Saturday, November 22, 2008

A Sutra Class with Chris Saudek

I had the pleasure of taking a two hour Yoga Sutra class with Chris Saudek, a well know Iyengar yoga teacher, who was conducting a work shop at the Julie Lawrence Yoga Center this weekend.

I walked into to find many of my fellow students from Sunset, along with Nina in the class. Everyone except for me had the Sutra book and a note book - I guess there was a required reading of certain Sutra's but somehow I missed that part. It wasn't really intimidating though - I was there to learn about the Sutras, even though I have made invaluable attempts to read through the Light on Sutra's book by Guruji, most of my learning has been through listening many of the teacher's especially Nina refer to the sutras in class and the one that I have been most impacted by is the sutra that tells us to be "indifferent, tranquil and detached".

It was a very interactive class, as Chris went through some selected Sutras and there were some interesting discussions and thoughts presented. Though I don't claim to be an authority on the sutras, but here are some of my interpretations of some of the essence of some of the Sutras that have had an important impact on me and my life and have changed my view of the world in the last three years:

1. The purpose of Asanas: Chris asked the class about their interpretation of the asanas, why asanas were important as one of the eight limbs of yoga. I didn't get a chance to put my two cents in, as I had already in some way challenged the notion of long, interrupted practice of asanas as a way to develop detachment. Asanas are invaluable in helping you go from "the outer to inner self", slowly and thoughtfully, but in a highly physical manner. It is the physical mechanism to activate your body to allow you to deep into your inner mind. Understanding of your inner self allows gives you a pathway to achieving detachment and neutrality.

2. Detachment : Detachment is really about being neutral and balanced. I feel we cannot be completely detached, complete compassionate, or dis compassionate, desired or undesired. Anything in extreme is unbalancing for our mind, body and spirit. Detachment allows to simply step away from situations and events and allows to experience and observe events that are distractions to our mind, disruptive to our lives, in a neutral manner. Detachment allows us to express the love and compassion that is seeded in our soul. Detachment gives us the ability to balance all the virtues and vices that are also seeded in us. It allows us to deal with our fears and insecurity.

3. The inner mind: Chris asked everyone to describe a picture of our mind. I answered "circle". She said a circle implies your mind is bound and restrained. I thought about some more and I think our minds are circular, but with a twist, they are really spirals, as a spiral is an evolutionary symbol. I think yesterday I was looking at spiral from the outside in, from the top view of a spiral. Mind evolves and circles like a spiral. To get to your inner mind is an evolution and the essence of the mind is really connected to your soul, what ties all of us together to form the collective soul, the higher being that we are all part of.

There were many other aspects of Sutras that captured my attention in the class, but the essence of what I took back was that we are on a journey, I am on a journey and yoga has helped me make this journey a lot more thoughtful and introspective, allowing me to experience life with a lot more calmness and detachment despite the constant storms and tribulations I face every day. I don't know the outcome of all this, I quite honestly no longer focus on the outcome.

I simply try my best to live in the moment and experience and observe every moment of life as it comes to me with as little malice, judgement, ego and remorse I can. I try not to look back or forward. I just try to remain in the moment. It doesn't mean I don't have visions, desires or purpose - but I make my best efforts to have the balance in order to remain in that moment. That is the essence of detachment and neutrality. That is what I have learnt from the little I have learnt about the Sutras in my journey in the last three years.


The Yogi

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