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: II-8 – Avoidance or Self-Mastery?

A Sutra a Day: II-8 – Avoidance or Self-Mastery?

 

There are the poses we love, those that we feel neutral about, and the ones we wish hadn’t been written into the textbook.
Some people adore going upside-down, others who tolerate inversions, and those who get a crick in the neck with even the thought of head-down-bum-up.
People come to my classes for the first time expecting a workout and find a class that is more pensive and prop-oriented which is sometimes disappointing for them. […]

A Sutra A Day: II:9 – Good for Any Age!

A Sutra A Day: II:9 – Good for Any Age!

Source: mindbodygreen.com via Kay on Pinterest

 
I’ve been featured in an article in the August/September Australian Yoga Journal that’s entitled “Yoga at Any Age”. The gist of the article is that yoga has a myriad of gifts to offer and the value of them increases with age.
My particular input into the article emphasises that the hip arthritis I dealt with over the years propelled me into more reflective yoga practices. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-10 – Sleeping Angels

A Sutra a Day: II-10 – Sleeping Angels

Source: native-in-nature.tumblr.com via Lindsay on Pinterest

 
On Friday Daniel and I are going to the Central Coast to help produce a workshop sponsored by the Human Awareness Institute. We love these workshops called Love, Intimacy and Sexuality because they serve to bring out the best in the participants – in terms of both their humanity and divinity.
It’s often the case that people don’t recognise their own divinity. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-11 – Retreating to Go Forward

A Sutra a Day: II-11 – Retreating to Go Forward

 

I wonder at what point in history the word ‘retreat’ started to be associated with yoga holidays?
My little computer dictionary widget thing-o says that a retreat is a quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax; or, a period of seclusion for the purposes of prayer and meditation.
Maybe the kind of retreats that have us basking in warm climes, availing ourselves of spa treatments, and shopping for exotic items at half-price should simply be called pleasurable yoga vacations.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m definitely not a wowser. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-12 – Watering the Garden

A Sutra a Day: II-12 – Watering the Garden

 

I was a volunteer at a HAI residential workshop on the weekend and my role was coordinator of the team who did various tasks to lessen the load on the facilitators; basically we worked to make the whole seminar go smoothly.
I guess you could say that these workshops fall into the category of personal development. The almost always involve the participants having breakthroughs and breakdowns, and sometimes the production team does, too. This makes the smooth running of the event unpredictably rocky. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-13 – Life’s Lessons

A Sutra a Day: II-13 – Life’s Lessons

Source: piccsy.com via Marianne on Pinterest

 
I should have had a little birthday party for “Yoga Suits Her” last week, as I completed my 700th blog post. Woo-hoo! I can hardly believe it myself that I have been this regular for so long. There was even an earlier incarnation in my blogging career called “The Ville” where I cut my teeth.
I want to share what I’ve learned through my writing and especially in this latest endeavour of Yoga Sutra study.

It’s okay to write vulnerably. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-14 Do Good for Good Reasons

A Sutra a Day: II-14 Do Good for Good Reasons

Do you believe in reincarnation?
It’s not something that I’ve given much thought to but the concept cannot be ignored when it comes to studying Patanjali’s Sutra. It just goes with the territory. And, I’ve been seriously trying to understand the Sutra.
I get the idea of karma – that a life that’s lived meritoriously can give rise to a joyful existence. It’s just when I think of a person who dies moving on to be born again, it beggars my way of thinking. Especially if the next body is not human.
There, I’ve admitted it. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-15 – Embracing What Is

A Sutra a Day: II-15 – Embracing What Is

I have a dear friend who is very sensitive about her ageing process. She is 3.5 years older than me, and looks at least 10 years younger than her chronological age. Here’s to good genes and HRT! The thing that worries my friend most is the fear that she is becoming increasingly forgetful.
I can relate. I don’t know that solving crossword puzzles and other “brain gym” activities or even doing regular yoga practice will hold back the sands of time. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-16 – Loving Leadership

A Sutra a Day: II-16 – Loving Leadership

Last week I took on a big job. It involved coordinating a team of 15 volunteers for a weekend workshop.
I’m slightly embarrassed to admit it, but I like to duck responsibility. So, being team captain was not my first choice.
Why don’t I like to take on responsibility? Mainly because I’m afraid I won’t do a good job, and also, maybe people won’t like me for whatever reason – bossiness, lack of leadership, stepping on toes, that sort of thing.
I decided to feel my fears and accept the position. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-17 – Smoothing the Edges

A Sutra a Day: II-17 – Smoothing the Edges

If you really knew me, you would know that I’m part of a little community of three couples. The six of us invented this way of living on our four acre property partly as a way to stay out of retirement villages, partly to live in Nature, partly to afford a lifestyle that would be impossible to enjoy in the Big Smoke.
I had a further reason for wanting to live with others. I think people can evolve spiritually by sharing their victories and failures, supporting each other, refining communications, getting constructive feedback, sharing recreation, and working together. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-18 – In Fine Company

A Sutra a Day: II-18 – In Fine Company

Source: amazon.com via Kendra on Pinterest

 
It’s been over four months since I started this Sutra a Day project….
Perhaps you’ve noticed that it’s not easy at all times for me to map my everyday existence onto to the three thousand year old aphorisms of Patanjali (or vice versa). But then it wasn’t easy for blogger Julia Powell of Julie and Julia fame to cook all of Ms. Child’s recipes while writing about how the task was wreaking havoc on her personal life; not easy is the very definition of a challenge. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-20 – Seeing Clearly

A Sutra a Day: II-20 – Seeing Clearly

Source: jade-health.nl via Jolanda on Pinterest

 
I became interested in Ayurveda, an Indian medical system which is sometimes called the sister science to yoga, in the early 90’s. I admire practitioners of this ancient discipline, like Gita Iyengar, especially as she so adroitly combines Ayurveda with many yoga practices.
When I came across the notion of gunas in Ayurveda, I learned that these elements of nature provide a system for assessing one’s condition to see if there’s a tendency towards tamas, sattva or rajas. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-21 – Inner Voice

A Sutra a Day: II-21 – Inner Voice

 
I don’t consider myself a good singer. In actual fact, I don’t know how good or bad I am because I don’t let myself be vetted by anyone. This is very insecure behavior, I know, especially as I might find out that I’m not that bad.
The really strange thing is that I sing every Thursday night with a community choir. I’m in the alto section and there are usually a number of us. So, I can sing quietly and not stand out, even if I am off-key at times.
Lately I’ve been turning the volume up. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-22 – The More Things Change

A Sutra a Day: II-22 – The More Things Change

Sometimes I feel like a elderly person, a kind of maternal figure who’s produced many yoga progeny over the years. In one sense it’s kind of cool. I look out and see all these people who got interested in yoga through contact with me, and even stayed with it; some of them were even moved enough by the great discipline of yoga to teach in their own right and have their own yoga children.
In another sense, I do feel old when I’m around the younger generation. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-23 – Teacher Training, It Never Ends

A Sutra a Day: II-23 – Teacher Training, It Never Ends

Source: byronyoga.com via Heather on Pinterest

 
I had breakfast with one of the delightful yoga students whom I’ve met since relocating to the country.
I was afraid that when I left my yoga teaching business of 30 years in Sydney that I wouldn’t develop inspiring relationships in my new locale. By inspiring, I mean that students inspire me as much as the reverse.
This particular lass has been in love with yoga for a long time and is now considering doing teacher training. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-24 – Holiday from Yoga?

A Sutra a Day: II-24 – Holiday from Yoga?

I’m taking a little vacation from blogging this week, after today’s post. My husband and I are travelling to Sydney to be available to my step-son before his wedding which is on Saturday. It’s an exciting time. I remember the day Daniel and I wed as one of the happiest days of my life.
Is it possible to take a vacation from yoga. Nah! Not really. Even though, this morning I skipped my early morning practice session, and it’s likely there will be a few more such hiccoughs through the week because of general busy-ness. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-25 – Golden Wisdom

A Sutra a Day: II-25 – Golden Wisdom

 

I don’t know how people exist without yoga. Really. I’m assuming you are sympathetic to my view if you have been diligent enough to hang in thus far for a daily dose of Patanjali’s Sutra.
Having just had a week away from bucolic peace on our country property and only one yoga practice session in that time, I admit I really, really missed my routine.
I know that subscribing to too strict a regime can make a person rigid, even overly attached, but I love my daily diet of practice, wholesome meals and fresh air. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-27 – Intimacy & Authenticity

A Sutra a Day: II-27 – Intimacy & Authenticity

  I heard a sad story today about a middle-aged man named David Rakoff who died recently from cancer. Over the years, I enjoyed his comedy contributions to a podcast I listen to regularly called This American Life. What saddened me more than the fact of Rakoff’s death at a relatively young age was that he seemed to have been a tortured soul for much of his life. […]

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