True Yoga by Jennie Lee

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Key Takeaways

  1. Sad but true, humans rarely leave their comfort zone unless shaken from it.
  2. The most important elements of the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Buddha’s teachings, and the Bhagavad Gita were compiled by Sri Patanjali around two thousand years ago into the text we now refer to as the Yoga Sutras. This is the key text of Raja (Royal) Yoga, which describes the complete yoga path, a scientifically organized spiritual technology for living joyfully and ultimately achieving liberation and unity consciousness.
  3. Our lasting happiness is measurable by the sustained inner peace we feel and our ability to remain grateful and even-minded regardless of external circumstances. Then we are true yogis.
  4. According to yoga philosophy, enduring happiness can only come when we stop identifying with the incessant thoughts and feelings of the personality self (small s). This “I, me, mine” perspective is called the ego and it is what we normally associate with and think of as who we are. The Sutras proclaim that all of our struggles in life are because we have forgotten the truth of our being and have strayed into a belief of separation and inadequacy. Suffering will continue until we realize that our real nature is not material but spiritual and that we cannot possibly be separated from joy and peace, because they exist within our consciousness rather than in the external world.
  5. Yamas are moral qualities that are necessary for connection to our Soul nature.
  6. Niyamas are observances that help us evolve toward harmonious existence within ourselves and with the world, integrating our inner and outer experience.
  7. Asana is the practice of right posture to create physical comfort and ease, eliminate restlessness, and prepare the body to be undistracted in meditation.
  8. Pranayama is the regulation and enhancement of the subtle Life Force currents (prana) through which we move into subtler realms of awareness.
  9. Pratyahara is the practice of interiorization of the senses, which develops tranquility and forms a receptive basis for meditation practice.
  10. Dharana is concentration or focus. It is training the mind to the single-pointed attention needed for meditation.
  11. Dhyana is the state of stillness or meditation in which consciousness flows continuously inward rather than outward.
  12. Samadhi is the bliss of reuniting individual consciousness with the universal One Consciousness.
  13. When we have a peaceful mind, a truthful heart, and a balanced body, we can more easily approach the stillness that expands our consciousness beyond daily reality.
  14. All change begins in the realm of thought.
  15. The second fundamental building block for lasting happiness is integrity. If we are not living from the place of authenticity deep in our heart of hearts, then quite simply we are not living our true life. We are living a lie and we will never secure fulfillment materially or spiritually. Truth is powerful and living in truth (Satya) makes us powerful. This Sutra shows how genuine happiness and the ability to manifest our dreams depends on a total commitment to integrity.
  16. Our biography lives in our biology. The physical body registers emotional experiences.
  17. When we are firmly established in truthfulness, this sutra says we gain the power of effortless manifestation. Strength and blessings come from the willingness to stand strong in truthfulness.
  18. Whereas thought only gives us an indirect perception of truth, intuition gives us the experience of truth from within.
  19. This Sutra warns that Satya is so powerful that when we dedicate ourselves to integrity, our thoughts, words, and actions gain the power to manifest. Truth is a dynamic state of mind in which infinite power is released.
  20. Listen inwardly to the body and intuition for what you feel is true. Sometimes you will know something before you see proof on the outside. Keep track of confirmations when they come so you can build trust in your inner guidance system.
  21. Additionally, this Sutra indicates that true fulfillment and prosperity are impossible if we take more than we give on a regular basis.
  22. Self-Control (Brahmacharya): Moderation Increases Energy Dedicated to self-control, great energy is gained. Sutra ii.38
  23. Fundamentally, the management of our personal energy, both physically and mentally, is one of the best health practices we can employ.
  24. The ability to differentiate between desires and needs is essential for the aspiring yogi. We can practice limiting desires and appreciating the things we do have as a custodian rather than as an owner so as not to build identification and attachment to material items.
  25. Practicing Saucha means functioning in the complexity of the world while staying connected to and identified with the pure Self within.
  26. Many people have lost the ability to orient themselves within. They have become toxically associated with what they have and what they do, rather than who they are.
  27. By eliminating clutter in both our outer environment and in the inner landscape of thought, we refine our lives. As we relinquish attachment to the stuff that accumulates physically and mentally, we become free. Inertia, lethargy, doubts, mental fatigue, and distraction are replaced by understanding, focus, confidence, positivity, and patience.
  28. practicing simplicity, I make room for what matters most. The purest things bring the most joy. My life becomes happier and less complicated as I practice simplicity. When I choose simplicity I expand creatively. Simplicity reveals true purpose.
  29. Let us be clear. Choosing to be content no matter what does not mean being unresponsive. It just means that we relinquish all expectations that things will be different than they are, and at the same time be willing to work for positive change with non-attachment.
  30. The purpose of right action (Tapas) is to keep us on the pathway toward true happiness rather than allowing ourselves to be pulled impulsively toward short-lived pleasures. Finding our balance through sincere effort, physically and mentally, this Sutra assures us that we will awaken an inspired consciousness and find joy in sharing our unique gifts with the world.
  31. Our enthusiasm is the fire that burns away any blocks within, such as fear or doubt.
  32. Next time you feel angry and want to shout, regulate your voice to speak softly and notice the difference you feel as a result.
  33. To know oneself is a humbling undertaking. People spend years in therapy analyzing themselves and trying to understand why they are the way they are. By observing our beliefs, behaviors, and choices with objectivity, we discover whether or not they are life-affirming
  34. Other people’s reactions to us will be our gauge. Those who know us help us see our blind spots more clearly.
  35. Rumi, the thirteenth-century Sufi poet and mystic who often wrote about the spiritual journey, said that silence is the language of God. Truth is found in silence. Inspiration, understanding, rest, renewal, healing, and peace all emanate from silence. The ability to transcend whatever keeps us blocked or limited is found in silence through the still, small voice of guidance sourced in Love.
  36. Forward-bending postures open the back, enhance elimination and digestion, and calm the nervous system. Asymmetric or lateral bending postures address unevenness in the body and tightness in the back, shoulders, and pelvic girdle. Twists liberate tension in the spine and release vital energy. They assist digestion and metabolism. Inversions strengthen the spine, deepen respiratory rhythms, and reverse the effects of gravity on the body.
  37. By disconnecting from the constant pull of the senses, we develop subtle perception that utilizes the sixth sense of intuition, being able to see or feel things before they have occurred or as they are occurring elsewhere. This inner guidance system helps us with decisions, without lengthy external study or information gathering.

What I got out of it:

  1. A beautiful and deep dive on yoga and the eight limbs.