Sutra 2.47: prayatna shaithilya ananta samapattibhyam
Such a posture can be attained by the abandonment of effort and the non-use of will, and by the continuous awareness of the infinite eternal existence. Translation and interpretation by Swami Venkatesananda
You may have read or heard a yoga teacher say that we practice asana in preparation for meditation. And for some, movement is necessary to settle the body in preparation for quieting the mind. Asana, however, as defined in the sutras here, isn’t the class before meditation, it is meditation.
Take, for example, my walk across town yesterday afternoon. I was making the pleasant trek from Yoga 216 to ISHTA Yoga to teach a meditation class, and unfortunately had a little something nagging on my mind. I wasn’t thinking it through productively, just in that looping way thoughts roll when you aren’t at peace with something. I knew I needed to calm and center myself before teaching, so I kept thinking, “let it go, let it go,” which did a little bit to quiet my thoughts but not much. Using the mind to calm the mind is really quite challenging!
And then at some point, I noticed I wasn’t thinking about anything… I was completely absorbed in feeling my body move through the simple one foot in front of the other pattern that we call walking. It was a moving meditation that had emerged out of the ease of my stride. And then, as soon as I noticed it, I was pulled back into my thinking mind, noticing rather than experiencing, and then the prior nagging poked its head back out and the ease was sorta gone… but the stress was kinda gone, too. The nagging was more distant, the noticing was quiet and not anxious. The experience of steadiness left me with an awareness of its possibility –and reminded me that with practice, we can return to that ease at any time we set ourselves to it.
Out of a perfectly relaxed seat comes an awareness of the universe and your being a part of it.
Hari om tat sat!
Experience your true self and bring it into every moment of your living!
The Yoga Sutras are a classical text on yoga–a guidebook of sorts.
Each week, 216 teacher Esther Palmer dives into one of the sutras and we let it take us where it takes us.