Some of my greatest years have started under less than ideal conditions. 2016 is set to be stellar as I am stuck in bed with a Z-Pack (antibiotics) from a lingering cough that turned into an infection. That being said, I am grateful for all that Yoga has to offer that isn’t asana or pranyama related.
I am able to catch up on some of my readings in the Sutras and other Iyengar works. I also received my quarterly issue of Yoga Rahasya from India. It is a beautiful edition that features Patanjali and the Sutras.
Many times in my practice I have reflected on the Sutras. At first, it seemed like they had nothing to do with my actual asana practice. Now the more I read them and the more I read how Iyengar used them, the more it seems that there is nothing outside my life that isn’t somehow connected to them.
They are considered Yoga Shastra, or a fundamental yoga teaching. They are in many ways a theorem of truth that has been proved and tempered by time. They are estimated to have been written around 400 CE, which is slightly younger than the New Testament. However, they are a compilation of practices that go several millenia before.
There are many different translations in English. It is interesting to see the differences between actual yoga practitioners and scholars. Iyengar’s translation has a “bhakti” feel to them as he was quite devoted. “Rub yourself with each word through work and practice. Rubbing means to experience,” Iyengar writes.
This is an interesting side by side comparison of the Sutras I have found online. This does not include Iyengar’s translation, but does have other “heavy hitters” of the Yoga Sutras like Satchidanada and Edwin Bryant.
I am hardly a Sanskrit scholar, and I am not adept at what the Sutras ask of me to still my mind. But the main thing is that I practice every day. Even if I can’t do Asana or Pranayama because I have a cold, I can at least have a text to read which fills me with ideas on how to proceed in my practice in daily life.