Feb 23 Sutra Study Recap


We had an amazing turn out for our first Yoga Sutras discussion group – a wonderful mix of students and teachers, levels and interests. I look forward to experiencing the developing conversation. THANK YOU ALL for coming!

In the introductions we found common ground of knowing that yoga has a deeper effect on our mind and body, but being able to understand or describe that effect needs some clarification. The general purpose for participation in these meetings is an eagerness to have some structure around HOW we practice and WHAT we practice on and off the mat, in class and in life.

The first four sutras in the first chapter were read and briefly discussed. But, the rest of discussion from here out will continue to clarify these sutras that cover the definition and purpose of yoga.

  • Yoga Sutra I.1 “atha yoganusasanam” – has the word “NOW” in it and there is a strong relationship in yoga to the present moment and how at every moment we can be “practicing yoga”.
  • Yoga Sutra I.2 “yogah cittavrtti nirodhah” – is the definition of yoga, making clear that it is a practice to subdue the fluctuations within our consciousness…not one just to contort ourselves physically.
  • Yoga Sutras I.3 and I.4 highlight the result of yoga and the situation that keeps us needing yoga. Once we clear away distractions, we can dwell in our own true splendor, but pretty much at all other times we are attaching to and identifying with all that changes. That attachment to changing things and fluctuating things makes us feel unmoored and agitated, creating stress and uncertainty. We lose sight of our Self.

The practice of yoga is a dualistic philosophy. It is important to understand that we are always dealing with and working to understand the difference between Purusa (our true unchanging pure consciousness) and Prakrti (every thing of changing Nature). From this basis and understanding, the practice of the eight limbs of yoga unfolds.

We have decided to continue our discussions with the second chapter of The Yoga Sutras. The Yoga Sutras in total are 196 short aphorisms broken into four chapters. The second chapter (Sadhana Pada) deals with the more practical step-by-step aspects of practice and is more pertinent to the interests of our group. Stay tuned for the readings and contemplations for the next discussion…

The next meeting will be Sunday, March 22, at 11am. I hope you are able to join us!

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Jennie Williford CIYT

Jennie Williford (CIYT Level 3) is a transplant to LaCrosse via Montana, Illinois, and originally Texas. Throughout her life moves and 5 trips to India, Jennie has acquired a well-rounded and multi-faceted approach to Iyengar Yoga since her start in 1998. Jennie loves the experimental and explorative nature of yoga in accessing deeper knowledge of the Self on every level. The practice of yoga can be intense and introspective, however as practitioners we can be light-hearted and open-minded in our discipline. Jennie is intrigued by the philosophy of yoga and hopes to share this depth of subject while teaching the physical and mental benefits that come from the practice of posture.