Category: Uncategorised (page 1 of 2)

Yoga Deepening Circle 10 – Brahmacarya

Yama – Yoga Sutras II.30 & II.38

trans. chastity, impeccable behaviour, conduct mindful of ultimate reality

II.38 “The chaste acquire vitality” (Hartranft)

I have long had a sense of curiosity and slight unease about translating this sutra as ‘chastity’ and the succeeding sutra as ‘the chaste acquire vitality’.

The unease begins with a recognition that its inclusion within the yamas makes it a central building block in the practice of classical yoga as described by Patanjali.  That being so, translating it as chastity implies that a full engagement with yoga is not possible within the context of a sexual relationship.

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Yoga Deepening Circle 9 – Sauca (bodily purification)

Sauca (niyama – Patanjali II.32 and II.40 & 41)

trans. bodily purification / cleanliness / purity / ecology / harmony

“With bodily purification, one’s body ceases to be compelling, likewise contact with others.

Purification also brings about clarity, happiness, concentration, mastery of the senses and capacity for self awareness.”  (Hartranft)

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Yoga Deepening Circle 8 – Svadhyaya (self study)

Svadhyaya (self study) (yama – Patanjali II.32 and II.44)

“Self study deepens communion with one’s personal deity.”  (Hartranft)

“Union with the chosen divinity comes from the study of self through the sacred texts.” (Bouanchard)

“Navel gazing” I thought when I was first introduced to Svadyaya, “not sure that’s for me!”

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Yoga Deepening Circle 7 – Asteya (not stealing)

Asteya (not stealing) (yama – Patanjali II.30 and II.37)

“For those who have no inclination to steal the truly precious is at hand.”  (Hartranft)

“When one abjures stealing, jewels shower down.” (Stoler Miller)

“All the jewels appear for one who is firmly set in honesty.” (Bouanchard)

Asteya seems to be another one of the yamas that by its negative phrasing seems to present a spectrum of action from proscription through to encouragement.  Read more →

Yoga Deepening Circle 6 – Isvara pranidhana (dedication to the ideal of yoga)

Part 6 of a 10-part invitation to inquiry centred on the yamas and niyamas described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  The full series is available at bodybeing.co.uk/blog-yoga-circle/

Isvara pranidhana (dedication to the ideal of yoga) (niyama – Patanjali II.32 and II.45)

“Through orientation toward the ideal of pure awareness, one can achieve integration.”  (Hartranft)

“The perfection of pure contemplation comes from the dedication to the Lord of Yoga.” (Stoler Miller)

“Contemplation and its powers are attained through worship of God.” (Bouanchard)

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Yoga Circle 5 – Aparigraha (non-possesiveness, non-grasping)

Part 5 of a 10-part invitation to inquiry centred on the yamas and niyamas described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  The full series is available at bodybeing.co.uk/blog-yoga-circle/

Aparigraha – not being acquisitive, non-grasping, overcoming possessiveness, non-greed (yama – Patanjali II.30 and II.39)

“Freedom from wanting unlocks the real purpose of existence.”  (Hartranft)

“When non-greed is confirmed, a thorough illumination of the how and why of one’s birth comes.” (Satchidananda)

“One who perseveres on the path of non-covetousness gains deep understanding of the meaning of life.” (Bouanchard) Read more →

Yoga Deepening Circle 4 – Satya (and Right Speech)

Part 4 of a 10-part invitation to inquiry centred on the yamas and niyamas described in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  The full series is available at bodybeing.co.uk/blog-yoga-circle/

Satya – truthfulness (yama – Patanjali II.30 and II.36)
“For those grounded in truthfulness, every action and its
consequences are imbued with truth.”  (Hartranft)

As usual, there’s more to Satya than first glance suggests.  When I first encountered this yama, it was presented to me as a simple ‘tell the truth’ instruction.  Even this simple interpretation raises questions
pretty quickly.  Always tell the truth? Even if it hurts people? How does this sit with ahimsa (non–harming)?
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Yoga Deepening Circle 3 – Tapas

Tapas – Part 3 of a 10-part invitation to inquiry.  These offerings on the yamas and niyamas are not intended as teachings but as an encouragement to reflect on and ideally share your own perspective.  Recognising that we each have something to offer and something to learn and that collectively we deepen our inquiries.

Tapas – heat, discipline, intense discipline, austerities (yama – Patanjali II.32 and II.43)

Although literally ‘heat’, Tapas is most frequently translated as ‘discipline’, ‘intense discipline’ or even ‘austerities’.  Read more →

Yoga Deepening Circle 2 – Ahimsa

Ahimsa – non-violence, non-harming (yama – Patanjali II.30 and II.35)

Ahimsa, at first glance seems an easy ask – it doesn’t seem too difficult to commit to not harming others.  However, closer scrutiny makes it seem like an impossible goal.  Breathing, eating, moving, living in general, would seem to cause some harm to other beings.  Bugs on the windscreen, food on our plates, the exploitation of workers to provide me with a cheap t-shirt (not to mention the ecological harm caused by the pesticides and irrigation used to grow the cotton to make the shirt!).  The web of impacts seems to ripple out from almost all aspects of life.   Read more →

Yoga deepening circle 1 – Santosha

Santosha – contentment (Niyama – Patanjali II.32 and II.42)

I began by thinking of contentment as something the ‘happens to me’, arising out of circumstances, a blessing received.  So my first question “was why include it alongside the other niyamas which appear to be ‘things for me to do or aspire to be!’”.  I wondered if there was a way of considering contentment in the same light.  As a form of practice and/or a state to aspire to be.  Read more →