Philosophy

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. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-18 – More Unpacking Patanjali

A Sutra a Day: III-18 – More Unpacking Patanjali

It’s so very interesting to me – the way what I read or see or hear is open to wide interpretation when compared to others’ understanding, even when we’ve been exposed to the same phenomena. I guess part of what yoga offers us is a system that exposes the filters we have over what we consider our reliable organs of perception.
This is to be expected when we consider the social conditioning and heredity that varies so much among the 7 billion people on the planet. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-17 – Clean Slate Coming

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Recently I’ve been through a painful situation involving close friends. It would seem that difficulties arose because of miscommunications, faulty memories, and judgments.
Although the unresolved situation has just resurfaced, it has been going on for decades, so long that it would take a private investigator working for months to unravel what was said and what was done.
I tried to avoid the bad feelings I had been experiencing over the years by stuffing them down, and just getting on with ‘the rest of my life’. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-16 – Not So Many Moons

A Sutra a Day: III-16 – Not So Many Moons

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Reading this weekend’s SMH newspaper, I came across some pieces in the  magazine section that related to longevity. Let me tell you, this subject becomes more and more interesting as I age.
Toward the end of this year, I will celebrate my 68th birthday. Like most sexagenarians, I have no idea how I accumulated that number of years. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-11 – Retreat to Evolve

A Sutra a Day: III-11 – Retreat to Evolve

A friend recently asked if it was a hard transition for me to move away from the city, stop full time work and live in semi-retirement.
How could it be hard; this is meant to be living The Dream, isn’t it? Peace and quiet, a beautiful natural setting, unstructured time….
However, for me to have gone from full-time employment and the cultural stimulation of Sydney to rural life and fewer income-generating opportunities has indeed involved some gears grinding.
I have no regrets, though, except for the geographic distance from friends. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-9 – Alert, Aware and Kind

  One of my first yoga teachers wanted his school to be called ‘Awareness Yoga’. Training peoples’ awareness to notice what they were up to, he reckoned, was what yoga was all about. He was a good teacher, but appeared to be moody and, to my mind, he wasn’t aware of how his angry moods impacted people. Publicly he was inspiring and wise, but privately he could be quite petty. I’m shocked myself at how often I go on automatic and say things that are thoughtless or my behaviour is self-serving. […]

A Sutra a Day: III-4 – A Feel for Stillness

A Sutra a Day: III-4 – A Feel for Stillness

Are you a lover of books? I am and I have been forever, since I was a wee sprout. There’s nothing better than a novel that you can sink your teeth in on holidays or at bedtimes for winding down before sleep.
I went for many years reading every Self-help Book I could get my hands on, and some of them I actually did find helpful: Women Who Love Too Much, Addiction to Perfection, The Road Less Traveled, Owning Your Own Shadow, and many more. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-51 – You Can Be a Prana-Yogi, Too

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My friend Michael went back to Pune, India to do classes at the Ramamani Iyengar Institute a few years ago – his previous visit having been 30 years before.
My impression was that Michael was not overly enthusiastic about the classes he attended; he did, however, receive a great suggestion from one of his classmates. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-50 – The Breath Teaches Sensitivity

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Breathing is one of those things that is just there. Or, is it? Do you always remember to breathe when you’re practising yoga?
It seems to amuse my yoga students when I ask them to breathe – not because I’m trying to be funny but because they recognise it’s so easy to suppress breathing ‘when push comes to shove’. In the effort of attaining a challenging pose, relaxed breathing gets jettisoned.
There are many theories of how to breathe for best results when doing asanas or pranayama. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-48 – Relaxation Lets You See Things Clearly

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Have you ever done a ten-day Vipassana course? I attended a couple of these meditation retreats, which are conducted completely in silence, in the 1980’s.
I didn’t think that the sitting/walking meditations would be challenging for me because I’d been doing yoga and therefore wouldn’t experience much bodily discomfort.
It’s true that I didn’t suffer as much as some people did from the hour-long sitting sessions. What I wasn’t expecting though was that, when the meditation room was quiet and my body was motionless, my mind would go into overdrive. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-47 – Relaxed Effort

A Sutra a Day: II-47 – Relaxed Effort

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I’ve always been intrigued by the human body and wanted to learn about it. Recently, I’ve been enjoying studying an anatomy and physiology course again. This is the 3rd one I’ve done over the years, but the first time on-line.
We’re so fortunate these days to be able to study with video lectures, monographs, articles, textbooks, and so on – no farther away than a click of a mouse. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-45 – Sacred in the Ordinary

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Part of how we’re wired up as humans is that we are meaning-making machines. And part of how we create meaning in life is identifying with religion, God or a Higher Power.
Me, I avoid using the word spiritual or divine to describe myself. I guess I subscribe to the idea that if someone speaks of him/herself in that way that they are big-noting** themselves. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-44 – Self-Exploration

A Sutra a Day: II-44 – Self-Exploration

When I began writing the “Yoga Suits Her” blog a few years ago, I chose the title because I liked the play on words, not because I intended studying Patanjali’s Sutra.
But, son of a gun, that’s where I’ve ended up. That wily Old Sage has reeled me in, and it’s been a good thing too. Patanjali recommends in Sutra II-44 self-study of the sacred texts, and here I am finally doing it – after 41 years involvement with yoga. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-42 – It is What it Is

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There are yoga concepts which people gravitate to more than others in the same way that we like certain star signs more than others, or colours, or authors.
The notion of santosa is one of these. Who wouldn’t be attracted to the idea of contentment?
It’s not easy, however, to be content. Some of us lean towards perfectionism (not mentioning any names here), which makes it difficult to be happy with the way life is in this moment. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-41 – Pure is as Pure Does

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I don’t know how you feel about it, but I’ve never really come to terms with the notion of having to make myself pure, although this is one of Patanjali’s precepts, called saucha in Sanskrit.
I was raised in Catholicism to believe that human beings were sinful, a state which is certainly impure. I would go to confession to tell the priest my impure thoughts and deeds, which had to be decidedly innocent as I was still a kid. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-38 – Brahmacharya = Balance

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The ancient sage Patanjali comments on the topic of sexual energy in Sutra II:38, and his writing has been variously interpreted to recommend abstinence (Brahmacharya) – but also, moderation or continence.
I think it’s hardly imaginable that modern day humans could be expected to, or want to, practice complete abstinence from sexual activity.
My experience of sexual energy is that it is just another kind of energy. It’s possible to get carried away with it or be aware of and contain it. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-36 – Telling Like it Is

  Do you have pet peeves? Really! Who doesn’t? I should know something about dealing with these sorts of annoyances, but, sadly, I don’t always live out of my wisdom, you know, my higher self. What I know is that if something gets under my skin it’s usually a thing that I’m ‘guilty’ of doing myself. Here’s how it goes: I get irritated when my husband (poor Daniel) says he’s going to do a thing and then he doesn’t. More often than not, he’ll get there in his own sweet time, but not in my time frame. […]

A Sutra a Day: II-34 – Reversing Suffering

  I’ve been a member of a book club for a couple of years now. It’s the first one I’ve ever been a part of. I had high hopes. At our first meeting, we went around the table and everyone had a chance to say what they wanted to get out of belonging to the club. Over time, I’ve noticed that I haven’t gotten what I wanted – that is, more enjoyment of reading because of the synergy and stimulation of the group. […]

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