You know the phrase, "You get better at what you practice?"
The follow up to this truth is the real wisdom: "So be careful what you practice."
The spiritual path is hard work, and sometimes it's lonely.
But we do it because we want to grow and learn and evolve as human beings. We want practical support for the things life throws our way.
We do it together because we need each other's support, encouragement and celebration.
It's essential to have a group and time we can discuss these topics and share stories with people of various ages, backgrounds and life experience. By sharing, we are reminded that we are not alone.
When I put out a feeler to gauge interest in a philosophy "work group," many of you responded!
Topics and texts will vary and we'll do short series style so that it fits into your regular life. This will also be a remote format, using a group video conference, so you can be anywhere and participate. And the sessions will be recorded so you can make up or watch again.
New Year Philosophy
For our first Yoga Philosophy for Today workgroup, we will explore Yoga Sutra 2.1. The Yoga Sutras are 196 aphorisms compiled by a man named Patanjali around 400 CE. It has become a main text in today's yoga world, with practical yet powerful guidelines for personal growth.
Sutra 2.1 tapah svadhyaya ishvara-pranidhana kriya-yogah
Especially relevant at the start of the year where our best intentions can create rigidity and pressure -- maybe we let things slide over the holidays due to overwhelm, and then we hit new year's eve and resolve to end all bad habits. Forever.
The Yoga approach is a little different. According to sutra 2.1, it goes like this:
Commit your attention and action, increase your knowledge and understanding through this awareness, and then surrender.
Commit — Show up with your attention every day, whether it's on the mat, the cushion, in your relationships, to yourself, in the moment. This is discipline. It's the action behind intention. It's also love (courtesy of Mary Oliver, If you love something, you pay attention to it).
Awareness is learning from the information you get, it's honesty and realism, it's reflecting on yourself (your Self).
Surrender (which can be a loaded word, so you might try yield or release) is letting go of the fruits of your actions. Doing the work (committing attention, action and awareness), then setting it free. Surrender is drenched in compassion.
The cocktail of these three qualities is the practice of Yoga.
It takes effort.
It is not linear.
It's simple but not easy.
And it is never ever "done."
Awareness, action, surrender.
This series is for you if you:
- love philosophy
- want practical guidance that relates to today's issues
- struggle at the beginning of the year
- desire more support and community in your practice
- are a serious/curious student of yoga and want to learn more
- are a teacher and want a deeper understanding of yoga philosophy
This is a three-part online series meeting once a month for three months to explore the brilliant trifecta sutra 2.1 offers.
We will use an online video "classroom," so internet connection and a web-accessible device are required.
We will be able to see each other, interact and ask questions. Like being together, but you can be in your pajamas.
In this series, you will receive:
- relatable handouts and readings
- homework - reflection and writing prompts
- a general overview of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
- ideas on how to work with each aspect of sutra 2.1
- another layer of understanding about philosophy (it takes time to integrate these principles)
- the foundation for a lifelong practice grounded in compassion
- email support in between calls
Classroom sessions will include:
- guided exercises and discussions
- clear and practical interpretations -- philosophy does not have to be complicated!
- community with like-minded people
- practicality -- instantly useable principles
- fun -- it has to be!
February 25, 1-2:30 pm
March 25, 1-2:30 pm
April 22, 1-2:30 pm
Sharing ideas, lending a hand, offering silent support -- these are the things I've seen over and over that make a difference, make us feel less alone and give strength in the moments of hardship.
Yoga philosophy can be practical, relevant and instantly usable. Join me in discovering more about the Yoga Sutras and the wisdom of sutra 2.1 -- commitment, awareness, surrender.