Tomorrow is the first informal meeting of the new year to discuss Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. This text was written over 2000 years ago and explores the nature of our minds and how to practise yoga in order to bring stability and clarity. When I hear or read excerpts from books connected to meditation, psychology or talking therapies, I hear the words of the yoga sutras.
The physical practice of yoga is important to us. It counteracts postural habits and the effects of a more desk based working life or sedentary lifestyle. It connects us to our breath; the quality of our breath affects us systemically. Yoga allows us to listen to our internal landscape and bring understanding to our patterns of habitual behaviour.
Most people access yoga to focus on the body but as practice develops, you begin to notice the more subtle effects of yoga. Most people notice that their mind feels more spacious and quieter by the end of practice which is a huge benefit and one that brings them back to their mats for regular classes sometimes leading to individual lessons and a more regular home practice. For some, their interest is piqued and they being to ask questions about yoga practice and philosophy. This is the aim of these Friday afternoon meetings. A space to introduce the yoga sutras.
There are online meetings for one hour every three weeks. So far we have looked at what drew us to our practice and the definition of yoga in the yoga sutras: yogaḥ citta vṛtti nirodhaḥ. This is the second sutra of the first chapter it says: Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object & sustain that direction without any distractions. We then talked about purusa and prakrti: the subtle and gross aspects of the universe. We never quite got to the five activities of the mind, the panca vrtti. Tomorrow, this is our starting point and as serendipity would have it, my philosophy chat with my teachers last week was this exact subject. What a bonus, you’re in for a treat!
When we begin to understand the nature of mind, we begin to understand our motivations and our interactions with others. In yoga philosophy, the mind or citta is linked to the process of perception. It includes thoughts, feelings, emotions and experiences. Tomorrow will just be the start and I am sure there will be plenty of discussion. If you would like to join us please book online or send me a message. Here is some more information: Coffee Pot Philosophy
I had the idea for our philosophy discussions when I attended Gail and Dave’s group chats. Dave was one of my teachers for my yoga teacher and yoga therapy qualification. If you would like to join Gail and Dave for their discussions (between them they have more than 60 years experience), you can contact them via: Living Yoga Malvern