So this Term we’ve been talking about the Yoga Sutra’s.

(“The yoga what now?” I hear from the back Row)
Only the first ever yoga guide book, around 2000 yrs old.

The Yoga Sutras are a collection of 196 short concise statements on the theory and practise of Yoga.

I don’t like to talk too much at people during class, so I realise theres a whole lot of useful knowledge I might have missed. Heres an attempt to fill in the gaps as well as a written re-cap of where we are at…

The Yoga sutras are attributed to Patanjali, who he was/is a subject of some debate. Could be a wise sage, could be a group of scholars, could be a 1/2 man 1/2 snake mythological divine being (see images below). Whoever he was, the most astounding fact is the clarity and relevance of this ancient text to our modern day practise and predicaments of living.

Sutra 1 : Now the practice of Yoga begins – if you miss the now, you miss the yoga. It’s all about the now, Because the now is all there is, Always!

Sutra 2 : Yoga is the Stilling of movement in your mind What pulls you out of the now? That monkey mind maybe? How to make is still tho? its a long story, theres 194 sutras still to go….

Sutra 3: Then the seer is abiding in it’s own nature – imagine being ‘at home’ wherever you are, whatever is happening, kind of like that.

Sutra 4: Otherwise we identify with those movements believe it or not, You are not what you think. Your thoughts are passing phenomena along with sensations and emotions.

Sutra 5: Those movements, troublesome or not, fall into 5 categories Not all mind is bad, thoughts can be useful. But mind unchecked can lead us into all kinds of pain.

Sutra 6: Right Knowing, error, imagination, sleep, memory – These are discussed in more detail later suffice to say for now that all movement of mind falls into one of these categories.

Thats were we are up to so far folks. I did also spend a week talking on the symptoms of
mis-identication with a disturbed mind with a list of possible causes which comes much later in the book but I’ll save those for another post. For now I’ve got to figure out how much of the rest of the book we can fit into the last 5 weeks of term!

The word Sutra is often translated as an aphorism, they are Concise little nuggets of wisdom. A more direct translation is string or thread, the root of the word is ‘that which holds things together’, it has the same root as the word suture (surgical stitches). Heres what I love, Sanskrit is so layered with meanings; the word sutra is also related to the words for ‘needle’ and ‘woven’. These sutras might just cover, the material, the action, the tool and the final product of weaving the masterpiece that is your life.

Every thought we think can have a certain colour, tone, or texture which makes up the overall pattern in the carpet of your mind space. Paying attention to the details we can learn to weave more enjoyable patterns. It might be hard to see the pattern as you go but each carefully woven thread contributes to the outcome. The yoga Sutras are your master weavers guide on how to use Yoga to master your mind.

Any movement or sound is a profession of faith,
as the millstone grinding is explaining how it believes
in the river! No metaphor can say this,
but I can’t stop pointing to the beauty.

Every moment and place says,
“Put this design in your carpet!”
~ Rumi

Not Booked in Yet but want to know how it all ends?
See you you can find a space Here

Podcast from David Garrigues talking about how study of the ancient sacred text help in the yogic quest for self. I got to study with David at the beginning of 2018 his impassioned articulate teachings are a great inspiration

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References and Further reading.

The Yoga Sutras Wikipedia reference

Who Is Patanjanli? 

 Yoga journal articles and commentaries 

The Yoga Sutras online (Wikisource)