Patanjali’s second sutra 1.2, mentioned last week, explains that yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. Sutra 1.3 goes on to let us know why we want to achieve this. Tada drastuh svarupe vasthanam: Then, the seer becomes established in his / her own true nature. So we move toward stillness in order to grasp what is real, and we move away from what is mere distraction. Our still mind is a pre-requisite to self-realisation.
For those interested, https://yogainternational.com/article/view/yoga-sutra-1-3-translation-and-commentary provides audio of these sutras so you can hear them spoken, as well as interesting commentary.
Students are reminded in class that all aspects of our yoga practice- asana, breath work, cultivating the ability to observe ourselves during our practice, to maintain a sense of equanimity throughout- has the goal of enabling the mind to become one pointed, to see things clearly for what they are without the subjective mind, the ego, intruding and distracting us from what is real.
Monday’s class contained some challenging sequences that gave ample opportunity for the ego to distract us from the sense of the mind just observing and witnessing, of being quiet and still. So we learn from it, we become more aware of when the subjective mind starts leaping in, and we guide ourselves away from it sooner next time, or perhaps the time after that. It’s all part of the process, all good stuff.
Ruth teaches yoga in Cheltenham UK, weaving yoga philosophy into the asana practice to help students connect yoga on the mat to their lives off the mat.