Happy weekend yogis! I have something a little new and different for you. Usually my posts are a bit ego-centric. I justify it to myself that it is showing how everyone has similar stresses, struggles, and successes… However, I would like to start a weekly post that will (hopefully) pass on some of the valuable information that I am learning through this process. There is a bit of background information you need to know before I get into the details, though…
I generally classify myself as agnostic. Many people believe that since the existence of God (or an analogous omniscient/omnipresent/omnipotent life-force) cannot be scientifically proven, then He/it cannot exist. I actually take it a step further, and believe that since science has also not proven that He/it does NOT exist, then there is no way I can know one way or the other.
So, not surprisingly, when I started doing yoga, I was 100% NOT into the philosophy/spirituality behind it. It all seemed pretty crazy to me before I got into it more. During teacher training, we have had to read/digest the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. I rebelled against this a bit. Not only did I start off being quite cynical of what I perceived to be the religious side of yoga, but I was also very resistant to the study of its philosophy. (I may have said this before, but I have always hated philosophy, since I see it as just conjecture.) Anyway, the more I got into yoga and the sutras, the more I realized that it actually makes sense to me.
The Yoga Sutra is not a strictly head-in-the-clouds philosophical text. It provides practical instructions on how to practice yoga to find your true self. (Now, when I use the word “yoga” in reference to the Yoga Sutras, I do not mean Hatha yoga, otherwise known as the popular yoga we see today, with all of the postures. This is actually just one of 8 sections to yogic practice.) They are broken up into four books:
- Book 1 – Portion on Contemplation
- Book 2 – Portion on Practice
- Book 3 – Portion on Accomplishments
- Book 4 – Portion on Absoluteness
I NEVER thought I would say this, but the sutras have actually helped me a lot. I can feel myself becoming much calmer and better able to deal with the stresses in my daily life. So, I thought that I would start posting a sutra every Saturday with an explanation of the meaning in the hopes that someone else could benefit as well. It may help you out, it may not. :) But, it cannot hurt, right? So, without further ado…
1. Now the exposition of yoga is being made.
The first sutra in the Portion on Contemplation simply states the purpose of the book. Not so deep, right? Patanjali wanted to ensure that in the very first sentence, he stated that the Yoga Sutra is not some philosophical text with no practical application. With the dedicated practice of what is described in this text, one can achieve anything they set out to achieve.