Last April I was fortunate enough to take a 3-month yoga teacher training course.
Although I fell in love with the practice (asana), aka poses, I was captivated by the psychological, emotional and spiritual teachings of The Yoga Sutras.
There are 196 Yoga Sutras, that study the mind, heart, and soul, offering insights into how we can live a life of continuous peace and joy. These ancient Indian teachings help us see life from a multiple -dimensional perspective in a similar way art or music elicits a different feeling in each of us. Although there are undying teachings of the yoga sutras, how you choose to incorporate them into your life is unique to your personality, identity, and intricacies.
Here are 3 Yoga Sutras that I practice daily and highly recommend.
PURUSA- Pure Inner Light of Awareness
“A conscious, intelligent awareness that is quiet, still, and changeless.”
As we age, the physical body changes, but the inner spirit of who we are is constant. You can view your inner light, or soul, as your home-base, so when things go awry in your life, you can continuously come back to yourself for refuge, comfort, and security.
Introspecting and recapping the past few days or weeks is a great way to begin the inner journey of Purusa. You can ask yourself…
- What did I learn from ______ situation?
- How can I approach it differently next time?
- How did it make me feel?
- What did or didn’t I enjoy about the situation?
- What did I learn about myself?
BODHI CITTA- The Awakened Mind
“The mind will be influenced by whatever it is exposed to or focused on. Those around us influence our personality and vice versa. It’s about independent thinking…”
This is the realization that we are all one, connected, and not separate. Bodhi Citta, “the awakened mind,” is awareness of thought, as well as egoic and unconscious conditioning. It’s about bringing awareness into who you are at this very moment, and loving all part of yourself, regardless of the “good” and “bad” choices or “conditions” you’ve placed on yourself.
Here’s the secret when it comes to living…
There are no poor choices.
You work with where you’re at simply by how well you’ve absorbed and learned from your past experiences, the same way you’ve learned to keep your hand away from a hot stove.
You are the one creating your own reality.
It’s not your circumstances. Nor is it biased toward your age, gender, race, or upbringing.
Yes, it’s true, some of you have a bigger hole to dig out of simply by the ‘lottery’ you we’re born into, but that ALONE DOESN’T DETERMINE YOUR FUTURE.
Because you are governed by THE LAW OF CHOICE.
Optimal living, or having a quality life, is directly correlated to your internal workings. This includes your psychology, behavior, how you treat yourself, see yourself, and also, what you believe is working for or against you.
Being kind to yourself directly correlates to what you do, try, practice, learn, and experiment with. If you’re critical and beat yourself up, how likely are you to venture outside of what’s comfortable for you?
Life truly is a spontaneous, free-flowing experiment of understanding yourself deeply– like what you love v.s, don’t or what does/doesn’t work for you.
Optimal living is about building a beautiful relationship with yourself, even WITH your darkest, deepest, most painful parts.
We live in a society that believes happiness is found by accumulating things like degrees, wealth, prestige, recognition, cars, social connections, homes, etc…
Once you cling on to a certain identity that’s been fabricated in the material world, you’ll become dependent on those identities to be happy.
For instance, If I’m attached to the idea that I’m the best coach in Los Angeles, and a client says she doesn’t want to work with me, does that mean I’m a terrible coach? I mean, I sure as heck could see it that way If I’m attached to that identity, right?
Ancient wisdom, The Sutras, in particular, teach us that life is about shedding layers and facing our demons, while still going beyond the images the mind flickers.
The outside world is only ONE form of experiencing.
You can find truth in this while traveling from city to city, or country to country. There are thousands upon thousands of ways a person can choose to live his/her life.
My point here is that you create your own reality, and everything around you should be used as LEVERAGE, not as THE ticket to finding happiness. Happiness is found within. Everything else is icing on the cake.
Don’t believe your thoughts— they don’t own you. They ARE NOT you.
Thoughts are funneled through YOUR SKEWED reality, and you have the power to change that reality with conscious effort.
Is it easy? No.
Is it simple. Yes.
Does it take patience and self-compassion? Completely.
But what’s the alternative? Living a half-lived life or going after what truly sets your soul on fire?
Only buy into the thoughts the serve and empower you.
- Why do we rob ourselves of happiness?
- Why do we give ourselves permission to defer it until _________________( you fill in the blank)?
- Why do we put it on the back burner or let it slip through our fingers?
- How can you learn to let go of the stories and identity that hold you back?
- How much time will pass until you realize you can start cultivating the life you want, right now.
- When will you allow yourself to step into a space that’s much bigger than anything you’ve ever experienced?
- When will you allow yourself to TRULY LIVE?
Why deprive yourself of that birthright?
To go after the life you want?
To live your ideal life?
What will it take to take the leap and scream “YES! I want more for myself!”
ATHA- Your readiness and commitment, & very first word in the yoga sutras.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. The moment one definitely commits oneself then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never have occurred. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” -Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
“Atha, here means beginning the study of who we are, where we are, and how we can make incremental changes to our inner and outer self in order to be less involved with materialistic objects (Note from me: or less emotionally dependent on people to fill our happiness) and more in tune with how we feel and how our actions affect those around us” which in turn, affect us.
Your commitment to start a project or business, start a new chapter, or release old ways of being that no longer serve you, begins with your willingness to release the bullshit that’s holding you back and move forward.
Your time is now…
Let’s do this. You ready?