Monday, May 24, 2010

Yoga Sutra 1.40: Objects of Meditation

"Mastery is achieved when the mind can concentrate on any object from the smallest atom to the entire cosmos." Sutra 1.40 Maehle translation

The two translations of the Yoga Sutras that I use the most were done by Iyengar and Maehle. It's interesting to me that the commentary in both translations of this sutra is similar. They both talk about starting to learn to pay attention by using more accessible "objects of meditation" and working up to more challenging ones. It seems to me like a parallel to challenging the breath through asana practice. You start the practice with fundamental asanas. When the breath is steady and easy, you add more challenging asanas, pushing the edges of maintaining a steady breath. It makes sense to me that steadying the mind would work the same way. Start with the basics, then, when the mind is steady, add more challenge.

Ultimately, I suppose the two are really not that separate. Pranayama is, after all, using breath control to control energy and mind. Breath is both an object of meditation and a physical reflection of the steadiness or unsteadiness of the mind.

...I do have the feeling though, when it comes to a steady mind, I'll be working on the basics for a long time...


  1. As a person practising yoga for several years now, I like to read posts on Yoga from passionate practitioners and am thrilled at the opportunity given by the web to expose such a meaningful and simple way of living such as yoga. I thank you on behalf of the yoga fraternity. I read through some of your posts, especially the objects of meditation.
    A very special aspect of your site is that you expound about the various sutras of Patanjali yogasamhita. You also seem to be generally very informed about the sutras and Yoga in general.
    I forgot the verse number but there is an interesting sutra that talks about colour codes to achieve equilibrium of the mind. You may have known about it but if not, it is a very worthwhile topic to checkout. I am new to the blogosphere (but not to Yoga) and I have a blog for now and plan to bring in more in the future. I invite you to visit my blog and comment. You may even want to add my site in yours. I would also like to add yours as it has a wealth of information.

  2. Hi Maverik,

    Thanks for the nice comments and welcome to the "Cyber Shala"...the great world of yoga blogs! I'll be sure to head over to your blog sometime soon.

  3. Christine, Did you have the chance to have a look at my blog? I would surely like to hear from you if you liked it or would more information make it more useful.