If you’re ready to learn more about the roots of yoga, The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali is the essential text. The Sutras is a collection of 196 short verses or threads that serve as a guide to help us attain wisdom and self-realization through yoga. And it’s considered to be the basis of yoga philosophy. In fact, each of these 196 threads has a little spiritual gem associated with it.
Let’s take sutra 1.2 which defines yoga: “Yoga is the restriction of the fluctuations of the mind.” This refers to consciousness and the ability to soothe our own minds and encourages us to become the observer of our thoughts through the practices of yoga. Once we learn how the mind works we can understand how to navigate through life. Our thoughts, feelings, and emotions flow through the mind, drawing it in one direction or the other.
To experience being an observer, sit for a moment and meditate on this thought by simply watching the contents of your mind. Notice when certain observations bring up feelings or pull you in a specific direction. Then, see if you can step back from them, and become the observer once again labeling those feelings or thoughts as “thinking”.
It’s a fascinating practice, one that you can do while walking, practicing yoga postures, or simply listening to a loved one.
As we quickly learn, these practices require a lot of inner strength, inner listening, and integrity. When we work on strength, it’s inevitable that we encounter our weaknesses. It may even take extra strength not to be overwhelmed and even surprised by what we see.
In fact, sometimes our minds may get stuck on experiences that leave us feeling inadequate. If that’s the case, allow your practice to soothe you and help you become more aware of your thoughts and your inner dialogue, and consciously release those thoughts and old stores that no longer serve you.
Next time you’re on the mat, listen intently by tapping into the core of who you are so you can navigate this life with a stronger sense of self that ultimately helps you “Restrict the fluctuations of the mind.”
“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”