Yoga Philosophy 101: Why Study Yoga Sutras?

I recall taking one of my first yoga classes in the gym. Our yoga instructor guided us through a series of physical poses (asana), breathing instructions (pranayama), and meditation. It was love at first sight.  As I embarked on my journey as a yoga student, I delved deeper into the study and practice of the yogic texts. In fact, the yoga sutras transformed my life.

Yoga Philosophy 101: Why Study Yoga Sutras:

In this blog, I would like to share a lecture from one of my favorite yoga teachers A.G. Mohan. First, he explains what yoga practice is. Mohan also tells us why it is important to study yoga sutras.

He starts the lecture with the following quote:

Life will be a blessing if we concisely let go. This is one the key  practices in yoga sutra of Patañjali.

Mohan gives us an overview of the text as follows:

Yoga Sutras are extremely rational and logical. It is not based on blind belief. We need reasoned convictions to stay on the path. Unlike the blind belief that can sway us away like a feather with a wind.  We can attain mental clarity through rational knowledge and practice.

In addition, yoga sutras offer a complete guide to obtain the state of yoga incorporating physical practice, breathing, and meditation. Together these practices are called yoga.

Through Yoga Sutras, we get to know Ourselves. 

There is nothing else in the world to give us a greater peace than health, knowledge, and understanding of ourselves. Therefore know yourself.  And the means is yoga.

The Supreme Self in a state of peace within us is realized through the practice of yoga.

Why is This Realization Needed?

Yoga is like walking up a mountain on a single track in twilight. Proper knowledge of the yoga sutras  illuminates the way. While proper practice provides the energy to move on.

How can I be happy?

Happiness should not depend on external.  Mind plays a very important role in happiness. The fluctuating mind is not a happy mind.

Heavenly Tree 

Mohan tells us a story about the heavenly tree. Anyone who sits under this tree gets all their wishes granted. While a guy sits under this tree, he wishes to have a bag of gold coins. As he gets his wish granted, ecstasy and pleasure fill his mind for about five minutes. At about the sixth minute, fear creeps in.  As our friend realizes that he is alone in the forest, thieves may come to take his treasure.  Granted, thieves materialize and take his newfound fortune.  As a result, our five-minute millionaire becomes one depressed and angry dude.  In the same way,  our minds fluctuate without our knowledge as we continuously live our lives on autopilot with all these uncontrollable emotions.

Yoga Sutras – Unique Perspective on Happiness

On the other hand, the yoga sutra offers a unique perspective on happiness. It guides us to attain a clear mind regardless of life’s circumstances. The text answers the most fundamental questions.  These questions were answered by ancient yogis who, through deep meditation, transcended the mind and contemplated the meaning. As a result, they understood the nature of the mind.

Once we are able to cultivate a clear mind and ability to focus, we will be able to:

  • To be clear of the connections and relationships we seek.
  • Maintain a clear positive frame of mind as we go through various life experiences.
  • Even if we falter in our progress, we will be conscious of it. We will not go astray.

At the end of the lecture, A.G. Mohan shares his teacher’s (Krishnamacharya) thoughts on the most important things in life:

Health, longevity and peace of mind. We can gain good health with the proper asana practice.  While appropriate pranayama practice gives us longevity. And the right meditation, can give us the peace of mind.

Please take a few minutes to watch the video on youtube:

Thanks for reading!

What resonates with you?

What can you do right now to improve your life?

 

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