The Yoga Sutras
Studying the yoga sutras as part of my advanced teacher training program has been quite interesting. I studied the sutras during my initial yoga teacher training program with Diane Valentine, but the more in depth teacher training requires more in depth study of the yoga sutras.
As I go through this re-learing of the yoga sutras, I’ve found the version that I love the most is “The Secret Power of Yoga” by Nischala Joy Devi. It’s also called “The Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras”. I’ve seen mostly women taking both yoga teacher training as well as Ayurveda training, which feels so right for me because yoga and Ayurveda have incredible healing qualities and let’s face it, women are natural healers. So what better book to read than a guide for women!
There are four books in the yoga sutras, each book has a theme within each book, there are sub-categories that I just love.
Book one, is titled “union of the divine self”. As I go through each of the verses, I come across ideas that resonate with me, like our true nature as a human being
- We are all divine (yes even the worst of the worst of us have divinity!)
- Devoted Practice
- Characters of consciousness
- Buddhi (Intellect)
- Manas (mind or sense perception)
- Ahankara (ego)
- Gunas (qualities- Sattva, Rajas and Tamas)
- Sea of Samsara
- Bhakti Yoga (Yoga of Love)
- Being open to Receive
- Sacred Sound (OMmmmmm)
In section 1.8 – Misunderstanding comes when perception is unclear or tinted. The description in this section has an example of “longtime resentment are perpetuated due to misunderstanding”. Wow, I can think of a couple of great examples of this. Growing up and watching my own parents who I loved so much, argue with each other and dig their heals in on issues that divided them because neither one would just step back an say “is it important to be right” or maybe ” wow, I am so grateful for this person, maybe I should just let that go”. The misunderstanding between the two coupled with the ego stepping in is what eventually separated them and drove them to divorce. I am still sad about that because at the end of their lives neither of them were any happier. If they could have opened their hearts and maybe changed their perception even just a little, imagine how their lives (and mine) could have been different.
As an adult I saw myself following that same pattern at one point and caught myself before it was too late and I became so angry I could have destroyed so much of my own life. Once I stepped back and looked at myself and how grateful I was for every person in my life (especially my wonderful husband!) my life completely changed. Sometimes you just have to change your perception and open your heart and the love comes flooding in!
This post is a little more personal than usual, but I am so inspired by reading the Yoga Sutras. We so often think of yoga as exercise or maybe poses that you want to accomplish but we so often forget that Yoga and Ayurveda are very spiritual practices.
The peace and spirituality are the first two things I gained from the practice of Yoga. The breathing made all the difference. The conquering of the asanas are second.