Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Take Care: Self-Reflection and Constructive Feedback

Take Care: Self-Reflection and Constructive Feedback

The other night I asked my dear husband, Daniel, to cast his eyes over my draft ‘Yoga Suits Her’ post. He gave me constructive feedback, but, sadly, I became upset when I heard it.
Daniel and I have been married nearly 25 years. That’s plenty of time for marital niceties to have faded just a little. Or, maybe to see there was no need to soften any feedback, especially when he knows I want to keep improving my writing. What he said was honest and incisive, but it just didn’t sit well with me. […]

Choose Healthy Living: Limit Future Pain

Choose Healthy Living: Limit Future Pain

It would be a very nice thing if we were able to get through our days and years without pain. I’m talking about any sort of pain–emotional, mental, physical or spiritual. A nice thing, but we know it’s not going to happen.

I’m here to tell you that getting on in years is a further impediment to being pain-free. There are ‘inconveniences’, such as loss of hearing and changes in vision. And there are the discomforts of stiffening muscles and rusty joints. Then there’s the outright pain of that goes with serious medical conditions which can happen at any age.

Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about how I can preserve the relative good health I enjoy. I want to avoid future pain, too, to the extent that is possible.

Is Gentle the New Advanced Yoga?

Is Gentle the New Advanced Yoga?

From the one, the spread of many
Does the phrase ‘gentle is the new advanced yoga’ make your mind do a little backflip? Well, that’s the point. How about, ‘slow is the new strong’. Change is a constant. We see that yoga keeps on transforming almost before our eyes. Slow and gentle may be the next revolution in yoga. Perhaps a reaction to Power Yoga and Hot Yoga styles?
The many ways that yoga has morphed into different styles in recent times is mind-boggling. […]

What Are the Principles and Foundations of Yoga?

What Are the Principles and Foundations of Yoga?

 
Why bother with principles and foundations?
This week, I’m teaching a module on principles and foundations of yoga to trainee teachers. It sounds like a big topic, so where to start?

Of course, The Internet! I googled the above terms to see what was out there. Not so much, it would seem. Then, I wondered about the definitions of the terms.

Finally, I thought, why are we bothering anyway with these subjects in a teacher training? Thirty-seven years ago, it wasn’t part of my training.

Well, it should have been. […]

Back to the Source: A Plug for Patanjali

Back to the Source: A Plug for Patanjali

Patanjali as source
I wonder how many yoga teachers talk about the meaning of yoga in their classes. It’s taken me a long time to acknowledge the importance of doing this, and, to do it.
My reason for not communicating on this topic? Remarkably, I thought it wasn’t what people came for. They came for a workout, for relaxation, for community, but not for talking philosophy.
There’s another reason I’ve avoided talking about the meaning of yoga. I haven’t always understood it. It’s been a slippery edge for me. […]

Kindness is the Heart of Ahimsa: Do No Harm

Kindness is the Heart of Ahimsa: Do No Harm

Awareness and AhimsaOne of my first teachers wanted his yoga school to be called ‘Awareness Yoga’. His idea of yoga was all about training people to observe what they are up to on the mat. His style of teaching, like his teacher, B.K.S. Iyengar, conveyed minutiae of information regarding postures. The point was to get students to pay acute attention to physical alignment and to foster a rigorous approach to their practice. He was a good teacher, but had periods of moodiness. Oftentimes his teaching was delivered with an undertone of frustration with his students. […]

Yoga and the Beautiful You Workshop

Yoga and the Beautiful You Workshop

How is it that our own beauty and goodness seem hidden from us? In my healing journey, the way to seeing my beautiful self has necessitated shining a light onto my shadow side. Uncomfortable as that process is, I know that the tender exposure of my negativity is the path to the goodies, Beauty being one of them.

Introspection and Yoga

Introspection and Yoga

The Gold in SilenceIn August I did a weeklong course called POL which was conducted partially in silence. I didn’t feel constrained by not talking. Rather, I felt relieved. It was restful.Lately I’ve been thinking about my naturally extroverted personality. Is it really natural? It’s only late in life that I’ve been drawn to the reflective practices of yoga: savasana, yoga nidra, pranayama and meditation. […]

I Keep Asking Myself: What is Yoga?

I Keep Asking Myself: What is Yoga?

 Every day of the week except Sundays I do a yoga practice in The Shed from 7:30-9 am. You can pretty well set your clock by me.Lately, and in anticipation of a workshop I’m leading this next weekend, I’ve been mixing up the usual practices I do of a morning.Instead of a strict physical practice which I love–standing poses, inversions, backbends, forward bends–I’ve been doing more meditation and pranayama. […]

Patanjali as Summer Reading: Why Not?

Patanjali as Summer Reading: Why Not?

A couple of years ago I was inspired to study the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. I blame Michael de Manicor of the Yoga Institute for giving me the necessary prod. I heard him speak at a Yoga Australia conference, and Michael’s talk enrolled me in finally having a look at the Old Sage’s writing.
I had tried to study Patanjali a few times over the course of several decades. I collected a number of commentaries, mostly unread, along the way. I decided to take a drastic step. […]

Be Your Self – Better Still, Just Be

Be Your Self – Better Still, Just Be

I don’t usually study with other yoga teachers and here’s why: I live hours from any major city centre and tend to stay close home. I like doing my own practice in the Yoga Shed. And, well, okay, I’m a bit of a snob. I want to study with the best when I take time to travel long distance and spend time with a teacher.
Recently, when the opportunity to study with Donna Farhi arose, I leapt at it.
She and I go back. […]

The Hijacking of Your Best Intentions

The Hijacking of Your Best Intentions

via Pinterest*
The Big Question
I wish I had more wisdom when it comes to advising yoga students about how to develop discipline or adopt a yogic lifestyle. I’ve been asked questions on this subject many times over the years and usually by people who have the best intentions.
The other night at a dinner party, I realised my weakness in being a yoga advisor. A guest who is a friend and student asked me how I balance enjoying the indulgences of life with the practice of yoga. […]

On (Self) Reflection

On (Self) Reflection

via Pinterest
If you’ve been patting yourself on the back because you are advancing so admirably in your personal development, it probably won’t be very long before you get tested. It may happen that you develop a disagreement with a friend, or, you feel hassled by your employer, or your kids throw a hissy fit. It’s often those people closest to you, and usually the ones you love the most, who will really get to you. […]

Best Ways of Cultivating Concentration

Source: flickr.com via Jessica on Pinterest

 
Yesterday I wrote about how difficult I find it, at times, to pay attention. I’m finding the practice of mindfulness meditation gradually helping me improve my concentration.
Another aid for focussing the mind is the practice of pranayama – attention to the breath. Today I wanted to link back to Patanjali and his Sutra regarding pranayama. […]

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. […]

The Gift of Life

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Do you consider life a gift? I know people for whom life is hard, and, regarding such a gift, they might say, ‘Aw, you shouldn’t have.’ I’ve felt like that at times, but fortunately I don’t now.
Still, what’s a life for? […]

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… […]

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