Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras lay out the vision of yoga as quietening the mind, and provide a road map for that inner process. Sutra means a thread, below are notes from our weekly discussion on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Like a thread on a string, carried through week by week.

– Notes from April 19, 2023

“Of these two, effort towards steadiness is practice.” Reverend Jaganath Carrera

“Practice denotes an effort for the purpose of being firmly established in a state free from all reactive tendencies.” Rohit Mehta

“Practice is the steadfast effort to still these fluctuations [of the mind].” BKS Iyengar

The commentaries emphasize the importance of a cultivation of regularity. Consistency leads to change. The mind wanders, and we bring it back. We learn, forget and then re-learn and this is the process.

We discussed how certain activities can support and keep us within a flow of mental habits that lead towards quietening the mind. This includes practice of asana and also could be cooking, driving, sitting in silence, taking a walk. The more time spent in this state creates a friendly pathway that we want to keep visiting. Carrera sets out this reminder – “We won’t make progress if we practice for one hour a day and let the mind wander restlessly during the other 23.” Having a regular practice we begin to see steadiness of mind as the foundation of a deeper spiritual practice.

Experience It. Suggestions from Carrera – start a spiritual diary. This can be powerful. Have a notebook nearby when you practice – asana, pranayama, meditation, or other practices that guide you to a state of inner quiet. When you finish, take note of any observations. This may be one or two words. Try not to judge or think, just allow what comes naturally and write it down. See if there is a glimmer of something, an insight or new awareness that surfaces. What is expressed?

Over time, when you look back at these notes, it can sometimes feel as though someone else wrote them. Something is uncovered and brought to the surface, a higher aspect of consciousness. You get to know you. Not the egoic sense of self or the part of your consciousness that nags, worries and spins restlessly around. You get to connect with a deeper sense of knowing that is steady, clear and always present. Putting words on paper, you allow this deeper state to develop, and cultivate that aspect of yourself.