A weekend of yoga philosophy

yogah cittavrtti nirodhah

“Yoga is the cessation of movements in the consciousness.”  ~Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, B.K.S. Iyengar

It was the first intensive weekend for teacher training.  Two full afternoons.  Dipping the toes in the proverbial pond of yoga philosophy.  Mary was our teacher and she introduced key sections of the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, using the translation by Mr. Iyengar.  Like the idea that my past karma makes me believe things to be a certain way when it is actually just a projection of my thoughts.  All things are actually “empty” or have unlimited potential.  I see whatever it is the way that I do because I’m projecting my experience onto it.  Whew!

“Yoga is to still the patterning of consciousness.”  ~The Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali, Chip Hartranft

As I read Mr. Iyengar’s book, I often referred to the version of the Yoga Sutras published by Chip Hartranft.  Found it while reading the book “The Wisdom of Yoga: A Seeker’s Guide to Extraordinary Living”.  For me, the language was a little more accessible in the Hartranft translation so I read it line-by-line as I went through the Light on Yoga.  It’ll take more than one weekend of study and reading to digest the lessons from the Sutras.

As Dianne said, we’re drinking from the fire hose.

Mary talked about how each of us need to find our Teacher, with a capital T.  She pointed out that everyone we meet in our lives will teach us something, so we should treat everyone as a Teacher.

My back got stiff from sitting on the floor all afternoon on Saturday and Sunday.  Tried to use pillows to support.  Two thirds of the group leaned themselves up against the wall.  Whatever the small physical discomfort, I was captivated.  Where else could I go (other than enrolling in a university course) to talk about yoga philosophy?  I took lots of notes.  I wrote down the names of all the books that were recommended.  I really liked Mary’s quote by her Teacher that the best way to understand these ancients texts is to read several versions of them.

One of my favourite parts of the weekend was how Mary presented the Bhagavad Gita.  While she led us through a yin yoga practice, her calm voice narrated the history of the events that led to the story of the Gita.  Then she summarized the themes: the yoga of action, wisdom and devotion.  It was such a dream-like narration that I felt out-of-body for that practice…