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The Yoga Sutras

Yoga what? Yes exactly what I first thought.

I bought the book on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali probably two years ago; and they have been part of my giant book collection, and also formed one of my floating shelves that was in the ‘spare room’. I used to just see them as the Bible equivalent of yoga; and perhaps since leaving Christianity years ago I maybe subconsciously used this same equation in my head, thus pushing away any curiosities towards the Sutras (sutras = principles, truths, definition).

Now of course I’m here in the middle of a Yoga Teacher Training and we have to learn this stuff! It’s quite nice firstly, to be forced into sitting down to learning what you wouldn’t sit down to do yourself in your own time. And now that I’ve opened the can of worms, I’m actually finding it really interesting and totally a needed part to my physical yoga practice. What? Am I really saying that? Yes I am.

So! A short introduction about them. They are 196 Indian sutras (sutras = principles, truths, definition) that were complied by Patanjali around 400 CE (common era), taking materials about yoga from older traditions. (Thank you Wikipedia!). They are they most translated ancient Indian text and forms the foundations of classical yoga philosophy.

Yes. a Holy Book in essence. And in our YTT we spend some hours sitting cross legged chanting these sutras, line after line, in Sanskrit. Ya man. I first found it confusing, then maybe a little sleepy during the chanting, but today upon reading simple Sanskrit to English translations, I found myself nodding away while reading, and finding it totally relatable to aid my understanding of my yoga practice.

And now we are here :) I thought to aid with your yoga journey, and with mine, as I learn and meditate on the meaning of one sutra each month, I will write it all down here and we can go on this journey together. (Only if you want to of course, I won’t ram this blog post down your throat!!)

Chapter 1: On Samadhi (concentration)

1.1 Atha yoganusasanam
1.1 Now then authoritative instruction in yoga

Lets do this in bullet points; to simplify the reading!
• ‘Atha’ = now then. Like ‘now then lets start’
• According to Panini (the leading authority on classical Sanskrit grammar), the term yoga can be derived from two roots – yujir yoga and yujir samadhau

Actually here, I’ve made a diagram. 😀 It’s a tad small, so click here to download it!! (Let me know if this link doesn’t work for you)

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Which chitta are you? Could you apply these things to refine your current yoga practice, whatever it may be? Do you think the Yoga Sutras makes sense to you? Do you find it applicable in any way to your life? Things to ponder during our physical practice..


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