I like this post from ‘Paul’s Musings on Yoga Today’. Paul was recently asked to provide ‘expert quotes’ in response to three questions for a media article by a freelance journalist for MSN on a Yoga related issue. The questions are questions that are often asked in relation to Yoga. His reflections are thought provoking and reflect the intelligence and solid principles underpinning the application (viniyoga) of Yoga.
The Yoga Sūtra’s “nearly 200 verses are arranged in a linked developmental structure over four chapters and look at the mind and its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats within a skillful or unskillful life. It’s opening chapter looks at the question of knowing the mind and acknowledging it as something we can harness to work for us towards a deeper relationship with the source of our being, that essential essence known as awareness.
The second chapter approaches the routes to start to refine a mind that is problematic and unharnessed in its potential. This is through looking at our life and our habits and introducing lifestyle shifts and personal practices which allow us to gather more skillfully the helpful aspects of the mind and be less caught in its unhelpful patterns.
The third chapter tells us that a mind that has been refined through better food and lifestyle, plus establishing an āsana and prāṇāyāma practice can be further refined and directed to subtler aspects of itself and life around us through the practice of meditation. Within the chapter are many meditational possibilities for such a mind to further refine it’s unhelpful patterns so that it works more for us and we less for it.
The fourth chapter again takes us a step further by re-minding us that the goal of Yoga is to go beyond the habits and patterns of the mind whether helpful or unhelpful. Whilst also emphasising that it is the mind itself, once refined, that is the primary tool for bringing about this shift within our relationship with our inner power or Self-resources.”
“Buried within the rich traditions of “on the mat” Yoga practice are many teachings with advice and reflections on how to live more creatively whilst off the mat so to speak.”
“According to the teachings of Yoga, the postural practices of āsana, the breathing practices of prāṇāyāma, and other seated practices of meditation or dhyānam such as chant or japam (repetition of mantra) or reflecting on subtle aspects of attitudes or natural phenomena, sit within a framework of daily living and its constant dynamic of helpful actions and positive responses or unhelpful actions and negative re-actions.”