Namaste Dear Friends,
We hope everyone had an excellent Fall Fair weekend! This week’s classes include:
Yoga for Men w/ Greg @ 5:30–6:30PM
Vinyasa Flow w/ Leanne @ 5:30–6:30PM
Gentle Yoga w/ Leanne @ 7:00–8:15PM
Hatha Yoga w/ Greg @ 5:30–6:45PM
Morning Flow w/ Greg @ 10:00–11:15AM
POSE OF THE WEEK:
••• we begin this series of postures with the final posture before the summer break: “any-comfortable-asana”. Indeed, if one of the aims of our yoga practice is transformational growth, then we must be able to look inward for extended periods of time. Ultimately the posture is irrelevant. However, as we rid the body of toxins and purify the nervous system it can be beneficial to encourage a straight spine, since the major pranic channels lie coincident with it. In this way, we can more fully experience our inner movements, whose inherent wisdom KNOWS the way home.
YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI
Prior to summer we were making our way through The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which is a foundational text that describes yoga in its holistic sense, that is, union of the “self” with the “Self”: why it’s necessary, how to practice, the encountered obstacles, and the various stages toward liberation. The text consists of four chapters or padas: Chapter 1, Samadhi Pada; Chapter 2, Sadhana Pada; Chapter 3, Vibhuti Pada; Chapter 4, Kaivalya Pada.
This week we’ll highlight a few key sutras from the first chapter to re-orient ourselves with the text. Given the volume of material, we’ll take next week as well to re-iterate some of the sutras we’ve already explored to make this exercise less intellectual and more practical.
1.2 Yoga is the cessation of the modifications of the mind.
1.5 There are five types of thought waves, some of which are painful and some of which are not.
1.12 Mastery of the thought waves occurs by practice and non-attachment.
1.14 Practice becomes firmly grounded by long constant efforts with great love (for the end to be attained).
1.30 The obstacles to realization are disease, mental torpor, doubt, indifference, laziness, craving for pleasure, delusion, inability to practice and maintain concentration, and restlessness of mind due to distractions.
1.32 To remove these obstacles, one must hold to the single truth of practice.
Sutra 1.2 is perhaps the most famous sutras as it give a definition of yoga. It suggests that self-realization occurs when the mind’s modifications are still, much like one can see to the bottom of a calm lake early in the morning. Patanjali tells us that our true nature is revealed in the absence of thought, which is quite extraordinary since we tend to think we know who we are!
Patanjali goes on to list the five types of thoughts, most of which being about pain and suffering. Of the five types, correct knowledge is the only type of mental modification that is beneficial to move one from ignorance to awareness, from suffering to liberation.
Practice and non-attachment help one master the mind. Non-attachment allows us to move away from the past and bear witness to the process rather than judge, condemn, or shame it. This is vital because it allows us to really sit with ourselves in the midst of everything that will arise, which can often be uncomfortable as we see more clearly the various facades we’ve created in order to maintain the status quo.
Practice requires constant effort with great love. Everything we’ve ever needed is within us, if only we set aside our self-judgement to see it. The practice (any practice, really) plants seeds within us that germinate to destroy our self-created, limiting identity structure. This process matures beautifully and wonderfully in the presence of self-love.
The obstacles to realization are useful to note to remind us that the path may be challenging at times. In addition to “holding to the single truth of practice”, sharing in community is an excellent way to support and remove these various obstacles. To this end, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for being a part of our little community.
Om Namah Shivaya