Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thoughts from Kaivalya of the Cyber Shala on Sutra 1.32

...just had to share some beautifully written thoughts by a fellow blogger and member of the cyber shala...

If you haven't checked out Kaivalya's blog yet, now's the time! It's a great record of the ups and downs of incorporating yoga practice into your life, written with a great sense of humor!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Quieting the Mind

Yoga Sutra 1.32:
"Adherence to single-minded effort prevents these impediments."
-Iyengar translation

At this point in my journey through the Yoga Sutras, I'm starting to wonder if the whole book couldn't be summed up by Pattabhi Jois when he said "Practice and all is coming." Patanjali's main theme thus far seems to be: Choose a practice. Keep practicing.

Despite having met all of the obstacles at one point or another, I do keep practicing. The lust for handstand may be what gets me out of bed and onto the mat, but the work of paying attention is the same.

It's interesting to me that Patanjali says the important thing is to maintain "single-minded effort", but doesn't say that any one practice is better than any other provided that the object of meditation is "conducive to steadiness of consciousness" (sutra 1.39). The emphasis seems to be on staying with the chosen practice for the long-term.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


As I continue to juggle all the things that are important to me, I wonder if, as "householders", we have in some ways chosen a more challenging path than a renunciate. Probably, if I really did move to a cave with nothing but my own mind for company, I'd find that the challenges were different ones, but equally demanding. All the same, as I work to keep balance, I wonder if the choice to stay engaged with the multiple aspects of "householding" life is one of the more difficult choices we make....and one of the most rewarding?
...makes me think...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Yoga Sutra on Saddness and Frustration

Yoga Sutra 1.31:

"Sorrow, despair, unsteadiness of the body and irregular breathing further distract the citta."
-translation by B.K.S. Iyengar

...or another translation...

"Suffering and frustration, unsteadiness of body, inhalation and exhalation result from the distractions."
-translation by Maehle

We bring everything that we are with us to the mat. Whatever I'm feeling definitely shows itself in my physical practice. When I'm frustrated or upset, my teacher can hear it in my breath...and I can hear that in the breath of my students as well. One of the most challenging times for me to do a strong yoga asana practice is when I'm genuinely hurting over something. The Ashtanga asana practice requires an amazing amount of openness, putting us in a vulnerable place. It's hard to go there when you're in a moment where you really want to close in and put the armor up. On the other hand, when I have managed it, those have been some of the most rewarding practices.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Yoga Sutra: Obstacles to Practice

...we rejoin Patanjali's Yoga Sutra at sutra 1.30:

"These obstacles are disease, inertia, doubt, heedlessness, laziness, indiscipline of the senses, erroneous views, lack of perseverance, and backsliding."

-translation by B.K.S. Iyengar

My personal nemesis is inertia, probably followed closely behind by doubt. The hardest part of anything for me, yoga practice included, is just getting started. Once I do get started, self-doubts are often not far behind. I remedy this by setting aside time with my yoga teacher and with practice groups whenever I can. A nudge in the right direction from my teacher or a friend can definitely go a long way to help me keep the practice momentum going.