When Ann Maxwell and Teri Sanders first heard Dr. Carrie Demers from the Himalayan Institute speak on the 6 Pillars for Yogic Living, they not only found it life-changing, but made it a handout that is now covered in the first two hours of our 200 hour Teacher Training; they believed it was that important. We believe at Yoga North ISYI that this information is so valuable that every person looking to live a life with a steady flow of energy and a calm mind would want to integrate these 6 pillars into their own life.

What follows is a handout compiled by Ann Maxwell and Teri Sanders inspired from Dr. Carrie Demers Yoga Sutras Prep School Talk for the e-course on Yoga Sutras. Take a look for yourself and consider whether you are eating, sleeping, and exercising at regular intervals so your body can rely upon you to feed it, rest it, and move it. This allows you to move into the next three practices with a calmer mind; one that is not distracted or dull because it is able to rest in the whole of the body. And when the mind rests in the body the path to greater awareness practices is easier to attain. Check these out for yourself, don’t just take our word for it. For further reading on these pillars check out Happiness Is Your Creation by Swami Rama and The Secret of the Yoga Sutras by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD.
–Elizabeth Eilers Sullivan

The 6 Pillars of Yogic Lifestyle and Wellness Practices

The Yoga Sutras spell out how to turn a “distracted, disturbed or stupefied mind” into a “one-pointed, perfectly still mind.” The catch is this: if a distracted, disturbed and stupefied mind is not able or fit to turn inward for the practices of meditation and self-awareness, how do we progress on the yogic path?
The six pillars of yogic lifestyle are 6 key lifestyle and wellness practices that affect the level and quality of energy in our mind and body. With these practices we create a strong, steady, well-regulated flow of energy in the mind and body. Rather than looking to advanced practices of yoga to progress, we can use the 6 pillars to tend the foundation of all our practices. The 6 pillars give us a map to structure our lives around wellness, nourishing more physical and mental energy to devote to our practice.

The six pillars:
Right Food
• Quality/freshness of food
• Our appreciation for the food that we receive

Right exercise
• exercise that supports your constitution
• consider what will bring/keep you in balance daily, seasonally, etc
• healthy amount of exercise promotes the body’s natural cleansing processes

Right sleep
• Regular bed time
• Pre-bedtime routine to support restful sleep
• The state in which we fall asleep is the state in which we will wake up

Breathing & stress management
• Exhalation activates rest/digest part of the nervous system
• Practice extending your exhalation with straw breathing & 2:1 breath

• Eating good food, getting exercise, drinking water to support the natural cleansing systems that the body already has in place
• Neti pot, abhyanga, tongue scraping and/or other dinacharya practices that support natural cleansing

• Mindfulness and compassion in our every day helps us to make more informed decisions about our thoughts, beliefs, actions and behavior