I have really enjoyed our dive into the wild depths the Yoga Sutras, It is fascinating to me that 2000 years ago the nature of mind was not so very different than today. Mind is multi-dimensional, extremely subtle and hard to pin down. Science is just beginning to catch up on how much influence the ‘Mind over Matter‘ principle really has.
These 196 sutra’s might just be the beginnings pf philosophical psychology from way back. I have purposely kept away from the sanskrit terminology in an attempt to keep things as simple as possible for you. I researched many different translations to find the words that fit best for me but if something doesn’t work for you please feel free to look deeper, translation can be a very imprecise art.
Yoga Sutra 1.30 lists the 9 obstacles to attaining stillness of mind.
Many minds are almost constantly disturbed, so much that we don’t even notice it, we are habituated to the disturbed condition. There are different layers of these patterns some obvious, some very subtle. Yoga sutra 1.31 list 4 more symptoms that accompany mental distractions
- Irregular breathing
So What to do?
Yoga Sutra 1.32 Begins the solutions
“Obstacles and Symptoms can be removed by concentration on a single truth. ”
The ultimate single truth is the truth of the seer and the seen. (Prakriti and Purusha), but the important point here is to be single minded in your focus. Anything that you know to be true and find uplifting can be used.
Sutras 33-39 go on to list other possible principles that can be helpful
Yoga Sutra 1.33- 4 attitudes to take to maintain your clarity of mind when dealing with people:
a) Friendliness towards the happy
b) Compassion for the unhappy
c) Delight in the virtuous.
d) Indifference towards the wicked.
1.34- The mind may also be calmed by Learning to direct prana – life energy, in relation to your breath. This is why your breath is SO important in your practise, this is what your physical practise is all about!
1.35- Steady attention to the subtle inner sense perceptions can fine tune your steadiness of mind.
1.36- Stability of mind can also be produced by contemplation or perception of that which is sorrowless and Luminous. (The inner light, present in all things)
1.37- Concentration on the heart/ Mind that is free from desire, can stabilise the mind. (This includes the heart and mind of teachers & others who have achieved this freedom.)
1.38- Maintaining a steady awareness during transitions between sleeping dreaming and waking states, and recollection of dreaming states while awake can help in developing a single pointed concentration.
1.39- Total absorption in any agreeable things or idea can lead you into a steady mind state.
Heres a 25 minute video from the ever articulate and interesting David Garrigues Exploring some of the concepts we have talked about in class.
I also Researched Numerous online translations. if theres a particular sutra you want to know more about it google it individually there is a lot of stuff written up all over the wide web. I have learned so much about myself, my mind and my practise through my studies, the more you look the more you find!
The Yoga Sutra study site is a great resource with some great overviews and outlines as well as direct translations from many editions all in one place.