The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Several years ago I decided that it was about time that I read the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. I was well into my fourth decade as a yoga practitioner and somehow I’d managed to skirt any serious study of the Old Sage.

I thought that Yoga Suits Her would suit a sort of online self-study forum for me and my readers as well.
Each night for 9 months I sat down at my computer and worked my way through all 196 sutra. I relied on the wise interpretations of teachers, such as by Georg Feurerstein, B.K.S. Iyengar and T.K.V. Desikachar. But more importantly, I wove in my everyday experiences to make the sutra relevant to me and others.

It was a sort of dusting off of the old text, and hopefully ‘with all due respect.’

Here they are!

A Sutra a Day: I-13 – What Matters

A friend and colleague has said that, rather than practising yoga to achieve a perfect posture, we should be aiming to be nicer people.
As simplistic as that sounds, it’s not simple.
The loftiest goal that I have for myself is to live life in love, i.e., to be a loving person. The trouble with having a high aim is that it makes an annoying foil for all opposing qualities. […]

A Sutra A Day: I-14 – "Do Practice and All is Coming"

I’m sometimes embarrassed to say that I do weights workouts a couple of times a week. I guess I perceive that, in the yoga world, the tools of the practice are meant to cater to the care and keeping of our body/minds on every level. We don’t necessarily need the gym.
I suppose if I did enough handstands, forearm balances, dog poses, and chaturangas, those poses would make my bones healthy and strong. But I don’t do them a lot. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-15 – Detachment Begins At Home

A strange thing happened this morning, a disturbing thing for me.
Yesterday we had a house guest who was travelling north to Queensland and wanted accommodation overnight. After her arrival, we shared a meal, chatted, and then I set her up in a comfy bed. I suggested breakfast and a beach walk the next morning before she had to continue her drive.
After my early morning yoga practice, I headed off to make breakfast for us and discovered a good-by letter from our guest on the kitchen bench top. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-16 – To Prop or Not to Prop

The air this morning was clean, fresh and cool from last night’s gentle showers.  A good time, I thought for practising pranayama.
I thought of another goal when I went out to the Yoga Shed to practice. I wanted to incorporate the poses that I will teach in one of the sessions of the Byron Yoga Therapy Course next week.
You’d know if you’ve ever been to my yoga classes that I get students to use props for almost every pose. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-17 – Music of the Mat

In 1979, the incomparable violinist, Isaac Stern, travelled to China to give concerts and master classes. The Academy Award-winning film – From Mao to Mozart – is based on Stern’s experience of performing and teaching in China.
For Stern the biggest disappointment of the his visit to China was that the musicians, while technically adept, played mechanically and without feeling. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-18 – Busy Doing Nothing

A Sutra a Day: I-18 – Busy Doing Nothing

Sitting by the fire on a wet Sunday afternoon, I’m glad for the portability of this iPad that lets me communicate to the world in comfort wherever I like.
It’s a quiet winter day here on our Mitchells Island property. Perhaps as a consequence of the peace all around – i.e., the phone hasn’t rung, there’s no music playing, Daniel is at his desk doing our books – my head is empty of anecdotes or wisdom to share.
Part of me is mentally leaning towards Byron Bay where the Yoga Therapy course is just kicking off today. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-19 – Perplexing Patanjali

A Sutra a Day: I-19 – Perplexing Patanjali

It’s late and I’ve delayed posting tonight, not sure whether I should go east, west, north or south with my writing. I’ve looked into Patanjali and tried to scry the meaning of a sutra that seems as elusive as the track Venus will make across the sun in a day or two.
I suppose this is all right…to not have it figured out. This sutra is in the first chapter which is about samadhi, a state I have not experienced. This sutra references re- incarnation which I can’t quite align with. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-20 Opening to Yoga

I saw a wonderful video presented as a Ted Talk with  Brené Brown speaking on “The Power of Vulnerability”. I ‘d seen it before and loved the vulnerability Brene Brown demonstrates. It held me completely on second viewing, as Brown’s talk is entertaining as well as inspiring.

In the spirit of being open with you, watching this video encouraged me to share a bit of writing I did a while back in a life stories course. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-21 Yoga Everywhere

A Sutra a Day: I-21 Yoga Everywhere

I’m on the road, enjoying one of those strange phenomena called a “working holiday”. It probably relates in kind to being “semi-retired”. When I first moved to the country launching myself into retirement, I was not well. I was facing major surgery, after which I needed 3 solid months of recovery and rehabilitation from double hip replacements. My mind was still in working mode, though, so I translated the physiotherapy practice I was meant to do every day into yoga practice. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-19 – Perplexing Patanjali

A Sutra a Day: I-23 – Love is All There Is

To be accurate, I haven’t attained a-sutra-a-day over the last little while. I’ve been  plying my trade in the Byron Bay Yoga Centre therapy intensive. And, it was a total privilege to teach such a shining group of trainees.
To be honest, I was pining for getting back in the company of Patanjali, that old master of wise brevity.
I’m here at the home of Paula and Tim in Coolangatta. I would describe them as bhakti yogis who follow a few spiritual disciplines. […]