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: III-55 – Freedom to Choose Family

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Who doesn’t want to be free?
I, for one, want to be at liberty to go where I want, live in the manner I desire, do work I enjoy (or not work!), and associate with those of my choosing. But, as you know, this sort of freedom is more often than not predicated on fortunate circumstances.
Perhaps at this time of year more than others, rather than feeling free, we fall into behaving in a duty-bound way. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-0 – Freedom is a Balancing Act

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The bracket of dates that goes from Christmas Eve till a week or two after New Year’s is traditionally break time in Australia. It’s such a sensible and compassionate approach and one of the things I love about this country.
If you are fortunate enough to enjoy time off work in this period, you will have probably found yourself looking forward to it well in advance of the holidays. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-1 – The Accomplished Yogi

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We’re still in holiday frame of mind here on Mitchells Island, so in that light-hearted spirit, I’ll tell you a little story.
Two mendicant ascetics had been at their spiritual practices on a high, barren tableland for many years. One was a cobweb-covered meditator who sat sternly in lotus pose. The other was a whirling dervish, spinning endlessly, ecstatically.
Unexpectedly, God appeared to the both of them, possibly as a vision. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-2 – A Theory of Yoga Evolution

A Sutra a Day: IV-2 – A Theory of Yoga Evolution

 

Since we hit our antipodean warm weather in early December, our vegetable garden has gone berserk.
First there were the zucchinis, hidden from view under their giant leaves, which, unattended, ballooned into green torpedo-shapes. Then came the cherry tomatoes. Well, they are still coming, and coming, and our freezer is totally packed out with them. Lately, the cucumbers have been vying with the zukes for quantity and size. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-3 – The Way Through

A Sutra a Day: IV-3 – The Way Through

My husband, Daniel, is a problem solver. He looks out for things that don’t work and fixes them. His clients over the years have been fortunate to have him find bugs in their software and create features to make stuff work better.
Now we’re lucky to have him around our home sniffing out ways to have our household work better.
The lower third of our acreage was prone to flooding during the big rains we had in the last few years, making a bog that never quite drained. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-4 – All Together on 31 December

A Sutra a Day: IV-4 – All Together on 31 December

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
source: flicker.com via Gwen on Pinterest
December 31st is an occasion to which many people assign great meaning. It’s not really inherently significant – it’s just another day.  But we seem to agree that the last day of the year signifies an ending and, because we have the opportunity to complete something, that makes it meaningful.
I live in a small community consisting of three couples and for many years we’ve sat down together on New Year’s Eve and shared the accomplishments and sometimes even failures of the previous year. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-5 – Staying With the Program

A Sutra a Day: IV-5 – Staying With the Program

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Do you think of New Year’s resolutions as being old hat? Do you feel like ‘why bother?’, when your good intentions of past years fell by the wayside so quickly?
Many yogis who go on retreat at the beginning of the year, or attend ‘intensives’ or workshops, do it as a kick start for what will be hopefully a year of regular practice. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-6 – ‘Shed’ those Negative Influences

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Are you sensitive to different energies? Recently I’ve had a few visitors come to the Yoga Shed who have told me how much they appreciate the special energy of the space. Someone of a more skeptical attitude might think that’s a bunch of hooey – how can a room emit energy?
It happens over time… […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-7 – Practising Skill in Action

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If you know me, you know that I don’t have any trouble conversing one-on-one (or two or three) or even talking to large groups of students in a yoga classroom. However, I do have trouble speaking my viewpoints in a group where other individuals are more voluble.
I have no idea why this is, probably one of those things bequeathed to me by my seen-but-not-heard upbringing. I just wish it didn’t still bother me. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-9 – Pesky Patterns

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We have guests staying with us at the moment. It’s the time of year that, if you live in the country, especially near a river and a beach, you will have visitors. I love it.
Unfortunately, one of our guests who is staying with us has not been well. Nothing too serious, but off-colour enough to be a-abed. She doesn’t want to be made a fuss of but, as the hostess, I feel responsible. I end up being solicitous. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-10 – The Most Basic Instinct

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One of the strange but ever present states of affairs in all beings is the desire to live forever. Even those in the presence of death every day have this illogical impulsion. This is what inspires the instinct for self-preservation in all of us.*
I just finished a must-read novel by Barbara Kingsolver called Flight Behaviour. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-11 – Memories

A Sutra a Day: IV-11 – Memories

Is it being too attached to still think about the departed, even after fifteen years?
My sister’s birthday has just past. She herself passed at the age of 51. I’m well on the other side of that age so I think of it as being young – too young to die.
Sue was her name. I miss her still. When we were together, which was not often as she lived in the States, I would teach her yoga. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-14 – What's Your Opinion Worth?

A Sutra a Day: IV-14 – What's Your Opinion Worth?

More often than not we are required to make quick decisions and then we move on and live with the choices we made. Life is usually being fired at us point blank and there’s not a lot of time to reflect even on the important stuff so as to arrive at our best options.
So it goes with impressions of people, also; isn’t it often the case that we sum up a person on first meeting, slot them in to a pigeonhole, and then there they stay.
It happens with yoga poses too. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-15 – Would You Rather be Right or Be in Love?

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Shortly before I went away on a several week break recently, I had an argument with one of my housemates. You know how it is when you’re rushing around getting ready to go, stressed by packing, and completing those pesky chores. I was not at all in the space of anticipatory delight.
I won’t bore you with the details of the dust-up; let’s just say there was a display of anger, hurt feelings and cross words. My lower self was clearly on display. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-16 – Indulging Perspectives

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One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn is that my reality is real only for me. Assuming that others should agree with my world view, and perhaps even adopt it, has been the cause of suffering for me in the past.
When I started teaching yoga 30-plus years ago, I was gung-ho in my interpretation of the Iyengar method. I learned from a tough teacher and I tried to be one. […]

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