It's in weeks like this that my learning of yoga expands.
Let me explain...
I've noted before that I don't completely have a handle on yoga philosophy and history. The occasional tip toe into the work of Patanjali and his Yoga Sutras has been as far as I've gone. Cracking open and glancing at the eight-limbed path has maybe been as far as I've gone. On a superficial level, I understand.
But this week's chosen practice lead me to dive deeper.
Not really knowing where my practice would take me. As usual, I picked a video name that spoke to me - Steadiness and Ease.
Who doesn't want that in their lives!
This was the first time practicing with Shivani Wells on doyogawithme.com. Her approach was easy to follow as she was meticulous in cueing each and every pose and the sensation it brought forth. She emphasized following your breath, which I so welcome!
However, the most interesting learning this week was how Shivani structured her class. She spoke of using Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra as her inspiration for practice. Specifically, chapter two at verse 46.
I had no idea that the Yoga Sutras had chapters and is read by means of verses.
See - I have lots to learn.
So, Shivani spoke of "Sthira Sukham Asanam”, which translated means “steadiness and ease”.
I dove in to some online research and found an excellent modern take on the verse but also a more traditional perspective reading…
"2.46 The posture (asana) for Yoga meditation should be steady, stable, and motionless, as well as comfortable, and this is the third of the eight rungs of Yoga."
Throughout the practice, I was tasked to keep asanas steady and with ease. It is actually quite difficult to do, particularly in the more challenging poses.
Overall, I appreciated the opportunity to not only practice but to incorporate the early teachings of Patanjali for the duration of the class. This was a perspective I’d never seen or tried before. What a great tool to have in my teacher’s toolbox. Ok - I still need to learn more about the Yoga Sutras to be able to do that!
Furthermore, this video sequence provided two other new and interesting perspectives. Briefly, they were Shivani’s ability to cue visual foci and a unique way to move into side plank. For the former, I was positioned in downward facing dog when I heard a cue to look between my two big toes. I’m certain I’ve never thought through where my eyes look during asanas. Cool! Something to take away!
For the latter, the sequence was a perfect example of steadiness and ease. Side plank on a good day is challenging but with the added leg lift and “yogi toe lock”, it was sure to test my ability to stay steady and at ease. Take a crack at it yourself, to see what I mean!
Back to the basics. Time to take another attempt at learning more about Patanjali!
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.