In Depth Yoga Studies...Weekend 10

I'm studying with Shanon Buffington this year to complete my 200 hour yoga certification. This weekend was focused on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali--and it was one of my favorite weekends yet.

Sutras are a form of literary composition in Sanskrit. The term means "a thread" that holds things together. They are short aphorisms designed to be concise since the text was intended to be memorized by students as they studied.

There are four chapters of the Yoga Sutras.  We focused on the first two chapters since the latter two are more advanced than we are likely to make.  Shanon reminded us the text was written for renunciates--yogis who pulled away from the world to simply practice yoga. These are the first few sutras as translated by Desikachar. 

1.1 Here begins the authoritative instruction on Yoga.
1.2 Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object and sustain that direction without any distractions. 
1.3 Then the ability to understand the object fully and correctly is apparent.
1.4 [Usually] the ability to understand the object is simply replaced by the mind's conception of that object or by a total lack of comprehension.
1.5 There are five activities of the mind.  Each of them can be beneficial and each can cause problems.
1.6 The five activities are comprehension, misapprehension, imagination, deep sleep, and memory. 

It is interesting to me that much of the intent of yoga is to be able to "see clearly." Or even to think about "thinking" as getting in the way of that.  Before I started practicing yoga, I never thought about my mental chatter as such.  One of the beautiful things about meditation is learning that when you still your mind and turn off all of the to do lists, imaginations, worries, and other activities, you are still there.  And it is joyful. 

I liked Shanon's translation of 1.2, "to still the motions of the mind."  She talked about the mind being like gears within a big clock continually going about all of its work, and being able to calm them. 

It is much easier to hear your spirit when your mind is quiet. 

At this point, our class is close to certification.  We test in October.  And yet there is still so much to learn. 

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Maira Gall