How did you find spirituality

The spiritual way

The Spiritual Path: Here you can get some information and suggestions about the spiritual path. The word spiritual means alignment with a higher reality. Path means that there is a goal and that one sets off towards that goal. Here you will also learn a lot about the tasks on the spiritual path, how important it is to cultivate perseverance and a lot about obstacles that arise and how to overcome them.

The spiritual way

What is the Spiritual Path? How is the spiritual path going? How do I go the spiritual path? Where does the spiritual path lead? These are some of the questions I have been asked and I would like to briefly address them. My name is Sukadev Bretz from Yoga Vidya.

The spiritual path is the path of a seminar, which is often given. It typically takes place in March and at Yoga Vidya there are some seminars on "The Spiritual Path" in March, April and you will learn most things at this seminar. There is also a full video series and an audio series on the spiritual path. In this sense, if you are more interested in this, go to our Yoga Vidya website and search for “The Spiritual Path Lecture Series” or “The Spiritual Path Video Series”.

Brief description

The spiritual path says that you are consciousness and that you have a divine core. The spiritual path wants to lead you to the fact that you are aware that you are one with this divine core.

You are pure consciousness. Going the spiritual path means learning not to identify with your body, your emotions, your psyche. The spiritual path is oriented towards the fact that you come from the small identifications to the realization of the infinite and the eternal, but the spiritual path also means that you really walk a path. It says that you will not reach this goal overnight, that you should strive and grow so spiritually. The spiritual path is a path from ignorance to knowledge.

How is the spiritual path going?

There are practices to be practiced. The spiritual path of yoga means that you align your life with the so-called 4S, Sadhana, Sattva, Seva, Satsang. Satsang means togetherness with other people. Being part of a spiritual community helps on the spiritual path and practicing regularly with others is Satsang. Sanga, community to strive for sat, truth.

Sadhana means spiritual practice. You walk the spiritual path by practicing spiritual practices every day. Practice meditation every day, in yoga we would also say, practice asanas and pranayama, repeat mantras, recitations, read spiritual books, etc.

Sattva means to lead a pure life, to lead an ethical life. To live a real life, to act out of compassion, etc. And in yoga, sattva also means to forego meat, fish, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, mind-numbing drugs, etc. All that would be the sattva aspect. Seva means unselfish service. You do not walk the spiritual path by reflecting on yourself, but you walk the spiritual path by helping and serving others.

What should be considered on the spiritual path?

The spiritual path has many tasks and many stages. There are so many stages in the journey. There are different things to consider in each phase. The spiritual path also includes that you learn to live your job and family well, to live a partnership. The spiritual path also means that you learn to deal with your emotions and attitudes and learn to go beyond attachments and identifications. The spiritual path is a path from limitation to infinity, from conditionality and constant suffering to pure joy and cosmic love. You can find more information on the spiritual path in the seminar "The Spiritual Path", which takes place regularly in the Yoga Vidya Ashrams, seminar houses. Just like on our website. Just search for “The Spiritual Path” on

Video - The Spiritual Path - Question to Sukadev

Lecture video by the founder of Yoga Vidya, Sukadev Volker Bretz, on the subject of spirituality, on the subject of yoga psychology.

Spiritual Path - a lecture by Sukadev Bretz 2018

  • What is spirituality anyway?
  • What does spiritual life mean?
  • What is the spiritual path about?
  • What is the goal of the spiritual path?
  • What development is there on the spiritual path?
  • What are the dangers of the spiritual path? What are the pitfalls there?
  • How do you recognize which tasks you have on the different levels and stages of the spiritual path?

What is spirituality anyway?

The first question is: what is spirituality anyway? From the Latin one could say: “Spiritus” means “spirit, soul, higher consciousness.” Spirituality means to direct one's life towards a higher reality. Spirituality means to assume that there is a higher reality that can be experienced and I also want to experience it and I hope I can experience it and want to do everything for it. That is a spiritual life and world view.

Spirituality can be defined in different ways. A spiritual master in the 20th century named Graf Dürckheim defined spirituality as follows: "Spirituality is transparency towards the immanently transcendent."

Spirituality - going beyond sensory experiences

Perceive sensory stimuli calmly

What does that mean? Transparency means becoming permeable. Transcendent is that which goes beyond what we see, hear, smell, taste and feel in everyday consciousness, beyond what we experience objectively in everyday life. Immanent means indwelling. Spirituality assumes that behind all phenomena there is a higher reality and this is inherent in everything. No matter what we see, hear, smell, taste or experience, there is a higher reality everywhere. We can also say is a divine, we can call it a numinosis, a cosmic intelligence, god / goddess or cosmic energy. Behind everything is this higher reality.

So spirituality means being transparent for it. On the one hand, transparent means that we see what is immanently transcendent in what is coming from the outside. A spiritual person not only sees a tree when he sees a tree, but sees something divine in the tree. A spiritual person sees in a person who is not only a person, but something divine, what shines through and speaks there. There is also immanent, transcendent in you. A spiritual person feels this divine within himself. A spiritual person also wants this divine to work through him, he wants to become transparent. He asks that this immanent transcendent work through him and also that the immanent transcendent in others work for him. And that he can focus on the divine in relation to him and in himself.

Spirituality connects all religions

Spirituality is what connects all religions. You can say that spirituality and religiosity are two different things that have similarities, but also differences. Religion can be called spirituality, but it can simply be a kind of belief, the hope that if I belong to a certain religion, essentially implement the recommendations of that religion and then after death I will go to paradise and experience salvation. With this type of religion it is not important to really experience / realize God in this life, but ultimately postpone this God experience until after death. Then religion can be a pure belief, a cultural lifestyle and it can be that one hopes but does not experience.

The spiritual person wants to experience God

The spiritual person is more impatient, he does not want to wait until he is dead to experience God, but now, in this life, and he wants to do everything to experience God, the higher reality. There is spirituality without a specific religion. There are spiritual people who would not feel that they belong to a specific religion. You would say: I am spiritual but not religious. There are religious people who are not necessarily spiritual, they have a certain belief, they belong to a religion, they participate in rituals and hope that they will be redeemed after death. Nowadays one would say that at least in Europe most religious people are also spiritual. Those who follow the Christian path today do not want to wait until after death and they do not simply trust in redemption after death, but rather assume or hope to experience God in this life and also feel the presence of the divine. But there are spiritual people who do not belong to one religion, but to different ones. When someone is religious without being spiritual, there can be many problems. If someone is above all spiritual, he recognizes the similarities to all religions and also knows that spirituality is possible without a specific religious context.

Spirituality - willingness to change

Experience transformation - hatching butterfly

So: Spirituality is not just a theoretical philosophy, not just a belief, but spirituality is about experience. One wants to experience the divine and one wants to act out of the experience of the divine. One wants to give life a higher meaning, namely to go on the spiritual path. And you also want to go the spiritual path in such a way that it transforms / changes you. Spirituality also means the willingness to change, to change one's thinking, feeling and patterns of action in order to align them in such a way that they lead to spiritual experience and that one experiences the divine through everyday life and lets the divine work through oneself.

Spiritual path means meaning in life

The second word in the word spiritual path is path. Path means we go a distance. It starts somewhere, it continues and it also has a goal. Spiritual path means we want to go somewhere and that also means to find meaning in life. And path is a beautiful symbol. We are currently at a point of spiritual development, we already have a certain path behind us, whether consciously or unconsciously and we want to achieve enlightenment, to God realization, to God unity, unio mystica, Satori, to Nirvikalpa Samadhi, to Moksha, to Kaivalya.

The various spiritual traditions have found so many expressions for this goal. We want to get there and there is a way to get there. A path also has different stages and a path has different routes. And there are always branches. There may be branches that lead you in the direction of your destination and there are branches that lead you elsewhere. On the way there you may stumble. There are also several ways to get there. And it can also be that you get stuck or stuck somewhere for a while. But at some point you reach your goal and experience yourself as one with the infinite. So at the different stages of the spiritual path there are different tasks, there are different pitfalls, there are different ways of getting stuck and it is good to recognize them. And in this series of lectures I would like to speak about the different stages of development on the spiritual path,

  • Tasks on the spiritual path.
  • What does it mean to walk the spiritual path.
  • How do you know how to take the next step.

So more in the next lecture on the spiritual path.

Videos - The Spiritual Path

This video lecture was recorded as part of the lecture series "Yoga Vidya Training".

Perseverance on the Spiritual Path

It takes perseverance and perseverance to advance on the spiritual path:

Three important obstacles on the spiritual path and how to overcome them

This part of the series about the spiritual path from the great Yoga Vidya training series deals with 3 important obstacles on the spiritual path. This is a topic that Swami Sivananda particularly describes in his book "Sadhana", there is a chapter about the mind of the aspirant, the seeker. This chapter is also reprinted in the Yoga Vidya Yoga Teacher Manual.

There are three main obstacles:

  • 1. Preconceived ideas and prejudices
  • 2. Imagined duties
  • 3. Dealing with difficulties and efforts

1st obstacle: preconceived ideas and prejudices

Quote from "Sadhana" by Swami Sivananda:

“The sadhaka begins the spiritual life with certain own ideas about sadhana, spiritual practice, about self-realization, about guru, spiritual teacher and the like. These ideas can solidify into deep prejudices. In fact, however, the spiritual life is very different from what the individual imagination believes. "

It is important to be aware of having ideas about how it should be on the spiritual path. You have ideas how a yoga teacher, a spiritual teacher should behave, you have ideas how an aspirant should behave, you have ideas how spiritual practice should be, how spiritual progress should be, maybe also about where you are are standing. These ideas will be disappointed on the spiritual path and that is good because disappointed means getting out of the delusion. If the spiritual path were as you imagine it, then you would just live out your fantasies, you can do that in a dream, you could imagine how you walk the spiritual path, you can also make your own play out of it or visualize, in your imagination you can act it out.

But the spiritual path is not like that. Such is an important aspect of the spiritual path: Have an open mind, free from prejudice. It is good to have ethical values, you should already have them and you shouldn't let yourself be talked out of them, in yoga these are Satya, Ahimsa, Asteya, Brahmacharya, Aparigraha and by this you should measure teachers.

  • That is part of not hurting, so if you have a teacher who calls for violence, he is probably not the right person.
  • If you have someone who lies to others all the time, they're not the right person either.
  • If you have someone cheating, you shouldn't accept them as a teacher.
  • If a teacher preaches one thing and lives the other about sexual ethics, he is not the right teacher either.
  • If you have someone who bribes or can be bribed, they are not the right person either.

You shouldn't put some ideas aside. The advice I give should be treated with caution. So be free of prejudice, but not value free.


  • Or you could imagine a spiritual teacher should hug everyone and be happy all the time. Here, too, I knew someone, that was Swami Vishnu-devananda, but I also knew a teacher, Swami Krishnananda, who didn't hug anyone, he kept a certain distance. It was a spiritual closeness, but a physical distance.
  • Or maybe you think when you see a spiritual teacher that he looks you in the eye and he sees through you in the depths of your soul. After a while I certainly had this impression with Swami Vishnu-devananda, but when I saw him for the first time, I was a bit disappointed somewhere. It was not this 'first reunion from a previous life', a lighting up and welcoming in the sense of 'in this incarnation you are now there, I will take care of you'. So be aware of the prejudices you may have.
  • Or people go to an ashram and think that everything must be perfect there. Everyone who is in the ashram treats others lovingly and then you realize that people are jostling at food lines, that people at the reception sometimes get annoyed on a long day of arrival, you realize that a speaker is not answering your question correctly understands. There you see, you have projected the ideal world too much into an ashram.

And there are good reasons that this ideal world is not there in this physical world. We learn through challenges, we also learn through the fact that things are not the way we would like them to be.

This is what Swami Sivananda says at the end of this section about the first obstacle:

“Walk the life of an aspirant with an open mind. Get rid of your ideas and prejudices generated by the ego. Approach spiritual matters with a serious, open, receptive attitude coupled with a desire to learn. Be ready to adjust your mindset and practice to what you are learning, rather than wanting everything to adapt to your mental vision. To renounce one's favorite ideas is very necessary if you want to progress steadily and harmoniously on the spiritual path. "

Perhaps you would like to pause for a moment and consider what prejudices, ideas, maybe even romantic ideas about the spiritual path you have, which ones have been disappointed on your way and are you ready to renounce your ideas in order to allow something else? And what are perhaps important ethical principles that you should not give up that you should not give up even if asked to do so in a community or by a teacher? That too is important because there are so many seducers out there.

2nd obstacle: conceptions of duties

This includes additional duties that you hold up in order not to walk the spiritual path.

A few sentences from Swami Sivananda: “The second problem that almost every beginner encounters is related to the concept of obligations. It is often the case that before the beginning of the spiritual sadhana these duties are not there, but if you want to start seriously with sadhana, you suddenly see yourself all sorts of new obligations to family, friends and others that stand in the way of your sadhana " .

Of course, you have responsibilities and seva - serving is an important thing; Dharma, doing one's chores is something important on the spiritual path. But it sometimes happens that people who start to walk the spiritual path suddenly take on new tasks in order not to have time for spiritual practices.

Two stories about it:

  • During the first 4-week yoga teacher training at Yoga Vidya, there was a woman who did well for the first three weeks, went very deep, asked deep questions, was always among the first before Satsang and was very interested. After three weeks she came to me and said she had to leave now because she had to look after her children. I asked where the children were and she replied that they were on vacation with her husband on a North Sea island. "That sounds good, why do they need you?" I asked. She replied “My heart feels that I have to go there, something is wrong. I have to look after the children. ”I asked:“ What does your husband say about that? ”-“ He says everything is fine, but my mother's heart tells me that I have to go there ”. I drew her attention to the aspirant's spirit, to the second obstacle: "Perhaps you will do your own duty". "No, I have to go there," she replied. So she left and came back a year later to make up for the last week and then said to me at the reception: “You were right, when I arrived at the North Sea, I immediately noticed that it was a mistake. My husband had so much fun with our children and the children had so much fun with him, I realized that I was the mother hen all the time and prevented my husband from having close contact with the children. I was a real spoilsport for them and they were mad at me the whole next week and tried to shut me out ”. This is an example of how you can create additional obligations.
  • In an ashram there was a very serious aspirant who was a sevaka, a collaborator, part of the spiritual community. After one of the two years in the community, she always spent her day off going to her sister who had had a child and felt that she had to help her sister take care of the child. After doing this for half a year or nine months, she said that she had to leave the Ashram now because she had to help her sister with the child. I asked: “What's wrong with your sister, can't she do it herself?” - “Yes, yes,” replied the aspirant, “but she needs support”. - "Did she ask you to do it?", I asked - "No, but I can tell she can't do it on her own, as a single mother". I further asked: “How is the child? Is everything okay there? ”-“ Yes, but only because I go once a week, I have to go more often ”. There was no stopping her, but a few months later she came back and said with tears in her eyes that she had been banned from the house of her sister and that she was no longer allowed to see her niece. This made it clear that her sister wanted to take care of the child on her own and that the aspirant had imagined an obligation and thus got on someone else's nerves.
Do not create imaginary duties

So be aware that you have duties, but some of the duties you create yourself. You can sometimes think: Assuming I were not a spiritual aspirant, would I imagine having to do this? If the answer is 'Probably not,' then most likely, as a spiritual aspirant, you neither have it. I also experience time and again that female aspirants - it seems to be more common among female aspirants - suddenly value their grandmother duties very highly. Before, they had said “Now I will soon be retired and I will be able to practice more spiritually, come to the Ashram more often, also as a karma yogi” and suddenly they are becoming more and more involved in raising children and often they say that they come into conflict with her daughters-in-law. They don't want them to get involved so much. Grandmothers and grandfathers are often helpful, but don't overdo it. Parents are the main legal guardians, your time as legal guardian is over. May help, but don't let self-imposed obligations deter you from your spiritual practices that only cause problems for others.

Now is the time to pause for a moment to see if you might have made new commitments lately that you don't really have.

Another suggestion:

There are some people who, just as they are on the spiritual path, suddenly come up with the idea of ​​renovating their entire apartment or wanting to redesign their garden. My tip might be a little more spiritual, but don't overdo it. Make sure that you have enough time for your sadhana, enough time for the spiritual practices. If you have more time, there is still something you can do for your home, garden, etc.

And Swami Sivananda says:

“You have different duties and tasks at different times, but sadhana, for self-realization, for God-realization, is your most important and urgent duty until the last minute of your life. You cannot allow yourself to postpone your sadhana. Let this thought become deep and strong in you, do not become weak, do regular, systematic sadhana and keep reminding yourself of the goal of life. Go forward boldly, keep the ideal in front of your eyes, you will reach the goal in this life ”.

So you can think again where you might overdo it with the external activities and which external activities you can perhaps reduce in order to have the time for your sadhana.

3. Obstacle: dealing with difficulties and efforts

Sadhana is not always easy.

Swami Sivananda says:

“If you practice sadhana regularly, you may encounter obstacles everywhere. You may even think that you felt better before. Don't be sad, there are reasons for it, "and there are various reasons why you have this resistance at the beginning, the first one he describes is:

“To practice spiritually means to regularly swim upstream against the age-old habits”, that is, to change your life, which is not that easy at all. If you plan to practice yoga every day, to shape your nutritional affection, if you plan to treat your fellow human beings in a friendly and loving manner, if you also plan to shape your life in other ways, you will notice that the cosiness aspect comes into play, you want longer in the morning sleep; or suddenly there is greed for unsattled food, or anger and fear arise. That means old habits come back and you could say that there are various obstacles:

Everyone has to carry their cross

Going uphill is exhausting. When you ride your bike uphill it is strenuous, downhill it is easy, but where do you develop your muscles? When driving uphill! And so it can be at the beginning that it is exhausting and it can also be that you have to walk a little slower and it can be that you take a break in between, practicing, but you don't have to climb the 3000 m in one day the bike. But go the way, be aware it is exhausting, but with every effort you get stronger.

What can also be exhausting is that you want to go the other direction and you notice how many things you are doing that are spiritually not okay. If you previously just ate what you liked and now you impose discipline on yourself while eating, not too early, not too late, what is ecologically compatible, not too much sugar, no animal products ... then you suddenly notice how many desires in you slumber, how much resistance there is. As you resolve to speak lovingly to other people, you will become aware of how often you speak out of anger and hurt. If you plan to get up early in the morning, you will find out how comfortable you are otherwise and how difficult it is for you. So to realize that there is still some work to be done is painful in itself, but to change it is exhausting.

If you want to do good, some things come to the surface that were previously deep inside you.

  • You may be meditating and while you are meditating, perhaps over loving kindness - Maitri Bhavana - you suddenly feel aggression.
  • You meditate on the divine in itself and suddenly you realize what deep hurts you may have been inflicted on as a child. So some things come to the surface from your subconscious and that's a good thing. My tip here would be not to think too much about where and why this comes from, but rather you can be glad that it comes to the surface, a tension that is deep within you comes to the surface. Look at them, do not identify yourself, do not project, let go, move on with your practice and you come to what is deeper.

At the end of this lesson, the last paragraph from the chapter "The Spirit of the Seeker" by Swami Sivananda:

“Go the Sadhana Marga, the spiritual path, with an open mind without prejudice. Be aware of the highest goal in life, to practice sadhana for God-realization. Calmly and cheerfully bear all initial trials, temptations, resistances. You will reap eternal life, unforgettable radiance, peace and bliss. "

Hari Om Tat Sat

Video - Obstacles on the Spiritual Path

What are the obstacles on the spiritual path? How can you recognize and overcome it?

Self-love on the spiritual path

- Assume your own temperament - a lecture by Sukadev Bretz 2019 -

Hello and welcome to Yoga Vidya about temperament, especially about the aspect of accepting your own temperament, self-love.

This is a text from the text series "The spiritual way“, Part of the Yoga Vidya training lecture series. My name is Sukadev from Yoga Vidya.

In the last few texts I wrote about sattva, rajas and tamas, how important it is to live sattwig. I wrote about how to spiritualize the profession, spiritualize partnership. I had also written something about a full diet. I wrote about the importance of working on yourself. I had written about the various spiritual practices. The last time about the 5 K's, the five things that you shouldn't eat under any circumstances.

On the spiritual path, however, it is also important to approach it realistically. And ultimately it is also about Dharma, which means living your own talents or getting to know and appreciate yourself. You could say that is also an aspect of self-love.

What exactly is that supposed to mean? Different people have different temperaments. And it is important that you approach the spiritual path realistically and that you have no ideals that ultimately contradict your temperament. The tip is live your temper. Live it in a sattvic way. But don't identify with your temperament and don't let your temperament limit you. I give an example. This is the easiest way to do it.

Exulting in the sky - sad to death

Suppose you have a cyclothymic temperament. That would be, for example, cheering as high as the sky - saddened to death. If you have such a temper, then you may expect that when you practice yoga that the depths will go away and you will just be euphoric. It is unrealistic. If you have a cyclothymic temperament then most likely you will too when you practice spiritually. There are exceptions.

I know people who say that before they started their spirituality, they always had their highs and lows and that since they started doing yoga, they all in all have an even serenity. There are small fluctuations but no longer the big ones as before. That can happen. And when it happens, be grateful for it. But that happens more or less by itself. It happens. This does not require any special effort. You just have to practice your asanas, pranayama and meditation daily, see meaning in your life. And then when some of you fall away then that wasn't really something you were in the depths of your being.

But if you are really someone with a cyclothymic temperament then you will stay that way when you practice yoga. You will only be able to be different. Then it can be that you have high energy phases and low energy phases. And both have important aspects, learning aspects. Do not expect from the spiritual path that you only have highs from then on.

Self-love is also an important word or self-acceptance. Because if you thought about it, assuming I had neither the highs nor the lows, would I prefer that? If you are someone with a cyclothymic temperament you would say no. I don't want to be just so moderate. If the price for my highs is that I have to have lows, then I am willing to pay that price.

And so, with a cyclothymic temperament, you should think about what will my practice be like in my enthusiastic high energy phases? Perhaps the practices will be more intense. Maybe they will be more. Maybe they need to be balancing. Maybe they'll be more euphoric. It can also be different.

And you can think about how my spiritual practices will be in low energy phases. It is important that you actually practice in the low-energy phases and not completely stop the spiritual practice out of sheer disappointment that you have plunged into your melancholy again after all.

So if you are right now in a high or on a rising branch or you already notice it may tip over soon, then think about how you will practice in the low-energy phase, in the melancholy phase, in the phase of despair? Maybe you will practice less. Maybe you will need to sleep more. Maybe you will have to practice differently. Maybe you will do without the sun salutation and just start with the first asana. Maybe you will meditate more or meditate less. Maybe you will do more or less pranayama. As a person with a cyclothymic temperament, it is good to consider what my high-energy practice looks like and what does my low-energy practice look like?

Introversion and extraversion

Extraverts need stimulating company

The second aspect of temperament is introversion and extraversion. There are more introverted people. There are more extraverted people. Introverts shouldn't think that now, as soon as they practice yoga, they become euphoric people who now have easy contact with everyone. But you can appreciate that you like to be alone, that you can be alone with yourself, that you get strength in yourself. And then don't let introversion hinder you. Approach others too. Overcome your shyness and yoga will help you with this. With yoga you have more energy, more courage, more self-confidence. But it also takes a little effort of your own.

If you are an extrovert then do not think now that you will now become a person who is now only satisfied with yourself and that you will only be silent and that you will finally stop dealing with superficial people and from now on you will only follow the very important things in life.

As an extrovert, you need company with other people. And they don't all have to be as spiritual as the ones you ideally have. But as an extrovert, take your time with your practices. Connect your exuberant enthusiasm with love. Don't expect too much from others. Be happy. See the divine in all.

Anxiety to paranoia

Another form of temperament that I would like to single out here would be anxiety to paranoia. So now not the psychotic paranoia that needs treatment by a psychiatrist.But someone who is constantly afraid of everything. I would like to refer to my book “The Royal Road to Serenity”, or the video series on virtues and downsides. There are a number of 2,700 videos. I just want to say assuming you are a person who tends to be more anxious, then you will probably see in the future what dangers there are. Maybe you have a certain tendency of the Vata temperament. Maybe you have an introverted Vata temperament.

Vata is an expression from Ayurveda. You can see what could go wrong and you can feel everything. You could see yourself as an early warning system. Fearful people see many dangers and may prepare, but they also have to get the courage in between to not let fear dominate them.

I know some longtime spiritual people for whom it is still an effort to give a yoga class, for example, and they still express a thousand concerns when starting a new project. This is not a bad thing. But such people are also important. It is important to be aware that things can go wrong. And it is also important to be well prepared for something. So if you've been a fearful person so far, don't expect that you will become a person full of optimism now. But also love you for seeing the difficulty. Better prepare yourself. Know that it may be your job to mention the things that can go wrong. But also develop courage. Don't let your fearfulness dominate you. Yes, and yoga also helps you to get prana with breathing exercises, with meditation, with other physical exercises, to gain self-confidence and to overcome shyness and anxiety.

Melancholy temper

Goethe - Many great thinkers were melancholy

Then there is the melancholy temper. So people who repeatedly despair of the meaning of life. People who see again and again how much hollowness there is in this world, people who see the suffering in the world to a great extent.

If you are practicing yoga now, don't expect to be euphoric all the time. Maybe you will have euphoric phases. But also appreciate yourself for this temperament. In our day and age, the melancholy are far too little valued. There are very many great thinkers who have been melancholy. From Schopenhauer to Goethe, probably also the Buddha, because the first of the four noble truths is “All life is suffering”, and many others.

You can see that even melancholics can think deeply. And by making yourself aware of the suffering in the world, to see through the superficiality, you see deeply and you look through what life is about. Appreciate yourself for it and spiritualize it so you can develop Vairagya and Viveka. But don't get stuck there. There is something deeper than melancholy. And that is the joy and love of self. If you repeatedly manage to establish a heart connection with other people, to open yourself up to the divine blessing, you will find joy in the depths.

You may also experience less superficial joy after doing yoga. In return, you will look deeper and perhaps less victim to temptation. But you will come to great joy. It is not for nothing that the images and statues of Buddha will always be marked with great joy. By accepting the suffering in this world, the melancholic can grow beyond the suffering and experience deep joy, love and compassion.


Pessimists check worst case scenarios so they are prepared for anything

It is similar with pessimists. Pessimists are those who see what can go wrong. And who are therefore preparing for it. If you are a pessimist, don't expect yoga to make you an optimist. You may remain a pessimist and be valuable because, on the one hand, you can see what can go wrong. Therefore, you may have a healthier diet. Therefore you will perhaps be more consistent with health tips, so, for example, when you start something new you will take a closer look at what can go wrong and then prepare yourself for it.

Therefore, you will perhaps make others in your club or at work aware of what can go wrong and thus ensure overall success.

So also appreciate your ability to be pessimistic. But go deeper. Because in the depths, spirituality means trust in God. Ultimately, the things that go wrong also make sense.

The problems that arise are also tasks that one can grow with. And behind everything is the Divine Reality.


Yes, these were just a few suggestions on the subject of adopting your own temperament, developing spiritual self-love.

Now think about yourself which aspects do you have in your temperament? Think about the positive aspects of your temperament. Think about how you can live it spiritually. But also consider that you do not want to be dominated by this temperament, perhaps which complementary aspects you also have in you, which also want to be lived and which you can live for good in the world, for a full life to do good and for spiritual development. And make yourself aware; i am not mind and body. I am immortal self. I am not the psyche. I'm also not the temperament and the personality. I have a body. I have a psyche. I have a multi-faceted temperament. I can do something for my body. I can develop my psyche. And I am the immortal self.

Sukadev wishes you a lot of fun with yoga and a wonderful day.

You can find more information about yoga and yoga courses on the Yoga Vidya website.

Video - adopt your own temperament

Self-love on the spiritual path

More questions and answers about spirituality

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The Spiritual Path - More information on spirituality and yoga psychology

Here you can find more information on spirituality and yoga psychology and some things related to The Spiritual Path:

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