Namaste Dear Friends,
Please note that this evening’s (Monday, June 6) Yin/Yang class is cancelled. All other classes remain offered as scheduled throughout the week, including:
Hatha Yoga w/ Greg @ 1:30–2:45PM
Yoga for Men w/ Greg @ 5:30–6:30PM
Yin/Yang – CANCELLED
Gentle Yoga w/ Julie @ 4:30–5:30PM
Vinyasa Flow w/ Julie @ 6:00–7:00PM
PWYC Express Flow w/ Julie @ 12–12:45PM
Hatha Yoga w/ Greg @ 5:30–6:45PM
Meditation (Pre-registration required) w/ Sarah @ 7:00–8:00PM
Slow&Steady w/ Julie @ 8:30–9:45PM
Intro to Yin w/ Julie @ 4:30–5:30PM
Vinyasa Flow w/ Julie @ 5:45–7:00PM
Stretch&Unwind w/ Greg @ 12:00–1:00PM
Morning Flow w/ Julie @ 11:15–12:30PM
YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI
This week we explore the types of practice one may adopt to overcome the obstacles to self-realization.
(Chapter 1, Sutras 33–41)
33. The mind becomes clear through the cultivation of friendliness, kindness, contentment, and indifference towards happiness, vice and virtue.
34. It is also achieved by the expulsion and retention of the breath.
35. Steadiness on the higher objects of sensation, such as internal sounds, quiets the mind.
36. Or by concentration of the internal state of luminescence that is beyond sorrow.
37. Or by fixing the mind on one who has transcended human passions and attachments.
38. Or by meditating upon knowledge gained in dreams or deep sleep.
39. Or by meditating on whatever is agreeable.
40. Thus a yogi’s mastery extends from the smallest atom to infinity.
41. For the person who has mastered the vrittis through meditation, there is a merging of the perceiver, perceived, and perception, just as the crystal assumes the colour of the background.
As seen, yoga offers several ways in which the mind can be purified. Sutra 33 suggests that developing good will and universal love towards all tames the mind, whereas negative feelings or identification with the dualities of good and bad destroy peace of mind. Sutra 34 is a reference to the practice of pranayama (breath regulation) as a method for purification. Mastery of the breath (and its endpoint prana) is directly related to mastery of the mind. Sutras 35 & 36 identify internal experiences as methods to master one’s thought waves. Application of sutra 36 is relatively popular at the beginning of some yoga classes, whereby the instructor guides participants in visualizing light(s) at various places within the gross and subtle bodies. Sutra 37 recommends the object of meditation to be Christ, a saint, sage, etc. that has attained liberation. It is common for truth to be revealed by the superconscious during sleep. Usually, this information is veiled by the conscious state and used in the subconscious. However, Sutra 38 suggests that meditation brings to light the various insights gained during sleep.
Sutra 39 is one of my favourites because it validates the dictum “the paths are many but the Truth is One”. Patanjali lists just a few techniques for meditation. Sutra 39 suggests that an aspirant should choose anything that suits their temperament and stick to that method until reaching liberation. There is a softness here that I appreciate; the practice is meant to meet us wherever we are. Ultimately, the practice is an internal one and all outward seeking must fall away. Without a doubt, yoga was never intended to be dogmatic or prescriptive–it is an experiential process of unfoldment.
Sutras 40 & 41 describe the mastery that extends from the microcosm to the macrocosm and the merging that is associated once the thought waves are stilled. The consequence of stilled thought waves are profound – there is nothing but “I AM”–no solid, liquid, or gas; no this, that, or other; no in-breath or out-breath; no she or he, etc., etc., etc….WOW!
POSE OF THE WEEK
Halasana (plow pose)
••• an inverted forward bend in which the legs are lowered toward the floor over the head (usually entered via salamba sarvagasana (shoulder stand)). The feet are together and the fingers are interlaced with the toes and arms/hands pushing into (opposite ends of) the floor. This can be a challenging pose and, like shoulder stand, there should be no discomfort in the neck, and its natural curvature should be maintained. If the full posture is not available, then one can adopt a “half shoulder stand” variation in which the hips are supported by the hands and the legs come only partially over the head. Additionally, one can rest their feet on a wall or chair.
The most common alignment problems with plow pose is to round the back, separate the feet, bend the legs, and restrict the breath. Pressing the toes, shoulders, arms and hands into the floor helps one to engage their core to create the necessary lift and length through the spine.
Please speak with your instructors regarding other types of alignment problems with this posture and safe modifications for your body type.
Om Namah Shivaya