Teaching Ashtanga,  Uncategorized,  Yoga Philosophy,  Yoga Sutras

Yoga Sutras For Modern Day Life: One Method=Greater Success

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1:32-The practice of concentration on one principle or one object of meditation is the best way to prevent the obstacles and their accompaniments.

Defining the Sutra:

For more on the obstacles and the 4 SOS signs or accompaniments, go here.   When practicing yoga, it is best to focus on one method or principle. When you follow one method, you are least likely to run into the obstacles and their accompaniments. You are also more likely to be successful.


Modern Day Application

Yoga is abundant. Many major cities have a yoga studio on every corner. Bookstores have sections on yoga. Google has thousands of articles. You Tube has thousands of videos. Instagram has thousands of pictures. With so much yoga at our fingertips, it is easy to become like a hungry rich kid in a candy store and grab everything you can get your hands on.  Patanjali warns against this.

Not only does practicing too many styles of yoga cause confusion, it also causes our yoga to be shallow. It is like declaring 10 different college majors and never getting a degree. If you need an operation, are you going to chose the doctor who went to college but never graduated or are you going to chose the one who finished his training and has M.D. behind his name? Our yoga practice should adhere to the same standards. Why short change yourself and settle for a shallow yoga experience?


“If you want to draw water, you do not dig six one-foot wells. You dig one six-foot well.”- Anonymous

Why It Is Important

Ushtrasana or Camel Pose (3)122

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1:3 tells us that the end result of yoga is the ability of the seer to “abide in his own true nature”. In order to do this, you have to have freedom from your thoughts.  The reward of such an endeavor is what the Bible  in Philippians 4:7 calls, “the peace that surpasses all understanding”.  When the world is coming at you hard and everyone would understand it if you fell apart, you will still find a way to be at peace.

This is no easy task. How many people have you met with this peace? It is only had by those who dig their wells deep. How many are willing to do this?

The good news is that your object of meditation, one principle, style of yoga is up to you. There are many roads to one place. As long as the method is sattvic, pure and for the welfare of all beings, it will work.

Anything can take you to the goal, because you are not concentrating on the object for the sake of the object but for the sake of your goal. The object is only a symbol of that. We should always remember this-Swami Satchidananda


“You can sail around and around on the ocean for years. But it’s only when you dive in that you know the beauty of the sea.” -R. Sharath Jois

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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