Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The Hijacking of Your Best Intentions

The Hijacking of Your Best Intentions

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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

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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

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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… […]

A Sutra a Day: IV-33 – Tiny Instants of Time Add Up

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For some reason, maybe because of teaching some workshops on ‘How to Work with Older Students’, I seem to be preoccupied with ageing. It may be because I am, er… getting on myself.
A newsletter landed in my email today from my friend and colleague Maggi, who was writing about ‘Age and Attitude’. She says,
‘I have a bad attitude to ageing. […]

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. […]