As I learn more yoga, working from the inside out, in these challenging times, it’s good to go back to basics. A reminder of how and why I do yoga was much needed. How we approach yoga on the mat is indicative of how we approach life off the mat.
As any enthusiastic yoga practitioner would tell you, Patanjali is THE guide and I was reminded of why when I did the latest homework set in Yoga Teacher Training.
Book 1 Sutra 14
Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to for a long time, without break and in all earnestness.
Yoga becomes a habit and gives full benefits when we have done it for a long time, without counting the days or years, regularly without taking gaps and breaks and earnestly, with openness and sincerity.
Book 1 Sutra 30
Disease, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, sensuality, false perception, failure to reach firm ground and slipping from the ground gained—these distractions of the mind-stuff are the obstacles.
Illness can result from not doing yoga for a period, leading to low mood, questioning its positive effects, loss of attention and care to yourself or your yoga practice, this can lead to laziness as motivation is lost, replaced by unhealthy habits to burn excess energy and other less beneficial practices to maintain calmness that yoga would bring. This can affect how grounded and balanced you feel you are, how well you weather stress and also losing the condition of the body you gained from yoga, resulting in going backwards. All these things are distractions from the path of yoga.
Book 1 Sutra 33
By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous and disregard toward the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness.
Being nice to happy people is rewarding and compassion to those who are unhappy is good practice in patience, allowing you to maintain a balanced mind and internal environment. Finding pleasure in meeting those who are ethical and morally well grounded and know right from wrong and practice this in life. To not take to heart and internally those who are less morally guided or grounded, helps to retain calmness and worry free mind. No matter what is occurring around you, remaining unaffected to take care of yourself is very important.
Book 2 Sutra 3
Ignorance, egoism, attachment, hatred and clinging to bodily life are the five obstacles.
Ignorance of the Self and our consciousness, being centred on selfishness and our own self gain or importance, avoiding or shunning things and people we dislike, clinging to things we like and fearing death, not working towards an after life only finding meaning in this life and possessions are obstacles to the yoga path. To our journey towards knowledge, light and immortality.
No one said it was going to be easy.