Answering a question about the occasionalwandering mind, Sharath recommended japa, the repetition of a mantra, for afterāsana practice. He said something might be bothering you — it happens — and wehave a distracted mind. We can’t change the world but we can change ourselves. Done after practice or before bed for about 30 minutes, using a mantrathat has been taught to us, the worry might not be 100% gone,but it will bemanageable. Also, he noted, it is important to clean ourselves before weperform these kinds of rituals. Śauca, or cleanliness, is importantbefore japa just as it is important for āsana. We are trying to be calmindividuals and manage ourselves and what comes up. Mahatma Gandhi wasthe symbol of ahiṁsā, because he submersed himself in ahiṁsā and then was,himself, ahiṁsā. A yogī is someone who has cultivated all of these thingsin him or her. It is a quality. He asked how many of us can say weare a yogī or yoginī. We have to become sādhakas day by day.
Next a student asked about teaching acancer survivor who has undergone chemotherapy. Even though thetreatments are over, the student gets overheated quickly even now. Sharath suggested that the student drink plenty of water and juice and touse oil to cool the body. He suggested coconut or almond oil to cool her. Treatments and medicines can stay in the body a long time. He saidāsanas bring heat to the body anyway and we use oil baths to cool the body. It used to be custom inIndiato put coconut oil in children’s hair to cool them. Putting the oil onthe head will draw heat out of the body. For the head, amla oil is verygood. Also, he advised that she should talk to a doctor. There aremany herbs and ayurvedic treatments that can help with diseases and afflictionsof the body.
Sharath ended conference by inviting us tovisit a local hospital with him. A Mysorepediatrician has opened a hospital devoted to children with HIV and AIDS, andSharath extended an invitation to us to accompany him and see what we can do tohelp the hospital and the young patients. He said he would provide thedate and details soon.