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-40 – Are Devices Vices?

A Sutra a Day: I-40 – Are Devices Vices?

I love my iPhone. I was an early adopter. Not because of any nifty apps I could get, of which there were few and far between back then. But I just loved the way the iPhone could display photos, and, lord knows, I have a lot of images.
I am not a luddite. I wonder, though, whether all the screens we view all through the day are serving our health. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-41 Polishing the Jewel

A Sutra a Day: I-41 Polishing the Jewel

(If you are irritated by every rub, how will you get polished? – Rumi)
I’m trying on being philosophical about having lost a post that took me the better part of an hour to compose. Hey, I’m slow at this, even after 2.5 yrs. on “Yoga Suits Her”.
So, the gist of what I want to say is: I’ve been resisting like crazy writing about the next few Sutra. They relate to experiences I have never had. Fortunately, Chapter One is almost complete, and Chapter Two is more the realm of mere mortals like me.
Fortunately T.K.V. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-43 – Still Motion

A Sutra a Day: I-43 – Still Motion

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I have become a writing machine. I’ve been churning out words all day at my computer.
Some of these words have to do with an infusion of new material on the YogaAnywhere FB site. Some relate to a new Yogaanywhere Wordpress site that is coming down the highway very soon – watch this space! Other writing relates to a great new newsletter about to be birthed this week. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-44 – Letting Go of Posturing

A Sutra a Day: I-44 – Letting Go of Posturing

There are many yoga practices: mental, physical, emotional, physical. One sort of yoga practice I do is letting go of certain ideas I believe to be true, for instance the notion that I’m not any good at speak off the cuff in front of a camera.
Here’s an example from today:
We spent a little time this afternoon making some videos that will probably find their way onto one of my websites. The purpose is to educate people and perhaps sell things.
I don’t feel comfortable in front of cameras. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-45 – Forces of Nature

A Sutra a Day: I-45 – Forces of Nature

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With the southerly gale forces blowing up from Antarctica this week (or so it seems), have you started putting on some weight? A small fat layer to insulate from the perverse winter winds. It’s allowed, isn’t it? After all, we’ll just cover up with skivvies, fleecies, and beanies anyway.
In yoga we can make adjustments to our diets by considering the gunas – the three qualities of nature that contribute to how we show up in the world. They are called sattwa, rajas and tamas. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-46 Thanks to the Guru

A Sutra a Day: I-46 Thanks to the Guru

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I saw a photo of B.K.S. Iyengar on Facebook yesterday, taken at the Yoga Institute in Pune, India. He was being celebrated on the occasion of Guru Poornima, the festival that gives disciples an opportunity to offer gratitude to their gurus.
The last time I saw Mr. Iyengar was in Bronte Park (Sydney) where he was being interviewed for a radio program back in the 90’s. He has always been a man of considerable force in the world which has earned him a nomination for The Greatest Indian award. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-47 – Body Awareness

A Sutra a Day: I-47 – Body Awareness

Perhaps this is too serious a topic for a Friday night, but, hey, we’re up to it! The subject relates to the sutra of the day – how we know ourselves.
Here’s a lovely video that I think illustrates an idea from Goethe: “being a wheel rolling from its own centre.” This is a simple, accessible video class from a series by American, John McConnell, and it’s called “Knowing Yourself Through Awareness.”

I learned yoga with a great deal of emphasis on the physical; this is the way Iyengar yoga presents itself to the untrained. […]

A Sutra a Day: I-50 The Ultimate

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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. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-1 – Yoga Passion

A Sutra a Day: II-1 – Yoga Passion

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). […]

A Sutra a Day: II-1 (Part 2) Self-Perception

A Sutra a Day: II-1 (Part 2) Self-Perception

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If you want to put your spiritual progress or personal development to the test, just wait for the people closest to you (and usually the ones you love the most) to annoy you. It won’t happen in the honeymoon period as with newborn children or newlyweds, but just give it time.
This morning my dear husband informed me (as Dame Edna would say, ‘in the most caring way’) that he thought “my fuse was getting shorter”. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-1 (Part 3) Whole and Complete

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I had an opportunity to teach a group of boys a number of years ago who attended Sydney Grammar School. The boys’ music department teacher was a student of mine, and he felt that these boys who were music students would benefit from some sessions.
I prepared my lessons for a group of 14 boys, but only 11 of them came along for yoga. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-2 – Mental Soother

A Sutra a Day: II-2 – Mental Soother

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One of the main things that gets me out to the Yoga Shed early each morning is the fact that doing practice helps soothe my mind.
The mental benefits of practice never interested me in the beginning. I thought yoga was going to help with weight loss and build muscles. And, I admit, the show-off in me liked the fact that even from my first class, I could do some advanced poses.
Soothing the eddies of the mind – citta vrtti nirodha – seems much more important as I’ve gotten older. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-3 – The Field of Good Deeds

A Sutra a Day: II-3 – The Field of Good Deeds

If you’re a yoga teacher, have your yoga classes been suffering the winter blahs. It’s common during the Australian winter that class sizes can decrease and even become minuscule.
In one of the sessions I teach, the numbers attending have dropped right off for a variety of reasons: school holidays, winter flues and colds, sprained ankles or broken arms, work conflicts – all the usual stuff.
I think I’m way beyond taking this lack of students personally. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-4 – Plant Now, Harvest Later

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Did you enjoy a gloriously sunny winter day today? I did. It called to me to get into the garden and weed and plant.
I’m a metropolitan girl from places like Chicago, New York and Sydney. Gardening is not my first language. What does that matter, though,  when Nature calls?
There’s rocket, lettuce and dill in the dirt now. I’ve checked the weather report and it will be cold over the next few days but not frosty. […]

A Sutra A Day: II-6 Show Us Your I.D.

A Sutra A Day: II-6 Show Us Your I.D.

 

Recently I’ve been contacted through my presence on the internet by some classmates from grammar school and high school. This is good, as these connections sort of fell away, but not because I intended them to.
These reunions got me thinking about who I was at these different stages in my life and my family situation at the time. I feel like I’ve become an entirely different person, not just grown-up, but someone who has reconciled with past issues and healed emotional wounds.
Of course this is just a subjective experience. […]

A Sutra A Day: II-7 Attraction, Attachment & Desire

A Sutra A Day: II-7 Attraction, Attachment & Desire

I’ll let you in on a secret. I love dogs. For the first half of my life, I always had dogs as pets, sometimes litters of them. I can hardly walk past a dog on the street or on the beach without stopping to have a little pat and hello.

Now I live on four acres in the country and I don’t have a dog, not because I don’t want one, but because I travel often and I don’t think it’s fair to a canine to leave him in the kennel. […]

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