Sunday, October 18, 2009

On the Yoga Sutras (well the first three verses anyway!)

On a yoga day yesterday with Helena del Pino we talked about Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, which reminded me of that "OMG Eureka" moment when I first studied these and realised that it was all right there in those first three verses. Everything. The whole point of yoga.

atha yoganusasanam
yogah citta vrtti nirodhah
tada drastuh svarupe avasthanam

OK so I'm going to try and translate that as best I can. :) We need to commit to our practice and to learning from a teacher (even when we are teachers ourselves). We need to restrain the movements of the mind to allow the mind to be clear and calm. Then we will be able to see ourselves as we really are.

Amazingly simple and pretty awesome huh? Yet so hard. So hard! :)

To even begin to achieve this we need discipline and routine. We need to start to become self aware - we can only change if we are aware of what needs to be changed. We need to surrender - be aware that we just cannot control EVERYTHING.

We need to look after our bodies and our minds together. Sometimes we need to turn all the external stimuli off completely and listen to our bodies and our minds because they contain the real information that is important to our lives. But there is always so much external stimuli. Even as I type this I can hear the hum of my laptop. The sound of my neighbours' (extremely loud) TV. We are constantly bombarded by news feeds, and twitter links and blogs (and yes I see the irony) and music and muzak and advertising and ..... oh the list is endless. This very typically western situation is why Krishnamacharya believed that the only real way to meditate in the West was by using Vedic chanting (it's extremely hard to get distracted when you're trying to pronounce Sanskrit correctly).

Sometimes I love technology. But most times it drives me wild with the constant bombardment of things I don't necessarily want to be bombarded with. It is why over the last few months I have been trying my hardest to cut many forms of reporting and media from my life.

It's hard but I want to find the right balance.


Donna said...

Finding a balance or at least treasuring the moments of calm and peace to counteract the constant bombardement of technological stimilus is truly the goal. My children's school challenges them to a one-week technology fast each year. It's amazing the calm and creativity that come from that week. Then we forget and return to our crazy lives.

Rachel said...

Donna, thanks for your comment :)

Technology fasts are something I'd really like to incorporate into my life. So difficult but so rewarding I reckon!