• Barbara Newman

Weaving the Threads of Yoga

Breathing and moving to form poses in yoga is like weaving together threads to create beautiful fabric. Yoga began with threads or sutras as they are known in Sanskrit. These sutras are explained in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali dating back from 50000 BC to 300 AD. Instead of poses, yoga was a contemplative pursuit. It was a way to gain mastery over the mind, learn how the mind works and how to work with the mind. There are almost 200 sutras divided into four sections. The first section Contemplation, the theory of Yoga, describes the advanced stages of samadhi or contemplation and might be thought of as enlightenment. The sutras are the foundation for Yoga and Meditation.

Because April is a time of renewal as nature unfolds, each of the four sutras below will be a theme in an April class to renew the soul.

Yoga Sutra Book 1:2

"The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga." Think of that when you practice yoga. As you move in and out of poses using conscious breathing, you may notice the gradual restraint of the noise or thoughts in the mind. This reduction of mind-stuff is the intention of practice. Gain mastery over your mind keeping out the thoughts and fears that interfere in a peaceful life.

Yoga Sutra Book 1:14

"Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness." Think of how grounded and rooted you feel when yoga is practiced regularly whether in a formal class or privately at home. This is evidence-based information. Doing the poses comes naturally and easily. Conscious breathing is also used more frequently off the mat. You may find yourself pausing and breathing instead of responding to situations that cause the loss of control over the mind. Yoga benefits both body and mind.

Book 1:15

"The consciousness of self-mastery in one who is free from craving from objects seen or heard about is non-attachment." Non-attachment is letting go of things that no longer are needed and thoughts that no longer serve. By letting go of the things and thoughts, space is created. You become unattached from objects and beliefs that clutter the mind and interfere with peace. When the mind is unattached, freedom is experienced and life becomes more meaningful. It is easy to find joy.

Book 1:17

"Samadhi is accompanied by reasoning, reflecting, rejoicing and pure I-am-ness." Samadhi is the superconscious state, the culmination of Yoga, the highest form of enlightenment. First comes concentration and understanding of inner secrets that make life better. Next is meditation to gain increased control over the mind and have more peace in life. When the entire mind is brought under control, there is samadhi, being at one with the authentic self.

Patanjali is considered the “Father of Yoga.” It isn’t known when Sri Patanjali lived or if he was one person or several people using the same title. But we do know that Patanjali is responsible for giving the world the gift of yoga. Gratitude and Namaste.

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