Philosophy


Practice Makes Pleasure

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I can tell when students in my classes have taken up doing home practice. I’m such an old hand at figuring this out that I can even guess at how many practices a week they do.
What is it that gives them away? Well, these students are continuously improving in their poses. How quickly they evolve is in direct relationship to how much personal practice they do.
Another thing is the high level of attention these yoga practitioners have when they attend classes. […]

How Do You Say 'Alert and Relaxed' in Sanskrit?

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Do you shut down in yoga class when your teacher uses Sanskrit words and concepts? Or, are you the opposite? You relish the opportunity to extend your learning about yoga, even to the point of assimilating an unfamiliar language.
Probably you stand in the middle; you don’t mind a smattering of the Sanskrit but not so much it keeps you in your head. […]

A Sutra a Day: The Prize – Holistic Yoga

A Sutra a Day: The Prize – Holistic Yoga

Do you ever set off on a journey not knowing exactly where you’ll end up? Even when you embark on a what you think is a certain path, you still may not arrive at your imagined destination.
That can be a good outcome, a bad one, or simply what is.
When I started interacting with Patanjali on this blog – teasing out each of his tightly packed Sutra – I did it as an exercise in discipline. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-34 – Here Ends the Sutra of Patanjali

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I’ve not been well today. A stomach complaint – severe cramping and slight nausea. Perhaps a dose of gastro or food poisoning? It could have been to do cleaning out a big mucky garden pot. Maybe something that is meant to live outside got inside me.
So here I am, all alone at home, while everyone in our household has gone to choir practice. I truly can’t remember having an evening alone for yonks. It’s exceptionally nice.
And, this is a special night too… […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-32 – A Balancing Act

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Yoga philosophy has a handy way to categorise elements of the material world. In Sanskrit there are three forces called gunas: tamas, which exhibits qualities of darkness, inertia, or heaviness; rajas, which equates with raw energy, passion, dynamism; and, sattva, which is defined as Being, clarity, or spiritual essence.
Objects can be characterised according to the above scheme, and so can human moods and personalities.
Think about it. At times you’ve probably felt yourself in a heavy mood, like a dark cloud is hanging over you (tamasic). […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-31 – "All is Known and Nothing is Known"

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Have you ever heard of an exercise that’s done in personal development courses called “If you really knew me….”? It’s designed to create a greater depth of intimacy among the members of the group by sharing something of a personal nature. By opening up about a subject where there’s been fear or embarrassment attached to it, the speaker has an opportunity to let go and move on. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-29 – After Rain, Radiance

A Sutra a Day: IV-29 – After Rain, Radiance

 
Today is weather-perfection where we live on the magical mid-north coast… Mitchells Island, New South Wales.
I think you know what I mean by perfect conditions. (If you are snowed in in Vermont or Toronto, well, winter has it’s own beauty, doesn’t it?)
During the day today it’s been 24 degrees celsius, with a light breeze and mid-range humidity. Best of all, it rained last night, just enough so all the vegetation in our gardens spread its wings in the morning sunshine. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-28 – Valentine's Every Day

A Sutra a Day: IV-28 – Valentine's Every Day

Illustration by Gretta Kool
By the time some of you read this post, you may already be in trouble. Did you remember that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and did you plan accordingly? Gifts of flowers, chocolates, sweet and sincere cards are expected by many people. Like all expectations, if you don’t meet them, you may be up a creek.
To put this love holiday in perspective, it’s an American import to Australia, much like Halloween. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-27 – Those Pesky Psychic Grooves (grinding out the same old tune)

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Have you run across the idea that your yoga mat can act as your therapist? I know on one level that sounds facetious, but think about it. You put yourself on your mat routinely and, each time you do, it’s an opportunity for you to watch your behaviour.
What are your responses as you practice. […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-26 – The Force of Freedom

A Sutra a Day: IV-26 – The Force of Freedom

Is wanting a bad thing? Should we be without desires? If we covet something we don’t have, aren’t we incomplete in some way?
For many years, my greatest longing was for a perfect relationship with a perfect man. You must know how badly that turned out! When I was able to be with a partner (Daniel) and accept him the way he was, things went better.
When I took up yoga, I was drawn to something in it – I couldn’t have told you what. Nevertheless, I kept being pulled forward. […]