It is summer in Montana, so I have had visitors and garden distractions, but I am still here reading Tree of Yoga and happy to be sharing it with you! Time is flying by and September will be here before we know it, so keep on reading and I look forward to live discussion at the SBG social on September 8th!
The next section is entitled “The Self and Its Journey”, so it seems we are getting to the note gritty of “what is yoga?” and “why” are we doing it? Of course we all come to our yoga class with certain needs and expectations, but this section is a reminder that we are dealing with a methodology that is thousands of years old and originally had a purpose greater than just the health and longevity of the body and mind. Yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of consciousness…
And this is where BKS Iyengar begins to give us a clue of what “consciousness” is. The East and the West view the mind and the consciousness a little differently and it is helpful to clarify if we are to understand the stops on the journey we are taking. “Consciousness” actually has 3 parts : manas (the mind that collects information), ahamkara (the ego that sees a self in relation to that information), and buddhi (the discriminative quality that processes that information fully). We feed that consciousness in all our interactions through life, but we must BECOME AWARE of how that is all happening.
For me, this is what stands out in this chapter on “Return to the Seed” – the urging to understand the difference between consciousness and awareness. Consciousness is always there…it is…but awareness has to be developed through the practice of yoga. And when we can bring our awareness fully in line with consciousness, then focus, concentration, meditation, and full integration are possible.
The way to understand this journey toward consciousness awareness is through studying the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This is the text that has allowed every single one of us to step on our mat and practice. It is why we do the invocation to Patanjali as the purveyor of information in order for us to be here and reap the benefits from the journey of yoga. If it was not for The Yoga Sutras, yoga would have never made it across the ages and across physical boundaries. So, if you do yoga, of course I urge you at some point in your life to pick up a copy. There are so many translations that are accessible to every person’s interest and capacity of study – English only, no commentary, a lot of commentary, sanskrit and translations, etc…you choose.
In Tree of Yoga, BKS Iyengar gives you a great overview of what to expect within The Yoga Sutras, so hopefully it won’t be so mysterious. There is something for everyone!
If you are reading this blog, chances are you have started your journey toward your self. But just like any journey, it is helpful to have a map so you don’t get lost or sidetracked along the way. Keep reading and enjoy your trip!