Monthly Archives: June 2016

Yoga sutras of Patanjali 1.29


From this practice all the obstacles disappear and simultaneously dawns knowledge of the inner Self

From that remembering comes the realization of the individual Self and the removal of obstacles.

Two direct benefits of reciting the OM mantra are removal of obstacles (see next few sutras), & it is a direct route to self-realisation.



Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1.29


From that remembering comes the realization of the individual Self and the removal of obstacles.

From this practice all the obstacles disappear and simultaneously dawns knowledge of the inner Self.

From repeating the OM mantra, all obstacles will be removed, and this is a direct route to self-realisation. Sri Swami Satchidananda describes this as a ‘transcendence’ of your limitations.


Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1.28


This sound [OM] is remembered with deep feeling for the meaning of what it represents.

Repetition of That [OM] means to contemplate the meaning of That.

To repeat it [OM] with reflection upon its meaning is an aid.

Following on from the previous sutra, when we repeat the sound OM, we are practising japa (repetition). Sri Swami Satchidananda says that when you have the habit of repetition, you can think about the meaning (god, according to the sutra).

I must admit I am struggling somewhat with the evocation of ‘god’ in this section of the sutras – I am an atheist Zen Buddhist, and the concept of ‘believing in’ a supernatural deity is difficult. I am trying to widen the meaning to mean ‘universal energy’ or ‘personal inspiration, rather than ‘god’ as such. But is it possible to live a ‘yogic’ life according to the eight limbs without a belief in a ‘god’ of some kind? To try to reconcile this, for my own practice, when I repeat ‘OM’ at the beginning and end of my asana practice, I will try to think about it connecting me with the energy of the universe.




Yoga sutras of Patanjali: 1.27


The sacred word designating this creative source is the sound OM, called pranava.

Pranava [Om] is the denoter of That [God].

The word expressive of ishvara is the mystic sound OM [OM is god’s name as well as form].

This sutra is saying that ‘God’ or the supreme consciousness is in the vibrations of the sound ‘AUM’. The sound is not just the name of the supreme consciousness, but is present in the vibratons of the sound itself when you say it. It conveys the exact nature of it.

Sri Swami Satchidananda quotes the Mandukya Upanishad which says that AUM contains seeds of all other sounds. He describes it as a hum, connected with prana (the basic vibration or vital life force), & says that when you meditate, you experience this hum.

This blog explains the visual OM symbol nicely:

The lower curve represents the Gross, Conscious, and Waking state level, called Vaishvanara.

The center curve represents the Subtle, Unconscious, and Dreaming level, called Taijasa.The upper curve represents the Causal, Subconscious, and Deep Sleep level, called Prajna.

The dot, point, or bindu represents the fourth state, the absolute consciousness, which encompasses, permeates, and is the other three, and is called Turiya.

The arc below the dot symbolizes the separateness of this fourth state, standing above, though ever remaining part of the other three.




Review: Quantum yoga DVDs


I’ve had these DVDs for a few years, but thought it might be nice to review them here. My main practice is ashtanga, but I don’t always fancy doing the primary series again, and like to mix it up a bit. These DVDs are aimed at intermediate-advanced practitioners, and are vinyasa flow sequences.

The idea behind Quantum Yoga is that you tailor the sequence according to how you feel, in line with your Ayurvedic dosha. If you practice all of these DVDs regularly (not just the one for your dosha-type), then you will feel more balanced. This may not be as intuitive as it sounds – if we feel sluggish, perhaps what we need is an invigorating practice, not a slow gentle one. Interestingly, I instinctively prefer the ‘pitta’ Beauty DVD (pitta is my dominant dosha), and like the ‘kapha-regulating’ ¬†Leaping Salmon one the least.

The general structure of the practices is as follows: ‘sublimatio’ (which usually includes a breathing exercise), sun salutations (different for each sequence), standing poses, standing & arm balances, floor work, backbends, inversions & a relaxation at the end.

These DVDs are pretty challenging – from one-arm arm balances (which I can’t do!), to hanumanasana (nope) to the reverse bird of paradise pose (I can achieve this sometimes, depending on the way the wind blows!). Modifications of these harder poses are always given. The sequences are filmed in beautiful locations, and the instructuor’s voice is gentle and relaxing, with a light-hearted sense of humour. I don’t use these as my main practice DVDs, I do one of them once a week maybe, but I always enjoy them and they are a nice way to break up your ashtanga practice (if that’s what you’re looking to do). It is nice to do some poses that are not part of the primary series once in a while (am I going to ashtanga-hell for saying that?!)…

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1.26


From that consciousness (ishvara) the ancient-most teachers were taught, since it is not limited by the constraint of time.

Unlimited by time, God is the teacher of all previous teachers.

Unconditioned by time, ishvara is the teacher of even the most ancient teachers.

This sutra stresses the importance of a guru or teacher, even for the ancient teachers. However, it also seems to suggest that the guru is not a ‘god’ , as ishvara is the supreme teacher.

In Zen Buddhism also, lineage is of the utmost importance, to ensure that the teachings of the dharma are accurate and ‘pure’. All monks in Zen buddhism today can trace a clear line of teaching that goes way back.

Devotion to the all-knowing ishvara or supreme consciousness is a form of samadhi (contemplation), obtained (says Sri Swami Satchidananda) through total surrender to the universal consciousness or god).