A Sutra a Day: II-1 – Yoga Passion

Jul 12, 2012 | Philosophy, Wisdom, XSutras, Yoga practices, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali | 2 comments

My desk is covered with books. It looks disorganised but I can put my finger on any one of them in a moment. The six sutra scholars who have been sitting on the desk advising me for the last seven weeks have been joined now by Donna Farhi and Godfrey Devereux. They are making special appearances for today’s post.
Why? Because these authors are so accessible.
Are you an action person? Well, then Chapter Two of Patanjali’s Sutra is for you.
Yogis travel the yoga path through action (kriya in Sanskrit). Three elements are involved in this action: tapas, svadhyaya, and isvarapranidhana – which represent body, mind and spirit.
Let’s just look at what the meaning of tapas is, and then we can consider the other qualities in subsequent posts.
Both Donna and Godfrey agree that tapas equates with having “burning enthusiasm”. Godrey’s interpretation is hotter. He says, our yoga practice needs to be “enflamed by a passion for life, for discovery, for being.”
Donna cuts a little slack for those who are not (yet) on fire for their yoga practice. She suggests we can be guided by “a kind of parental consciousness coupled with a good sense of humour.” Hopefully then, this is the part of us that knows what is good for us and can make skilful choices about what actions to take.
She offers further encouragement: “Once activated…the embers of tapas tend to generate more and more heat and momentum, which makes each subsequent effort less difficult.”
On these chilly, wet winter nights, our wood-burning fireplace has been generating warmth and something like good cheer, which goes a long way to dispelling the dismal climate.

- A Sutra a Day: II-1 - Yoga Passion

Passion for Writing

Similarly, when you hang out with people who have a passion for life and for being, don’t you bask in their radiant energy?

Tapah-svadhyaya-isvara-pranidhanani kriya-yogah

*Yogic action has three components – discipline, self-study, and orientation toward the ideal of pure awareness.
*The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, translation and commentary by Chip Hartranft.


  1. Thanks Eve! This would have to be my favourite sutra post of yours to date. xx

    • You are very kind, Susan. Easier for me to write about Sadhana – the path of yoga – rather than bliss states!


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