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I come back to study the Yoga Sutra over and over again. The very first one is perhaps the most important and significant for me.
The Yoga-Sutra of Patañjali: A New Translation and Commentary by Georg Feuerstein Ph.D. defines the first yoga sutra as “Now commences the exposition of Yoga.”
Nischala Joy Devi’s definition in The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman’s Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras says: “With humility (an open heart and mind), we embrace the sacred study of Yoga.”
Easy enough to study. Easy enough to say. More difficult to put into practice.
On my mat, I can more easily put all else aside for a couple of hours and just focus on my practice. Yet, even that isn’t always possible for me, unless all of my children are with me, and I know everyone is completely safe! Trying to implement this first sutra caused me to be taken aback as I became more aware of my ongoing struggle!
I stopped in the middle of making my bed to open my curtains. I brewed my coffee while starting laundry. I picked out my clothes while brushing my teeth. I seemed to dislike having my radio on one station as I commuted, so I alternated between radio, CD, and podcasts. I drank my smoothies on the road, and made any phone calls then, too. I ate lunch at my desk while working. I lost count how many times a day I checked my phone for texts, social media notifications, messages, and voicemail. While scrolling through social media feeds, I got distracted by friends’ posted articles and curious about how others commented. While surfing the web, Google wouldn’t let me only make one or two inquiries. No way! I had to browse several sites until I found just the right pages that held my interest for the longest amounts of time. I don’t know how many times I stopped what I was doing to talk with my children, co-workers, or friends…but worse…how many times did I pick up my phone to make sure I wasn’t missing anything while I was in the middle of a conversation?! That is rude, and I cannot apologize enough!
None of this includes going about my daily tasks while simultaneously having continuous thoughts about anything and everything other than the task at hand, and try as I might, I just couldn’t successfully tune out other people’s’ conversations that were in no way of concern to me. Did I mention I put away tons of clean laundry while binge watching a new Netflix fav?
It is no wonder, I am tired, stressed out, and overwhelmed. It is no wonder my health has been in a fragile state. I’m in a constant state of multitasking!
There was not much pause to be present with any one thing, much less find God’s presence.
Yet, Spirit was there, in everything and in everyone I encountered, being ignored and going unnoticed and unappreciated. Except on a few occasions when I was made to shut up and listen!
This week, I’ll try more diligently to be still in the present moment and more aware of all that is. I’ll try to focus with more clarity in all situations, and speak more carefully.
As I continue to meditate and contemplate both of these translations, they resonate within me as such, “Yoga is Now. Feel God’s presence.”
Tonight, I will remember Yoga is a practice. Being still is a practice. Listening for God is a practice.