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Inspiration from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

Yoga Teacher - Sarah Trestrail

Written by Sarah Trestrail

“Atha Yoga Nushasanam” YS I.I
Now here is yoga as I have observed it in the natural world.

In Patanjali’s very first Yoga Sutra, we are told exactly where we can find yoga – very simply, it is all around us. It is everywhere. It is the sheer wonder of creation itself, which of course includes each and every one of us.

Often we all get so caught up in the doing of yoga or the trying to achieve yoga – we expend so much effort reaching for things we consider to be outside of ourselves. But Patanjali tells us right here in the very first piece of wisdom he extols that, as part of the natural world, we are the yoga.

The sanskrit word “yoga” comes from the root word “yuj” which means to yoke – to join something to something else. Sharon and Davids teacher, Sri Brahmananda Sarasvati, says “yoga is the state where you want for nothing”. It is the complete state of wholeness where we realise we are intimately connected to everything – we are already plugged in. We are already perfect.

The reason it is difficult for us to truly know this and embody it, is because we have fallen out of tune with nature. We embrace lifestyles, often unconsciously, that draw us further away from our natural state – and this takes a lot of energy, to be something you’re not. It creates a great disturbance in our state of mind.

When we are used to doing something one way – when a habit has been created – it is difficult to break the mould and create a new behaviour. However, this is essential if we want to be truly happy and absolutely free. Author Henry Miller says “our destination is not a place, but a new way of seeing things”.

Initially, attempting to see the yoga in everything is going to take some effort, as habit has blinded us from it. But that habit can be broken if we start with a little faith. Have faith that the yoga is there. And have that faith because Patanjali tells us that it is there. His methods have been practiced by yogis for thousands of years – yogis like us who seek to be liberated, which means our faith is not blind, it is validated by all those who have practiced before us. And thousands of years is a pretty good track record.

So start by believing and then start looking. Next time something you judge to be negative happens, try not to let your initial reaction of frustration, anger, sadness etc take root. Catch yourself and look for the divinity there. Meditate on it, ask the universe “what does this mean?”, “why has this happened?” and then be prepared to listen to the answer.

The universe is divine order – it is all part of a perfectly orchestrated plan – that is the yoga of it. Mother Nature never fails to set the sun in motion in the sky or herald the change of the seasons. She wants us to be in the loop and enjoy a harmonious relationship with our world, and so the answer will arise.

Remember if we are connected to all things, we are infinite potential – this means that we can embody any aspect of the creation we choose. So when things don’t work out exactly the way you planned, trust that the universe knows your true potential and likely has bigger plans for you.

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