Letting go of the desire to hold onto a moment of awareness allows……

cit devanagari

Trying to hold onto the fleeting presence of awareness can be likened to a bird choosing to land in the open palm of your hand. We desire to hold onto it because of our attraction towards continuing to enjoy the experience of its delicacy, beauty and gift of presence.

Thus when the bird of awareness alights in your palm the temptation is to close the fingers around the experience, however gently, in order to hold on to it, albeit to protect it or to continue to experience this unique moment of relationship with something that is usually elusive, or out of sight or reach.

However I feel, as with a bird, so with awareness, you need to keep your hand open as in the desire to cling onto the experience. The bird of awareness might be happy to rest awhile, that is fine and then it flies off, that is also fine.

I feel we are confused, maybe more so in the West, around becoming frenetic over the desire to cling onto awareness. This process, a mixture of a feeling that ‘I must not let go of being aware’ with an ever imminent desire to repeat the experience once the bird of awareness has ‘escaped’, ironically because of our wish to ‘hold onto’ the experience.

Letting go of the desire to hold onto a moment of awareness allows another moment to emerge, and with it a realisation that we have the power of choice in relationship to our desire to cling to mental experiences, whatever their content.

By learning not to cling onto moments of awareness, as in letting go of our desire to hold onto experiences of ‘light’, we can better learn how not to cling onto moments of non-awareness, as in letting go of our desire to hold onto experiences of ‘darkness’.

Postscript to yesterdays post around the three Niyama within Kriyā Yoga…… 

A postscript to yesterdays post around the three Niyama
within Kriyā Yoga on the uses of the terms ‘self’ or ‘Self’ within
the legs in the tripod supporting our efforts at nurturing a state of Yoga.

“Activities that nurture a state of Yoga involve
self-discipline, Self-inquiry and Self-awareness.”

The first leg supporting the tripod refers to Citta
as the self in terms of nurturing self-discipline.

Tapas is to discipline our eating habits.”
– T Krishnamacharya

The second leg supporting the tripod refers to Cit
as the Self in terms of nurturing Self-inquiry.

Svādhyāya is an inquiry into one’s true nature.”
– T Krishnamacharya

The final leg supporting the tripod refers to Cit
as the Self in terms of nurturing Self-awareness.

“Yoga is awareness, a type of knowing.”
– T Krishnamacharya

Pratyāhāra is not feeding the minds identification with the senses……

pratyahara

Pratyāhāra is not feeding the tendency of the Citta to automatically form a positive, negative, or neutral identification with whatever stimuli the senses present to it. From that we can begin to understand how their external gathering activities stimulate our conscious and especially, unconscious choices.

From this we can begin to understand how the impact of this sensory process can lead us to travel in different directions and trigger different levels of response, often without us being really conscious of how deeply their input stimulates our psychic activities.

From these responses there will be the inevitable re-actions, again quite possibly unconscious and multilevelled, according to our psychic history in terms of our memory, habit patternings and deeper memory processes.

From those initial insights we can begin to understand and interact in how we can resist unconsciously slipping into the trance states that can so often culminate with the Kleśa manifesting fully in the entrancing dance of Udārā Rāga, or Udārā Dveṣa, or Udārā Abhiniveśa, the profligate children of Avidyā.

– Commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two verse 54

Yoga Sūtra Chapters One to Four Study Workbook

Patanjali Yoga Sutra

The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapters One to Four

Samādhi Sādhana Vibhūti Kaivalya Pādaḥ

A Romanised Saṃskṛta verse by verse word by word personal study support workbook for all four chapters of the Yoga Sūtra. Further workbooks are available for each individual chapter as well as this combined version.

For those wishing to use this workbook as a personal study guide then exploring the online Yoga Sūtra verse by verse translation with its added individual word by word translation and cross verse reference index links may be helpful. These translations are also accumulating online verse by verse commentaries from T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar.

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Yoga Sūtra Chapter Four Study Workbook

Patanjali Yoga Sutra

The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Four Kaivalya Pādaḥ

A Romanised Saṃskṛta verse by verse word by word personal study support workbook for chapter four of the Yoga Sūtra. Further workbooks will be available for the remaining chapter as well as a combined version.

For those wishing to use this workbook as a self study guide exploring the online chapter four verse by verse translation with its added individual word by word translation and cross verse reference index links may be helpful. These translations are also accumulating online verse by verse commentaries from T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar.

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Yoga Sūtra Chapter Three Study Workbook

Patanjali Yoga Sutra

The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Three Vibhūti Pādaḥ

A Romanised Saṃskṛta verse by verse word by word personal study support workbook for chapter three of the Yoga Sūtra. Further workbooks will be available for the remaining chapter as well as a combined version.

For those wishing to use this workbook as a self study guide exploring the online chapter three verse by verse translation with its added individual word by word translation and cross verse reference index links may be helpful. These translations are also accumulating online verse by verse commentaries from T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar.

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Yoga Mālā – Introducing a Thread of Pearls on Yoga from Patañjali

Patanjali Yoga Sutra

 This post introduces a verse by verse interpretation of Chapter One of the Yoga Sūtra.

I see this presentation as a Yoga Mālā or a thread of pearls on Yoga from Patañjali’s Sūtra eventually arranged over four chapters. I am endeavouring to stay close to my studies, but allow a little more freedom of expression in terms of choice of rendering to facilitate a more cohesive teachings thread for the reader.

For a fuller word by word Saṃskṛta study of the Yoga Sūtra readers are advised to follow the full online edition of the Yoga Sūtra wherein every word is translated and cross-linked along with a verse translation. This online Yoga Sūtra resource is also gradually accumulating commentaries from Krishnamacharya, Desikachar, Ramaswami from my own study notes along with personal reflections.

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Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two Study Workbook

Patanjali Yoga Sutra

The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Two Sādhana Pādaḥ

A Romanised Saṃskṛta verse by verse word by word personal study support workbook for chapter two of the Yoga Sūtra. Further workbooks will be available for the remaining chapters as well as a combined version.

For those wishing to use this workbook as a self study guide exploring the online chapter two verse by verse translation with its added individual word by word translation and cross verse reference index links may be helpful. These translations are also accumulating online verse by verse commentaries from T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar.

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Yoga Sūtra Chapter One Study Workbook

Patanjali Yoga Sutra

The Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter One Samādhi Pādaḥ

A Romanised Saṃskṛta verse by verse word by word personal study support workbook for chapter one of the Yoga Sūtra. Further workbooks will be available for the remaining chapters as well as a combined version.

For those wishing to use this workbook as a self study guide exploring the online chapter one verse by verse translation with its added individual word by word translation and cross verse reference index links may be helpful. These translations are also accumulating online verse by verse commentaries from T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar.

With appreciation for many years of personal teaching in India with my root Yoga teacher TKV Desikachar, along with further word by word studies of the Yoga Sūtra through personal lessons with S Ramaswami.

This Sūtra study Workbook is offered in the spirit of Paramparā. It is not © and is available online, as a PDF in both A4 and US Letter versions, in the spirit of open source community commons.

May it support those who use it in their journey towards Viveka and Svatantra.

View or Download Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Two Workbook A4 version

View or Download Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter Two Workbook US Letter version

View or Download Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter One Workbook A4 version

View or Download Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali Chapter One Workbook US letter version

Learning from Life – The Wisdom of the Yoga Sūtra Part 1 of 2

The Wisdom of the Yoga Sūtra in guiding the journey of the psyche.

Buried within the rich traditions of “on the mat” Yoga practice are many teachings with advice and reflections on how to live more creatively whilst off the mat so to speak.

According to the teachings of Yoga, the postural practices of Āsana, the seated breathing practices of Prāṇāyāma, and other seated practices of meditation, or Dhyānam on such as reflecting on subtle aspects of attitudes or natural phenomena, or seated practices such as Chanting, or Japam or repetition of Mantra, all sit within a framework of daily living and its constant dynamic of helpful choices and positive responses or unhelpful choices and negative re-actions.

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The Ten Senses or Das Indriya are the gateway between…….

samkhya

The ten senses or Das Indriya are the gateway between the inner and the outer,
in the twin roads of this phenomena we call experience or action.

The five senses that transport experience from the outer to the inner
are called the Jñāna Indriya, or the senses through which we receive the world.

The five senses that transport actions from the the inner to the outer
are called the Karma Indriya, or the senses through which we put out into the world.

The co-ordinator of this remarkable interface is known as Manas.
The identifier in this remarkable process is known as Ahaṃkāra.
The discerner in this remarkable trinity is known as Buddhi.
The observer in this remarkable play of experience and action is known as Cit or Puruṣa.

Yoga Practice is about a re-turning towards our inner life.

Yoga Practice is about a re-turning towards our inner life.

Yoga Practice is about a re-turning towards our inner life. However, even without outer obstacles, we can encounter inner feelings that arise and manifest as obstacles to that re-turning.

Here it might be helpful to reflect on the four pillars of Maitrī, Karuṇā, Muditā and Upekṣā and the role they can have in helping to transform the unhelpful aspects of these inner feelings.

Bhāvana is a beneficial attitude that is consciously cultivated despite tendencies to the contrary”
– T Krishnamacharya commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 33

With the spirit of Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 33 in mind, the cultivation of the four pillars is a practice that can support a stepping, rather than stalling, onto our mat or seat through:

  1. Maitrī
    Cultivating a feeling of friendliness towards our own attempts,
    let alone other’s demands, to distract ourselves.
  2. Karuṇā
    Cultivating a feeling of compassion towards our bodies and minds,
    whatever state we find them in.
  3. Muditā
    Cultivating a feeling of looking for the positive spot in ourselves
    and what we can do well and now, rather than what we can’t do well or now.
  4. Upekṣā
    Cultivating a feeling of keeping distance from the self-deprecation that can so often accompany our attempts to improve the quality of our inner life and old responses to inner tensions and memories.

– Personal commentary on Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 33

Śraddhā – A sense of confidence arising from the source……

sraddha

A recent surge of questions from Yoga teachers around the notion of Śraddhā.
Collating and ordering the range of questions being asked we arrive at:
– What is Śraddhā?
– How do we offer a relevant meaning for Śraddhā to a group class?
– How do we teach Śraddhā to a group of students?
– How do we plan a practice with Śraddhā as the focus for a group class?
Before responding more in a future post I wanted to let the questions sit as reflections for all interested in this topic.
Meanwhile helpful reference points could be:
The Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verse 20
The Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Six verse 37
The Bhagavad Gītā Chapter Seventeen verse 2

Extract from Module One Yoga Sūtra Study Workshop

Yoga Teachings on Emotions, Mind, Body and Energy

Chapter One has 51 Sūtra and is called SAMĀDHI PĀDAḤ or the Path to Integrating the Psyche.

This first chapter introduces the psyche, its activities, practices required for change and the possibilities for practice according to the inherent abilities of the practitioner. This chapter is for a student who already has a quality of a Samāhīta Citta or a stable psyche.

– Primary concepts in the Yoga Sūtra Chapter One

Theme One verses 1-11 – Cit and Citta

  • v1-4 – Definition and Purpose of Yoga
  • v5 – 11 – Activities of the Citta or Psyche

Theme Two verses 12-22 – Jñāna and Śraddhā

  • v12 – 19 – Meditation or Dhyānam as Jñāna Yoga
  • v20 – 22 – The role of Śraddhā

Theme Three verses 23-39 – Bhakti and Eka Tattva

  • v23 – 31 – Meditation or Dhyānam as Bhakti Yoga
  • v32 – 39 – Short Term Meditational Strategies

Theme Four verses 40-51 – Sabīja and Nirbīja Samādhi

  • v40 – 46 – Refinement of Dhyānam
  • v47 – 51 – Final Steps

Is there an equivalent of “redemption” in the Yogic system?

Unknown
Question:
Is there an equivalent of “redemption” in the Yogic system? Getting out of the trouble caused by Avidyā?

Response:
A complex question as all the major Religious traditions have different views as to what it is and how it works.

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I feel reflecting on the recent three posts on Īśvara Praṇidhānā……

kailash_manasarovar

I feel reflecting on the recent three posts on Īśvara Praṇidhānā from TKV Desikachar in relation to our actions needs to consider the Sat Viniyoga or appropriate application of the Citta or psyche in terms of:

Vikalpa or the ability to skilfully use imagination and fantasy.
Pramāṇa or the ability to skilfully use right perception.
Smṛti or the ability to skilfully use our memory of experiences.

And the Sat Viniyoga or appropriate application of Time In terms of its three faces – Past, Present and Future.
These two aspects psyche and time offer a myriad of combinations for reflection such as:

  • Past – “īśvara Praṇidhānā – How do we take the fruit of our action?”
    How skilful is my use of Pramāṇa around being present with possible impacts of previous actions?
  • Present – “The relationship we have developed with the fruits of our actions is īśvara Praṇidhānā
    How skilful is my use of Smṛti around being present with possible effects of current actions?
  • Future – “īśvara Praṇidhānā – What is our attitude towards our own action?”
    How skilful is my use of Vikalpa around possible outcomes of future actions?

I do feel that verses 10 and 11 Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two offer……


This post arose from a comment in a thread yesterday on my facebook page:
“I feel that by now you are surely off Yoga Sūtra 2.1?”
Its not something I think about often from that perspective so my thanks to Ivan for the following reflection:

“I do feel that verses 10 and 11 Yoga Sūtra Chapter Two offer an inspiration for the transition from Kriyā Yoga towards Aṣṭāṅga Yoga.

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Yoga Sūtra Chapter One verses 1-4 epitomise our Yoga Journey in……


Link to download this post as a PDF

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The first four verses in the Yoga Sūtra Chapter One are very significant……

The first four verses in the Yoga Sūtra Chapter One are very significant.

If what is offered here interests then proceed.

Also the first four Sūtra summarise the whole thrust of the teaching.

  • Verse 1. Starting Point.
  • Now follow the teachings of Yoga.
  • Verse 2. Goal and Means.
  • Yoga is the containment of fluctuations in the psyche.
  • Verse 3. Outcome.
  • Then the seer abides in its own character.
  • Verse 4. Obstacles.
  • At other times there is identification with the fluctuations.

Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali – The Raj Quartet Book Four of Four

CHAPTER 4 – THE DIVISION OF THE SPOILS

The focus for these four short articles has been the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali. This is regarded as a primary text defining Yoga and its purpose especially with regard to the mind and the transformation of those things which block our understanding. Its four chapters are seen as a complete teaching on Royal Yoga, known as Rāja Yoga, hence the borrowing of the title from the author Paul Scott.

The first part of the quartet outlined chapter one, called Samādhi Pādaḥ. its 51 verses introduced the mind, its fluctuations, problems and possibilities. Entitled “The Jewel in the Crown”, it focused on the theme of mindfulness. Its teachings chart the transformation of the mind towards a flawless jewel in the crown of our being.

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