When there is conflict and turmoil in the world around you, there is no need for it to govern you. Let your mind be clear, calm, immersed with the divine. When you keep your own mind free from the emotional reactions to the events going on around you, but remain peaceful with your relationship to the divine, then equanimity comes. To practice yama and niyama is to be able to sustain a calm and peaceful state of mind with equanimity. Equanimity comes when the practice of contentment, santosha, is developed - when one practices being content with what is, with your life as it is here and now. It does not mean complacency, but it does mean contentment. Being at peace with who you are. Being at peace with the present moment and your life.
Naturally circumstances come which throw you off from time to time this direction and that. But as you cultivate this practice of santosha, this contentment begins to grow. This opportunity of stay at home is a very good opportunity to develop this peace of mind, this contentment to be present in what you are doing in a way that is at peace with who you are and what your life is.
So this is an excellent opportunity to develop peace of mind, simplicity of being, and to cultivate purity of heart and mind - pure thoughts, kind thoughts, loving thoughts to all beings. By cultivating a positive relationship to those around you, and a feeling of loving kindness toward living beings, you develop a purity in heart and mind by keeping a simplicity of cleanliness. By keeping the environment sentient, you enhance that purity of heart and mind.
But most of all, it gets enhanced when the mind and thoughts are kept pure, meaning devoid of angers and hatreds and resentments, and in harmony with life, with trees, with animals, with plants, with other people, with living life. When your mental flow is in harmony with life and more importantly with divine awareness, divine presence, then a harmony comes of body, mind, and spirit. And when that is cultivated, a contentment comes with life, an ability to be present in the moment, an enjoyment of the here and now without the need to be someplace else, doing something else, being somehow different. Enjoying and being at peace with what life has dealt you, can you do this?
So, when chocha (?) and santosha are cultivated then the practice of giving to others without thought for yourself, selfless service and self-sacrifice comes into being. Tapas, the practice of self-sacrifice, does not mean to harm yourself in some way. This has been a great misunderstanding of this practice. It means rather, to be able to give of yourself without desire for return, without wanting to acquire anything. Simply giving to give, sacrificing for others in need. Going out of your way for someone, even in small ways. Giving to those in need, whether it be money, time, goods, work - giving of yourself without thought of what you will get from it, this is tapas. And it cultivates an expansive sense of self where you do not feel absorbed in I and mine. Rather you feel the welfare of all living beings is important and you work and live for the welfare of all. This is tapas, this attitude of selflessness.
But, to have selflessness without understanding, you can easily get misled into negative patterns of self-diminishment. So right understanding is of most importance and that comes through svadyaya, through study - both study of scriptures and study from the masters, study listening to talks, reading, and contemplating. The true svadyaya is not only to be found from external sources but to be found from your internal contemplation of the divine and of life in relation to the divine. In this inner contemplation of self, right understanding comes, the ability to discriminate between the real and the unreal. This ability of discrimination is a foundation of self-realization.
There are two foundations: one is discrimination, and the other is detachment. Detachment does not mean to not love, to not be involved. Detachment means to see the divine everywhere and to know that the love you have is a love for the infinite one. And that all the forms are really the forms of the one Self. When true understanding, when true discrimination comes it leads naturally to this detachment. And these two become the pillars of wisdom upon which your sadhana is built and the practice of Isvara Pranidhana is sustained.
So these are the practices of niyama - the to-dos of yoga. These practices combined together give you a balanced relationship to life around you, to yourself expression in the world, and to your inner relationship, your inner understanding, your wisdom, and finally your deep communion with the divine through your sadhana. They form the basis in yoga for the path toward enlightenment, to enlighten you to the true Self, the true nature of your being.
So, utilize these aspects of yoga in your daily life, and you will notice a difference. Alright? Remember them, alright? Namaskar.