Our Practice – Gomukhasana – Cow Face Pose
As you will read below, I have spent some time this week thinking further about Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, especially Sutra 1.2. Recall that yoga is not just the asanas (postures) but a whole discipline around breath, min/meditation, and body. Since yoga is thousands of years old, I wondered about which poses that we do now are the oldest. One of the three primary ancient yoga texts, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, lists 15 poses, all seated. In reviewing the list, the first one I recognized is one we have been incorporating quite a bit lately in our practice, cow face.
I like cow face as it stretches the hips, and shoulders as well as the triceps, chest, and ankles. Good article in Yoga Journal gives step by step instructions on how to do it. We will keep working on it in class.
It was not lost on me that the pronunciation go-moo-KAHS-anna has the word “moo” in it….
Meditation – Controlling the Mind - Sutra 1.2
A few weeks ago, we were talking about “monkey mind” and calming the mind. We touched briefly on Patanjali’s yoga sutra 1.2 in which he discusses the need to diminish the chatter or vrttis of the mind to witness our true self. The translation of the Sanskrit “Yogas citta vrtti nirodhah” is “The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga”. Simply put, if you only remember one of the sutras, this should be it, it really encapsulates what is yoga. If we learn to control our mind (through meditation, breath, asanas, contemplation) we will achieve the goal of yoga. In the translation I read by Sri Swami Satchidananda, he explains that “the entire outside world is based on your thoughts and mental attitude”. So rather than trying to change the outside world, we can try to work from within to control our own minds and the way we react to the world around us. I loved his discussion of this sutra so much that I copied it from the book so you could read the explanation. I especially love the references to his work with prisoners and how he encouraged them to reimagine their surroundings. He was actually a pioneer in bringing yoga into prisons.
The link to the explanation of Sutra 1.2 is here. Would love to hear your thoughts.
Meanwhile, this week’s meditation will be that Sanskrit saying that he references
“As the mind, so the person; bondage or liberation are in your own mind”.
If you feel liberated, you are liberated. Things outside neither bind nor liberate you; only your attitude towards them does that.
Just a few fun facts about Sri Swami Satchidananda. He was one of the great yoga masters who brought classical yoga to the West in the 1960’s. He taught the asanas and meditation and advocated for a vegetarian diet and mindful living. He was invited by artist Peter Max and some of his artist friends to teach them about yoga, mental peace, and spiritual enlightenment. He is also known for opening the Woodstock Music Festival with a chant of “OM” leading a crowd of approximately 500,000 to join him which led to him being known as the Woodstock Guru.
Nurturing with Food – Strawberry Blueberry Tarts
I am not a big dessert person, but once in awhile I do crave something sweet. This time of year with all of the delicious fruit available it becomes easier for me to get interested in making dessert. We were hosting a charity dinner recently and I wanted to make something that would look special, would be summery, and that I could eat as well. These tarts are vegan naturally, full disclosure, if you use Crisco in your pie crust it may not be that healthy, but it is vegan. I suggest several options, they were delicious with vanilla ice cream (vegan for me 😊).
See you on the mat!