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A Sutra a Day: III-46 – Yoga Grace and Beauty

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Do you know people who radiate inner beauty? I do.
These are the individuals who may not have all their features arranged perfectly or be a perfect size 10. But you just want to be close to them and hang out with them; you hope a little of their light rubs off on you.
The good news is that, if you can see positive qualities in another person, you have the template within you for creating what you admire in them. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-45 – What is the ‘Extra’ in Extraordinary?

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I’m looking forward to leading a Patanjali’s Sutra study group in the new year. From writing daily posts to the theme of ‘A Sutra a Day’ on this blog, I’ve wondered how it might be to interact in person with people who are interested how this philosophy fits with yoga practice and everyday life.
Concepts like ease and firmness (Sthira and Sukha) from Patanjali’s Sutra II:46 are useful as they can be applied more widely than just to asana practice. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-43 – Action & Reaction

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I’ve said things I regret saying. I’m not talking about ancient history. This is something that happened just yesterday. And, to someone to whom I profess love – my husband.
Do you know that feeling of wishing you could take back your words? The best thing you can do is to redeem the situation is say sorry, but the problem is the words have been said. They’ve disturbed the person’s aura. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-42 – Lightness of Being

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The feeling of heaviness inhibits; the feeling of lightness confers great freedom… to make the changes and transformations that are indispensable to life.*
Here are a few things I’ve done at different times in my life to create the quality of lightness:
1. Emotional cleansing – you know those occasions when you bare your heart to a compassionate other and it enables you let go of guilt, negativity, judgment, righteousness and all those things that were weighing you down.
2. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-40 – Do You Diet?

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Opinions on what constitutes a good/perfect diet abound, not the least in the yoga world.
One diet that’s had a lot of press is the severely restricted calorie diet; it’s meant to promote long life, although it may limit your opportunities to socialise.
The low carb diet is popular around here because those pesky carbohydrates are reputed to stack weight on your body. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-39 – Levitation and More

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The Sutra of Patanjali are full of interesting constructs and concepts which might just be every bit as helpful in modern times as they were in ancient history.
For instance, Sukhasana and Sthira – ease and firmness – are reminders of how to balance our lives when we’re off the mat as well as on it.
Ten Yama and Niyama add up to a code of ethics that can help us sail through life in a skilful way.
Today’s sutra is a rather strange sounding one but it is better […]

A Sutra a Day: III-38 – Responsible Teaching

A Sutra a Day: III-38 – Responsible Teaching

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Over the years, I’ve tried to sublimate my personality to my teaching. This hasn’t been an easy process as I like to be the centre of attention, and I know that especially in my early years of teaching, I had to overcome being a show-off.
Yoga teachers have a big responsibility to their students. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-37 – Best Yoga Practice for Your Stage & Age

A Sutra a Day: III-37 – Best Yoga Practice for Your Stage & Age

In Hindu traditional society, a yoga practitioner is meant to vary the practices he does according to the stage of life he’s in. We modern yogis would do well to consider such a template for living, as it would help us cover the bases for optimum spiritual development.
The four stages are called ashrama* in  Sanskrit, and they are: brahmacharya, grihastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa.
The first stage includes youth/students from ages 8 to 25 years. This is when one is growing up and assimilating knowledge and values. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-36 – What is Real?

A Sutra a Day: III-36 – What is Real?

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I taught a class to an amazing conglomerate of students today. Of the eleven who presented, the age range went from early 20’s to mid-60’s and comprised various levels of ability. The 4 ‘youngsters’ had very little experience but youthful energy; the ‘older’ group had more experience but less verve, plus an accumulation of injuries and conditions – the ones that come with living longer.
My husband Daniel was missing from this session, his regular yoga class, as he is doing a Mindfulness Meditation course in Taree. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-35 – Sneaking Up on the Perceiver

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We Westerners, having grabbed hold of yoga at the end of the 1800’s, have been in a slow process of moulding it into a size and shape to suit us. We tell ourselves that yoga is big enough to handle being refashioned, but, at the same time, there are plenty of discussions around regarding whether we are doing a good thing, or not.
In recent times the process of modifying this ancient system has quickened, and almost all of us are a part of it. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-32 – What is Intelligence?

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When I was in grammar school, it was common for students to submit to an IQ  test (Intellectual Quotient). I don’t know whether this is done any more, but I felt pretty proud of my score and didn’t mind telling others who asked what it was.
Those who didn’t score well didn’t confess their scores as readily. Was a high IQ a marker for success or happiness? I’m not sure it was.
In recent times, we read about different kinds of intelligence, as in emotional or social IQ. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-30 – Diet Freedom

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Tonight I was teaching the students some abdominal work . One area that gets stressed when people do abdominal exercises is the neck and throat. Have you experienced that yourself? I certainly have, and one antidote to release the neck and soften the throat is to keep the backs of the armpits engaged – as in squeezing in. The trapezium releases the shoulders and pressure is alleviated.
The throat is such an important part of one’s body. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-27 & 28 – Moon, Stars and Yoga

   In a city environment, you have to work hard to connect with Nature. For instance, I tried to stay in tune with the cycles of the moon when I lived in Sydney, but living in such a dense environment, I often found it hard to get even a glimpse of the sky. As a Nature exercise, I would try to observe the moon’s cycles and plan my yoga classes to fit in with the full moon, the new moon, and in-between moons. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-24 – Concentration as a Muscle

   Is it possible to think your way into being strong or flexible or healthy or kind or rich? Lord knows, wouldn’t we would like to think our way to being independently wealthy, handsome and adored? Or any number of other wishes to be granted. We might want be immortal or a perfect weight or successful in our careers. In this chapter of Patanjali’s Sutra on the cultivation of exceptional faculties, III-24 says that when one has perfect concentration on an elephant, for instance, one can gain physical strength. T.K.V. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-23 – Strengthening a Quality

  I’ve been with Daniel, my husband, for 20 years now. We met in a workshop called ‘Love, Intimacy and Sexuality’, became friends, and fell in love. These workshops, organised through the Human Awareness Institute, are led by Americans, and the one that I attended had a married couple as facilitators. I’d come through years of difficult romantic relationships and was ready to learn how to have a successful one. I admired the facilitators’ relationship and, I’m a little embarrassed to admit, put them up on a pedestal. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-21 – Invisibility: A Power or a Weakness?

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If you are a teacher, you may have had similar experiences to mine when I’ve tried to remember after a class I taught who had been in attendance.  When I’ve engaged in conversations with students as they were paying at the end of a class, I’d tend to forget to mark them off the role. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-19 – What Does It Mean?

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I’ve had it in mind for years to write my life story. I suppose I lot of people have the idea of recording their memoirs. I actually did have a go at composing my story, but for the time being it remains just an inactive file in my computer.
I do have a first paragraph for you to read, though:

I don’t know how someone younger than 60 odd years can write about herself with any objectivity, and I’m not even saying that I can. […]

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