Why I teach the sutras

Yoga is more than poses (asana), even though it’s what most of us think of when we “do yoga”.  Asana does help us to unify our mind, body, and breath.  It can also ease physical suffering.  However, the ultimate goal of yoga is not the perfect pose, it’s abiding in our true nature, which is pure consciousness (samadhi).

How do we find samadhi?  That’s where the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali come in.  They offer us the wisdom that comes with a 5,000 year old tradition.  Sutra means thread in sanskrit, which is also the language of Patanjali’s original text.  The beauty of the sutras is that they can be studied individually or strung together.

The first sutra tells us “Now begins the study of Yoga”.  Sutra I.2 defines yoga as “stilling the fluctuations of the mind”.  No easy task there.  Fortunately, there are more sutras to guide us.

Understanding the sutras isn’t easy, and I’m by no means a sutra scholar.  But I think it’s important for students to realize that asana is only one part of the rich tradition of yoga.  That’s why I include the sutras in my classes.  There are many translations of the Yoga Sutras available.  Some of my favorite versions are by BKS Iyengar, Swami Satchidananda, and Edwin Bryant.

I’ll attempt to highlight some of the sutras I discuss in class in this blog.  Feel free to add your part.  I also invite you to immerse yourself in any and all aspects of yoga which connect you with your true splendor.

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