Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, translation and commentary by Sri Swami Satchinanda

I am fully convinced that I must read the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali once a year for the rest of my life. I started out understanding quite a bit but was completely lost by the time I reached samadhi. COMPLETELY. Still, this is a book of practice and not meant to be understood on a... Continue Reading →

Maybe I’ll contemplate the universe one day

Samadhi is much more complicated than the others. There are several types and you have to have mastered the first steps and there's no guarantee of how things are gonna go but it's still a worthy goal. Samadhi is the total liberated state or full meditative state. To quote the commentary I have on the... Continue Reading →

Finding dhyana, or not

Somewhere after dharana, we find dhyana, meditation. I know, that doesn't sound helpful at all, right? The problem is that dhyana isn't really something that I can just decide to do. We decide on dharana and then dhyana happens or it doesn't. It's the same with samadhi but we'll get there later. The difference between... Continue Reading →

Dharana, when yoga changed everything…

Ardha Chandrasana/Half Moon pose There have been a handful of poses that have really progressed me toward dharana, the sixth limb of yoga. Once we have cultivated stillness through asana, pranayama, and pratyahara, we're ready to build concentration. For me, half moon pose is among those that has helped the most with concentration. It's one... Continue Reading →

Just breath and movement

The fifth limb of yoga is Pratyahara, withdrawal of the senses. Like the limbs that come before it, pratyahara can be experienced in a number of ways. The times I’ve heard runner’s talk about hitting their stride reminds me of the way pranayama leads to pratyahara and then dharana. I was never a good runner... Continue Reading →

Pranayama, controlling my breath

As much as the asanas work to improve our understanding of the yamas and niyamas, they do even more for pranayama. Pranayama is breath control and makes up the fourth limb of yoga. Practicing pranayama in the asanas helps us to have it when we need it in life. Like posture, breath controls quite a... Continue Reading →

Learning to be still

Given that the yamas and niyamas generally align with Christian beliefs, it’s no wonder that the asanas are the first limb of yoga that Americans are generally familiar with. The interpretations of these limbs among Americans tend to vary and I could easily see how yogis are considered to be taking ideas like the yamas... Continue Reading →

Niyamas in action

Mermaid pose is my best reminder of the Niyamas. Explanation at the bottom. Theoretically, one moves on from the yamas to the niyamas once they’ve been mastered. The niyamas are the ethical observances that are the second limb of yoga. What really ends up happening is each limb is it’s own practice that falters and... Continue Reading →

Getting into the Yamas

The pose that most embodies the yamas in my practice. I always have to remember to not hurt myself, be honest with myself about it, to not overreach and risk tomorrows progress, to remember that taking care of my body is more important than my desire to get into the pose, and to let go... Continue Reading →

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