Hansaji Talking on ‘Victory Over Bad Habits’

The topic for the Hindi Satsang on Sunday, 2nd March, 2014 was ‘Victory Over Bad Habits.’

Following is the transcript of the speech made by Smt. Hansaji Yogendra on the topic.

Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra
Hansaji Jayadeva Yogendra

Listen to the Audio:

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“The first thing to do is identify which habits are supposed to be good habits and which are bad habits. The definition is such that habits which hurt our body or do not allow our body to be healthy are bad for us. Habits which increase our Kleshas, our ego, our attachment, hatred, selfishness, are bad habits.

Habits are actions done without thinking. It just happens.Any compulsive behaviour is bad. Yoga states it very clearly that one should think and then act. The purpose of every action should be clear before the action is done. The decision should never be taken under the influence of likes and dislikes. If this is not done, then slowly over a period of time, we form bad habits.

One must overcome one’s likes and dislikes because they are our weaknesses and the cause of our rigid behaviour. Anything in excess is harmful but anything harmful, even if done in little amounts, is bad.

Once, a father brought his son to me. The son was taking some form of drugs in his cigarettes and the father was terrified about it. Due to drugs, the son was experiencing lack of concentration, focus, memory and losing his sensitivity towards others and himself. The father was extremely concerned about his son’s future. The son was listening to our conversation when the father was sharing everything with me. I observed that the son seemed capable and was performing this harmful activity in a systematic manner, leading me to believe that this could work the other way around also. The father was surprised at this insight. I then asked the father if he himself smoked. And the father admitted that he did smoke just one cigarette every morning. On questioning why, the father shared the cigarette helped him get good motions. I suggested eating figs, fruits, drinking lemon juice twice daily, lots of water, etc. to get good motions. The son was listening intently to our conversation. The father then said that he really enjoyed that one cigarette. I asked him if he could leave smoking that one cigarette and the enjoyment that he experienced out of it for the sake of his son. The father got up, removed the pack of cigarettes from his pocket and announced that he would discontinue smoking from this very moment. I suggested they visit our regular classes and they left.

They returned the next month to join the regular classes, the son joined the 7 day health camp and also completed the 7 months teachers training course subsequently. During the 7 day camp, we suggested that he chew Tulsi leaves or Aniseeds whenever he felt an urge to smoke. Gradually, over the 7 days, the boy was able to wean himself away from all these things. He reaffirmed his decision to me that he had decided to leave this and he wouldn’t fall prey to such habits ever again. I was very happy to hear such words from him and post his completion of the course, he was a changed man. I sent him to a young students’ society to give lectures because he had now become a role model. The point is that if we are able to take a decision and stick to it, then nothing is difficult.

Habits are actions taken without thinking. Therefore, we have to now induce thinking. Moreover we have to overcome this feeling of ‘I don’t want to do this…’ Please make a list of what you want to do. Let us live our life constructively and positively. Therefore, good habits have to be formed.

We have to participate in such activities which we really enjoy and have a ‘wow’ moment in. We have to encourage such things in our life. Music, singing, playing musical instruments etc work wonders. A fixed time table of our activities and actions every day will be extremely helpful – organize your day in such a way that you have no free time (because free time can be destructive also)

Good sleep is very essential. Therefore sleeping early is important… 9 pm to 2 am is good and then you may wake up early to work if you need to finish some work. While working, a Shavasana break of 5-10 minutes will be very helpful too. Or else, sleeping late gives rise to deficiencies of in the body, encourages dullness and lethargy. Lack of sleep gives rise to bad habits like drinking tea or munching food or tobacco. Going to sleep on a full stomach is pointless because the body is busy digesting the food and is unable to rest. It’s better to sleep on an empty stomach and give rest to the body. One may wake up and eat. Food and energy is required for working and not for resting. Our system is very simple, we just need to flow with it. Please understand that it’s easier to flow with the natural laws and be in harmony with nature than to fight it.

Do not think that ‘I want to get rid of my bad habits’. Think about all the things that you want to do and that you can do. Like for eg biting finger-nails. I remember I used to suck two of my fingers in my childhood. My father was very strict and would remove the fingers from my mouth but whenever I got distracted and was watching something closely, the fingers would slowly find their way in my mouth. Finally my father took me to a doctor who made a small cut on my fingers, spilled a harmless little blood and then bandaged it. Whenever my fingers went into my mouth the bandage repulsed me and I overcame this habit of mine. This was of course a harsh solution but we need not make a small cut, we can just bandage the fingers to remind us every time the fingers find their way into our mouth. All this can happen only if we have taken a strong decision in our mind to overcome our bad habit. One can apply bitter neem juice on the nails (which is in any case healthy) to repulse the taste buds. Similarly to wean a baby away from breast feeding, bitter neem juice can be applied on the nipples to repulse the baby’s taste buds as well. Babies can overcome such habits but grown-ups are unable to leave. Somehow, adults enjoy these bad habits and tend to reason or justify these habits by saying – Hansaji, we should have some bad habits, and we are not Yogis. Bad habits are bad. We should make an effort to overcome habits that are harmful to our physical and mental health.

Let’s improve our awareness of the quality of the content of our speech. We need not speak to fill up silences, we can just smile and acknowledge each other with our eyes, which would be the best conversation. Sometimes if a family is sitting together silently, people wonder why is there silence. Is talking so essential? Can we not maintain a smile on our faces and learn to observe and listen?

Another bad habit is worrying incessantly or thinking about the past. Let’s work on improving our attitude. Let’s think about the present and the actions required to be taken now. Please understand that we are hurting ourselves by following such bad habits so we should stop doing that.

It’s a question of mental strength and will power… come what may, I will not revert to these habits again. Maybe I will experience some side-effects like constipation, sleeplessness or headaches, we can treat these with medicines but we will not revert to the past habits ever again. In fact he didn’t have to take any medicines at all.

There is a quote by Mark Twain – ‘I have left smoking 20 times in my life’. This is a joke.

Let’s understand and try to become strong mentally. It is very easy to leave bad habits if the mind is determined, so let’s work on ourselves.”

– Smt. Hansaji J. Yogendra


Satsang is an open meeting held every Sunday from 9:30 to 10:30 am at The Yoga Institute, Santacruz East, Mumbai. It involves an interesting presentation to the public, made by the students of the Teacher Training Course. Each week, a new presentation of a Yogic concept is made in a simple way through skits and decoration for the general public, followed by a short speech from our Gurus, Dr. Jayadeva and Smt. Hansaji Yogendra.
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