Every individual is guided by the SWAN principle, ‘SWAN’ meaning aspects of human nature: strengths, weaknesses, ambitions, and needs. Every individual has a group of abilities which are known as strengths – could be creativity, strong willpower in the positive sense, conviction, determination and so on. The weaknesses can be fears, inhibitions, lack of willpower, loss of self-image and so on.
Ambitions can be external, internal, social, the desire for name, status, recognition. Needs are also physical, social, emotional, and so on. We move from one structure of SWAN into the next at an incredible pace, so fast that we are unable to differentiate between our strengths and ability, our weakness, our desires or ambitions and our needs.
We tend to mix them up completely. Often ambition becomes a need without our realizing it, and it totally controls our performance in external life. Often need becomes a weakness, or it can even become a strength. Therefore it becomes logically difficult to understand what is actually happening deep down in our personality.
This is the time when we get into conflict with ourselves, we don’t have clarity of mind. Thought and the brain is overloaded, mind and emotions are overloaded and then there is a nervous breakdown, short circuit.
Whether one is an Easterner or a westerner, initially, along with the practices of yoga, there has to evolve an understanding of the faculties or areas of strength, weakness, ambitions, and need. Without this awareness, you cannot have the ability to govern yourself. If you wish to direct, control and guide the subtle expressions of your personality then awareness has to be extended into these areas.
So, along with the normal practices of yoga, there is another aspect which needs to develop side by side, which can happen through a meditative process. You have to work as per the needs of the body and the requirements of society. Yoga is not a discipline which denies looking after yourself. It is not a system of penance. It is not a system of renunciation. In yoga, there is no denial.
In Yoga, there is acceptance, understanding, and application. Accept yourself as you are and work from that point on. Understand your own nature, strengths, and weaknesses, and work from that point onwards. Apply what you know to evolve yourself. These are the main theories and practices of yoga.
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