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Yoga Sutras For Modern Day Life: Devotion-The Ultimate Key To Success

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1:23 Or (samadhi can be attained) by devotion to ishvara.


Defining the Sutra:

Joy and well being can be found by staying connected to supreme consciousness. The first law of thermodynamics is that energy can not be created or destroyed.  It is only transformed. By staying focused on the part of you that can never be created or destroyed, you realize your essence. This essence is supreme consciousness. Supreme consciousness animates us all. As we move through the world, we become blinded by collecting experiences and things and lose our ability to connect to supreme consciousness and the world around us.  Yoga removes that which blinds us from seeing the luminescence of the consciousness that resides within.



Modern Day Application:

Often when some part of the “yoga experience” is changed, for instance the teacher moves away, an injury happens, or a scandal occurs, the student immediately jumps off the path.  Yoga poses, our bodies, the style of yoga, temperature of the room, music,  our communities, etc become the focus which is folly because these things constantly change and cannot be depended on. In this yoga sutra, Patanjali is telling us that if we can stay focused on the animating force that does not change, when external changes happen, we are not deterred from the path of yoga.

Why It is Important:

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, devotion is a recurring theme. Devotion or dedication is a recurring theme in all stories of success because it is the key to unlocking everything we want in our lives.  Devotion to isvara, or universal consciousness, is a devotion to something that is timeless and unchanging.    Supreme consciousness cannot be taken away from you and it is within all. So when you are devoted to the supreme soul within all, you are devoted to all. You began to see everything as an extension of you. You become fully involved in all that is life. You can then stop seeking because consciousness resides within everything. Pattabhi Jois used to say, “everywhere looking, only God seeing.” This is the meaning of that quote.

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

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