chopra and his yoga teacher, Sarah Platt-Finger, lead a seven-week yoga and meditation experience that will help you develop a deeper understanding of yourself. Sharing tools, science, and wisdom from Chopra's best-selling new book You Are the Universe and his acclaimed The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, Chopra and Platt-Finger will help you experience greater health, joy, and peace in your life. Sign up!
In our online course, Finding Connection Through Yoga: A Workshop on Our Universal Oneness, Dr. Deepak Chopra and his yoga teacher, Sarah Platt-Finger, share tools, science, and wisdom from Chopra's acclaimed book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga. Of all of the seven laws, Chopra Center Vedic Educator/Master Educator Amanda Ree Ringnalda says The Law of Dharma is her favorite, because it teaches us the practice of ease, which helps our lives flow more effortlessly, on and off the mat.
"Dharma means purpose," Ringnalda says. "The reason The Law of Dharma has always been a very effective and great law in my eyes is everything in life has purpose. Nature is in perfect harmony. On or off the mat, the only time that perfect harmony doesn't exist is when the ego or mind gets overly involved and creates an obstacle for us. We see that on the mat when we are pushing ourselves into a pose, or when we are holding our breath. We see [these obstacles] don't allow us to unfold into what is possible and ultimately best and healthiest for us."
Off the mat, we create similar obstacles for ourselves in our relationships, at work, how we talk to ourselves, or when we are pushing too much or over-scheduling ourselves, Ringnalda explains.
"Ease is the key word—practice ease on the mat, and recognize ease off the mat. That's our guide, our lighthouse that directs us where we ultimately want to go, which is toward our dharma/purpose. We all want that ease of the most purposeful, effective, and fulfilling life. For me personally, practicing ease on the mat rather than forcing gave me a real sensation in my body and my mind of what that felt like, and I hadn’t experienced that a lot in my life. Before, I was like 'go, go, go; do; achieve.' Once I was able to practice ease and see my yoga practice advancing, I also saw that my life got better, because when an opportunity was given to me, I could notice the good and the not quite right. I could feel it in body and that gave me this superpower detection device that changed everything in my life. I've never been so fulfilled in my practice on or off the mat, because of learning to make my life easier."
Practice The Law of Dharma with Hip Openers
The purpose of a hip opener like Pigeon is opening the sacrum area to elongate the spine, bring more vitality to the hip joints, and create more lubrication for the joints, Ringnalda says. When you practice Pigeon or other hip openers, apply the Law of Dharma by noticing any resistance or obstacles that push against you. Notice the difference between flowing deeply with full, easy breaths versus pushing into the pose. Notice any shallowness or choppiness in the breath, and use the breath and your ability to soften and ease into the deepest expression of the pose while it’s still very comfortable for you. You can also meditate on the mantra associated with The Law of Dharma: Om Varunam Namah, or My life is in harmony with cosmic law.