For May 31st Sutra Study – Pleasure, Pain, and Death

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For our next meeting, we will cover the final kleshas, the obstacles we face in life and practice of yoga – attachment to pleasure, aversion to pain, and fear of death!

Second Chapter in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sutra numbers 7,8,9,10, and 11. (translations here from Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanajali by BKS Iyengar)

  • II.7 – Pleasure leads to desire and emotional attachment.
  • II.8 – Unhappiness leads to hatred.
  • II.9 – Self-preservation or attachment to life is the subtlest of all afflictions. It is found even in wise men.
  • II.10 – Subtle afflictions are to be minimized and eradicated by the process of involution.
  • II.11 – The fluctuations of consciousness created by gross and subtle afflictions are to be silenced through meditation.

You will start to see that we are taking the sutras in blocks of “concepts” and not one by one, though that could also happen. Each sutra holds a depth of meaning that can be discussed for days – even each term found within each sutra could be dissected down to an original form that has many meanings. My hope is that we can look at the concepts presented and start to apply them to our practice and experience in a practical way.

Here are your contemplations for the month…

  • What are the objects of your attachment and aversion?? As the Sutras suggest, try to look deeper than the obvious external physical. What are you attached to or avoidant of mentally, emotionally, and spiritually??
  • How do we balance caring and commitment with non-attachment?
  • Can you see how aversion is not the cure for pain or dislike or hatred? How? and do you have an experience/example of this in your life?
  • Has yoga practice increased your understanding of your emotional reactions or experiences? How?
  • Savasana is “corpse pose” – what is your experience of this pose?
  • Change is a form of “death” – how do you react to it?
  • What does “involution” mean to you?

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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.