Tag Archives: yoga

Shine a little light …


With the replacement of two books in my post-Katrina library, one classic (BKS Iyengar’s Light on Yoga) and a modern interpretation and condensation of that classic, with great illustrations and “work in the posture” tips (Iyengar students Silva, Mira and Shyam Mehta’s Yoga: The Iyengar Way), I have again begun practicing yoga. It’s been a long time since I was able to comfortably do padmasana (the lotus position), let alone matsyasana (the fish), and it’s definitely been at least 75 pounds since my last sirsasana (shoulder stand)! I must admit, my previous practice never made it all that far – years of sitting at a desk had even then seriously reduced my leg flexibility – but let me tell you, it’s not EXACTLY like riding a bike. Very difficult to pick up where you leave off, particularly when the “leaving off” can be measured in dog (or tree) years.

But I’m back at it; working in the garden lately has reminded me of just how stiff, unlimber and soft I’ve become – and trying to get back into the swing of regular meditation with a body that unprepared for stillness is no picnic.

I can’t say enough positive things about Iyengar’s book: his discussion of breathing and the philosophy and art of exercise dovetails quite beautifully with my other current re-reading of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (the Swami Satchidananda translation and commentaries). And the Mehta’s book, although missing a number of key poses and definitely reduced in scope for a less comprehensive audience, particularly on the spiritual aspects, is very good with respect to step-by-step written and photographic instructions. Both works inspirational, and highly recommended for all.

I only managed about 10 minutes worth today; but already I can tell the difference.

Om namah shivaya, ya’ll 🙂

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Top Advice from Patanjali

Paraphrased from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sutra 33:

If someone is happy, offer them friendship (share their happiness)
If someone is unhappy, offer them compassion (lighten their suffering)
If someone is virtuous, offer them delight (celebrate their goodness)
If someone is wicked, offer them disregard (give them no reward)

In this way, you can yourself be calm and untroubled.

Or something like that …

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Where am I in all of this confusion?
If I pause and take a moment to breathe,
letting go of this veil of illusion
[that separates (like two different leaves

along two slim branches that stretch their way
in opposite directions, yet never
touch, except through the trunk from which they splay)
with a soft touch easily severing

one’s sense of unity with all living]
just listening to the low, quiet breath
of an opened flower or an old tree,

I recognize myself; my misgivings
about my life’s purpose that make me fear death
fade away. I am at peace, at last free.


Am I just motion in some great chaos?
If I release this cloud from deep inside,
letting the soft flow of air slip across
my tongue and pursed lips, it does not collide

with the not-me of the universe, but
instead melts back into a single stream
of boundless energy that we each cut
and divide into our separate dreams,

imagining that these walls we construct
are so solid, so real, unbreakable.
Yet in a single breath these veils shatter,

our isolation seems to self-destruct,
and those beliefs once so unshakeable
crumble in the still space beyond matter.

04 APR 2003

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