Uncategorized,  Yoga Philosophy,  Yoga Sutras

Yoga Sutras For Everyday Life: Go Beyond the Story

Many scholars see the first book of the Yoga Sutras as being for spiritually advanced people and that the second book, which is about practice,  as being for the rest of us! The first book is for those who are ready to go deep below the surface of the ocean of yoga. It is not enough to merely read it. This book is has been called, “the portion on contemplation”. Unless you are enlightened or extraordinarily aware, it is impossible to understand without contemplation and meditation on its words. If after reading this, you are confused or you want to know more, I recommend study of the teachings of Mooji and Adyashanti which are both on You Tube.



Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

1:3 Then the Seer Abides In his Own Nature


You are not your thoughts. How do we know this? Because in order for the thoughts to be perceived, they have to be seen. What is actually seeing the thoughts? Can that which is seeing the thoughts be seen? You are not what is being seen. You are the perceiver.

Here is another way to look at it. You are the blank white movie screen. The movie is your thoughts being made manifest. When the movie plays, you can no longer see the blank white screen but it is always there steady and unchanging.

In order to abide in your own  nature, you have to still the thoughts. This is the purpose of yoga.

Modern Day Application

We must realize that the movie is temporary. The thoughts are temporary. The only thing that stays when the movie turns off is the white screen. That which sees is what is left. That is the only thing that is real.

Eka Pada Viparita Dandasana

Why Is It Important?

Back to the movie analogy. Movies are fun. When we watch them, we often get lost in them.  We feel what the actors feel. The scenes and words touch our hearts. We laugh. We get excited. We jump when we are scared. When the movie is over, we go home. From time to time, we think back on the movie. We discuss it with friends. However, we know that it was not real.

The same is true for our life. It is the ultimate movie. If feels amazingly real. However, it is one of the most advanced and amazing illusions ever created. That which is seeing the movie, is the real you.

When we realize that life is an illusion, we stop taking life so seriously. We learn how to play with life and play in life. We discover that we can reinvent ourselves from moment to moment.  We stop seeing moments as things that define us but as phenomena to be experienced. Life becomes rich, expansive and fun.


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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