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 managedto 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-20 Opening to Yoga

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-23 – Love is All There Is

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. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-26 – The Twelve Year Teacher Training

A Sutra a Day: I-26 – The Twelve Year Teacher Training

One of the more controversial statements I’ve made when instructing yoga teacher trainees is that it takes at least twelve years to become a good teacher. One of those statements I heard from a senior teacher when I was a junior.
Is it true? I don’t know really. I didn’t feel completely comfortable in my skin teaching yoga for about twenty-five years. I still get completely anxious before big teaching gigs, as in not being able to sleep the night before.
First a teacher has to find her own voice to be good. It’s not lost or misplaced. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-27 Good Vibrations

A Sutra a Day: I-27 Good Vibrations

I’ve been looking forward all day to a visit from delightful Sydney friends who are staying with us for four days.
We are very well set up for company, with 2 guest suites of rooms and another guest bedroom in the Yoga Shed. It means they can be comfortable and private when they want, and us, too.
We gathered around the fireplace on their arrival for snacks and a glass of red wine, shared a meal of homemade soup and fresh bread, and enjoyed lively conversation.
Then, we adjourned to the t.v. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-29 – Upside Down and Outside In

A Sutra a Day: I-29 – Upside Down and Outside In

If you ever drop in for a visit to us on Mitchells Island, I might take you sightseeing to Wingham Brush.
Never heard of it? It’s a small miracle of remnant rainforest in the sleepy riverside town of Wingham. The iconic Aussie poet, Les Murray, has written a poem to the native, furry inhabitants of Wingham Brush called “The Flying Fox Dreaming”. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-30 – Get Thee to a Yoga Studio

A Sutra a Day: I-30 – Get Thee to a Yoga Studio

When I have guests to stay at our home, I invite them to do practice with me first thing in the morning in the Yoga Shed. People who have had no prior experience with yoga have reported that they take it up after a few of these sessions, and I attribute that partly to the inspiration of the yoga room. I’ve seen even those who used to do yoga and, for whatever reason, have stopped, get a taste for it again after practising in the Yoga Shed.
A yoga studio can be a storehouse of good energy. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-31 Peace in the Garden

A Sutra a Day: I-31 Peace in the Garden

I am klutzy when it comes to getting around on a computer. It doesn’t come naturally to me. However, maybe like you, I find myself spending an increasing amount of time in front of this screen and keyboard.
On some level I know that I choose to be doing this, but probably at least once a day, I get annoyed with this machine.
Today I spat the dummy. For other than Aussie readers, this is a term that implies overreacting to a situation in an angry or frustrated manner. That’s a pretty accurate description of my disposition. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-34 Simple Breathing

Source: abeautifulrippleeffect.com via Twyla on Pinterest

 
A few weeks ago I was having a great deal of trouble falling asleep. Nervous about teaching 9 sessions in two days to a completely new group of students, I needed sleep, but it eluded me.
One of the yogic techniques I tried was echo breathing. I’d read about this type of breathing in B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light on Life. Here’s how Mr. Iyengar describes how to do it and what it achieves:
“Exhale slowly and fully. Pause. Then exhale again. There is always a slight residue left in the lungs. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-35 – Coming to Our Senses

A Sutra a Day: I-35 – Coming to Our Senses

 
Over the years, I’ve done several 10-day vipassana meditation courses. I can recommend them very highly for the fact that they are conducted in silence, and usually in a quiet rural setting.
The downside of hanging out in a silent environment is that for me the noisiness of my mind (citta vrtti) becomes amplified. Eventually, my mind will get quiet but sometimes not without a struggle.
I remember the vipassana facilitator in the nightly dharma talks discussing what happens when we slow down, and, at the same time, outside stimuli are severely reduced. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-36 – Cyclical Thoughts

A Sutra a Day: I-36 – Cyclical Thoughts

A yoga student in last week’s class said that she almost didn’t make it. She might have been vacillating for all the myriad reasons a mind can generate: too busy, too hard, too long since the last attendance, not feeling like it, winter blues, upset in the family, or just plain slack.
She didn’t tell me why it was a close call and I didn’t ask, but I was thinking about her today when I was cycling down to Manning Point. […]

A Sutra a Day: I:37 – Healthy Focus

A Sutra a Day: I:37 – Healthy Focus

I don’t know what the exact trigger is for having to go on a diet – different for different people, I suppose.
Possible reasons for gaining weight are we’ve been on the holiday of a lifetime on a cruise ship where the food laid on was deliciously irresistible. Or how about, visiting distant family and suffering emotional setbacks that could only be soothed by comfort foods. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-38 Work Your Dreams!

A Sutra a Day: I-38 Work Your Dreams!

Source: Uploaded by user via Paola on Pinterest

 
The practice of yoga can become addictive for some people, especially those personalities who have that little bit of a tendency to get obsessive about things, like me.
When I discovered Iyengar yoga in 1979, sometimes I would do more than one class a day. I would definitely be at the studio every day (except Sunday), and I even did a yoga teacher training course only five months after my first class. The course went for six months. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-39 – Post-it-note Proclamations

A Sutra a Day: I-39 – Post-it-note Proclamations

Source: google.com via Anna on Pinterest

 
I’m not sure I believe in affirmations. In fact, I think I read a study somewhere that said affirmations can work against you.
Say you pick a slogan such as, “I am happy and free”, and you write up some post-it-note messages to be placed strategically around your home. Everywhere you turn, there’s a reminder of the state of being that you aspire to as though it already exists.
But, here’s the thing that can trip you up: you don’t feel happy and free. […]

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