How does a person who is completely body-oriented take on the intellectual study that is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra? Is it in any way possible for me to comprehend such abstract concepts as karma, kaivalya, kundalini, or kushalata?Today, in my search for meaning in Sri Patanjali’s I-50 aphorism, I am left scratching my head, wondering what to write.
Yes and no is the answer, or, as T.K.V. Desikachar would say, ‘It depends.’
I started my sutra-a-day project with Chapter One, which comprises Samadhi Pada and is all about the blissful state of absorption with the One. The stumbling block here is not having experience with bliss states. Why isn’t this chapter at the end if it’s about the ultimate?
Very soon we’ll be onto Sadhana Pada, Chapter Two, all about the nitty gritty of discipline and practice, something I think I understand. We shall see, though.
Here’s a wonderful document that connects the dots between the topic of samskara (deep grooves of conditioning) and what we might do with our bodies to release these old habits: Samskara and the Body.
The theory is that working with flowing and intuitive movements in our yoga practice helps uncover unconscious patterns and loosens the mental fetters of habitual thinking. This sounds to me like the good work that Donna Farhi does in teaching human developmental movement patterns in her workshops.
The Sutra are a sort of road map for us to follow to whatever extent we can, in the best way we can. I’m very much looking forward to the road more travelled (by me!).
tajjah samskaro ‘nyasamskarapratibandhi
It generates latent impressions that prevent the activation of other impressions.*
*The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, translation and commentary by Chip Hartranft.