Uncategorized,  Yoga Philosophy,  Yoga Sutras

How Would Your Life Change If You Were Practicing Yoga?

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali describe yoga as ‘the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind”. The fluctuations of the mind keep us from knowing our Selves and experiencing the world through a clear, focused, and  uncluttered mind.  How would your life change if you had the ability to see everything as it is and everyone for who they are?

“When we see the world through our thoughts, we stop experiencing life as it really is and others as they really are. When I have a thought about you, that’s something I’ve created. I’ve turned you into an idea. In a certain sense, if I have an idea about you that I believe, I’ve degraded you. I’ve made you into something very small. This is the way of human beings, this is what we do to each other.”
Adyashanti, Falling Into Grace


When we are in a state of Yoga, the Sutras say “the seer abides in his own nature”. When we abide in our nature, we know completeness. We know that it is impossible for our essence to be subtracted from or even added to.  How would your life change if you felt fully complete and whole at all times? If you abide in your own essence, you would  not be afraid of death or loss. How would life change if you had no fear?


“If you prefer smoke over fire
then get up now and leave.
For I do not intend to perfume
your mind’s clothing
with more sooty knowledge.

No, I have something else in mind.
Today I hold a flame in my left hand
and a sword in my right.
There will be no damage control today.

For God is in a mood
to plunder your riches and
fling you nakedly
into such breathtaking poverty
that all that will be left of you
will be a tendency to shine.

So don’t just sit around this flame
choking on your mind.
For this is no campfire song
to mindlessly mantra yourself to sleep with.

Jump now into the space
between thoughts
and exit this dream
before I burn the damn place down.”


Yoga teaches us to be present. Who would you be if you were not haunted by your past or you were not afraid of the future? Who would you be if you could fully experience every moment of your life?


Life without a reason, a purpose, a position… the mind is frightened of this because then “my life” is over with, and life lives itself and moves from itself in a totally different dimension. This way of living is just life moving. That’s all.


As soon as the mind pulls out an agenda and decides what needs to change, that’s unreality. Life doesn’t need to decide who’s right and who’s wrong. Life doesn’t need to know the “right” way to go because it’s going there anyway. Then you start to get a hint of why the mind, in a deep sense of liberation, tends to get very quiet. It doesn’t have its job anymore. It has its usefulness, but it doesn’t have its full-time occupation of sustaining an intricately fabricated house of cards-Adyashanti


Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail shanna@ashtangayogaproject.com.

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