The Approach | An Excerpt from Living the Sutras

Cultivating the Right Attitude

Living the Sutras

We invite you to leave your reflections in the comment section at the end of this excerpt.

bhava-pratyayo videha-prakrti-layanam (1:19)
Samadhi is a natural state for someone
who is enlightened.

itaresham (1:20)
For the rest of us, we must use faith, passion,
mindfulness, quiet, and good judgment to
support our journey toward samadhi.

Our life is a reflection of our attitude, the energy of our mind. When we look at the world angrily, fearfully, cynically, it’s easy to get sucked into arguments, the blame game, jealousy, and gossip. But when we approach the world optimistically and confidently, we are open to happiness, have greater resilience, make better decisions, and increase our chances of success.

But what is an attitude for success? The right attitude, the one needed for a successful practice, is made up of five key elements: faith, energy, mindfulness, focus, and wisdom.

1. Faith (shraddha)

In yoga, faith isn’t a spiritual-based faith or blind faith in something. It’s faith that we are going in the right direction, faith in our path, faith that our practice will lead to a life of ease. We may not know where we will end up, but we have certainty, conviction, and courage in our journey.

Having faith is an act of courage. Write down your personal definition of courage. How has that been shaped? Family, movies, experiences? How could your definition of courage support you in bringing the state of flow into your everyday life?

2. Energy (virya)

Would you expect your phone to stay charged if you didn’t plug it in? We need the same energy, fuel, and attention. In Sanskrit, virya refers to the power of a great warrior to overcome his enemies. It is the mental and physical energy, endurance, diligence, and enthusiasm we need in our practice. It is the idea that what we put in is what we get out. It is the commitment to show up and do the work even when journaling, meditating, or unrolling our mat is less appealing than snuggling on the couch and catching up on our favorite show.

What in your life is more deserving of your energy now?

3. Mindfulness (smriti)

Classically, smriti is translated as memory, but it’s not reminiscences. Rather, it’s a call to reflect on a past positive experience to bolster us in the present moment and keep us mindful and aware on our path.

List three challenges you overcame. What did you change within yourself to succeed?

4. Focus (samadhi)

By focusing on our physical, mental, and spiritual practice, we will shake off distractions and be able to develop deeper and deeper levels of concentration. Through focus, the state of samadhi will transcend our everyday, singular pursuits.

Make a list of your distractions. Then choose a time or a task where you can be silent and distraction-free. Maybe it’s eating lunch, paying bills, or folding laundry without music or the television on in the background. Maybe it’s silencing your social media during breakfast or putting your phone out of reach while you’re in bed. What do you notice? How did your body or mind react?

5. Wisdom (prajna)

Each of us has a voice within us, but we don’t always hear it. Sometimes we’re too loud. Sometimes we’re not speaking the same language as our inner voice. Prajna isn’t the knowledge that comes from book learning. Rather, it’s the type of wisdom that helps us quiet the distractions and learn to listen, hear, and understand our inner voice, our intuition.

If your eight-year-old self traveled forward in time, what would he want you to know about yourself right now? What advice would he give you?
If your ninety-year-old self traveled back in time, what would she want you to know about yourself right now? What advice would she give you?

tivra-samveganam asannah (1:21)
The state of samadhi comes quickly to the
sincere and diligent.

mrdu-madhyadhimatratvat tato’ pi visheshah (1:22)
The time necessary to reach the state of samadhi is based on the strength of our commitment to our practice—mild, medium, or intense.

Often we just see the highlight reel. The New York Times front-page review and inclusion in Oprah’s Book Club. The at-the-buzzer, game-winning three-point shot. The witty acceptance speech. We don’t see the butt-in-chair discipline, the hours of practice at the foul line, the years of failed auditions. We see the success but not the attention and effort.

Here, Patanjali tells us that if our goal is sincerely in our heart and we have truly committed, we will have success. How long that takes depends on the effort we put in—mild, medium, or intense.

In The Secret of the Yoga Sutra, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait lists three categories of effort: the first is someone who doesn’t put in much effort. He’s waiting for miracles and simple, easy solutions. The second person starts his practice but stops when obstacles pop up in his path. The third person cannot be stopped.

Are you willing to do the work? Are you looking for easy solutions? Do you balk under pressure? Or are you undaunted by obstacles and unafraid to invest the time and resources to achieve your goals?

List your priorities. Which of these do you have to do, choose to do, or want to do? For which of these would you like to adjust the intensity of your effort? It can go in both directions and could be from mild to intense or intense to medium.

Related Books

Kelly DiNardoKelly DiNardo was first certified to teach yoga through YogaFit in 2003 and went on to receive her 200-hour RYT through Living Yoga Teacher Training. In 2009, she opened Past Tense yoga studio in Washington, DC. See more about her here.

Amy Pearce-HaydenAmy Pearce-Hayden has devoted 20 years of study, practice, and teaching to classical yoga, ayurveda, tantra, and meditation. See more about her here.

3 thoughts on “The Approach | An Excerpt from Living the Sutras”

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  • Arianne Bohannon

    "Countless numbers of candles can be lit from a solitary candle, and the lifestyle of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." The BuddhaCandles are an age old classic portion of Buddhist rituals. In conjunction with incense and flowers, they are placed in entrance of Buddhist shrines or statues and photos of the Buddha as a mark of regard. They are usually accompanied by offerings of food and consume. The mild of the burning candle flame represents the mild of the Buddha's teachings. Candles and incense also evoke the condition of impermanence and modify.Their light-weight can also be explained to symbolize the enlightenment of the Buddha.Thailand Buddhist Candle Pageant"Just as a candle can't melt away without fireplace, gentlemen can't stay without a religious life." The BuddhaBuddhist Lent Day in Thailand, an overwhelmingly Buddhist place is in July every yr and is mostly practiced by established monks. The working day ahead of the begin of Lent, the Candle Festival is celebrated by Thai folks. This Festival is celebrated appropriate across the nation, but the most particularly celebrations take location in Ubon Rachathani north-eastern Thailand (Isaan).In accordance to tradition, Buddhist Lent Working day started as a outcome of villagers complaining to the Buddha. It is explained that a group of ordained monks ended up creating advantage (tamboon) and experienced walked by way of damp rice fields. At this time the rice fields ended up at the peak of their growth and by strolling in them they experienced ruined the crop. As a consequence the legend has it that the Buddha told all monks to follow making advantage whilst only staying within the confines of their temples. Today Buddhist Lent stipulates that all monks need to continue to be confined to their temples for a period of 3 months throughout the rainy year, beginning on the very first working day of the eighth waning moon.Thai men and women offer a assortment of basic items to their monks and this supplying also consists of candles and this of program consists of the popular Candle Festival. In previous instances most temples experienced no electrical energy and so candles had an critical symbolic importance for ceremonies but also more virtually for illumination in everyday use. Additionally they are explained to signify wisdom as divine gentle for the duration of the Candle Competition the Buddhist laity apply their beliefs by offering massive and typically extravagantly embellished candles to the monks.Candle Festival Celebrations: "There are two methods of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." Edith WhartonOn the day just before Lent, huge teams of folks obtain with their fantastically decorated candles and march with them on elaborate and gorgeous parades. The prosperous, luxuriously sculpted decorations on these stunning performs of art portray willpower, unity, and the beliefs of that community. The candle parade procession consists of the broadest cross section of the community all in their best clothing. In Ubon Ratchathani this also includes many groups of nearby Isaan performers, musicians and dancers who accompany the candles as they make their way through the town. There is also a well-liked splendor contest to select Skip Candle (who is regarded as the most gorgeous lady of that neighborhood).During the country, there are celebrations of the Candle Festival. No matter what the weather in Thailand the people have entertaining and expressing their faith on July eight, the beginning of Buddhist lent."How much that minor candle throws its beams! So shines a excellent deed in a naughty world." William ShakespeareCandle MeditationSit a peaceful tranquil area and light-weight a candle. It could be of any color but some favor a blue or a white one particular. Now stare deep into the burning flame of the candle and focus on it. Don't let your vision of the candle flame grow to be blurred. As you stare at the burning flame your thoughts will grow to be crammed with the sounds of everyday thinking, worries and trivial worries. These should just start off to drift away and following a limited while, you may begin to get images and feelings that never seem to appear from you. Just take these as your spiritual guides and try to interpret them.Keep staring at the burning flame do not be distracted and consider to interpret the visions you are receiving. 1 typical example is that of 'seeing' a peeled onion. At very first this might seem senseless but in this instance it could signify that as you travel further along on your life's path, the layers are becoming peeled absent making it possible for you to see and experience the final core of you existence.As you progress more with your candle meditation try out to learn to believe in your very own examination and understanding of these thoughts that the candle provides to your brain. This type of meditation as a result functions as a strong way of concentrating your concentration.Consider to construct up your expertise of candle meditation from five minutes a working day to 20 minutes and do this in excess of a number of months. Your eyes will need to adapt to the dim light-weight and above time, you will be ready distinguish in between which feelings are your own and which can act as your spiritual guides."Much better to mild a candle than curse the darkness" Chinese proverb"As a white candle in a holy location, So is the splendor of an aged encounter" Joseph CampbellWhere is the World's Biggest Candle?"We say God and the creativeness are a single... How substantial that optimum candle lights the darkish." Wallace StevensDigressing a bit from the use of Candles in Buddhism in my research I diverted to see what human creativeness could provide to the entire world of candles - this is what I discovered."A very good trainer is like a candle - it consumes itself to mild the way for others." AnonThere are a lot of contenders and a long background of the lookup for the world's greatest candle. The initial contender for the world's largest candle is the United states - the Warm Glow Candle Outlet in Centreville, Indiana in which they assert to have the world's largest candle. Even so At the Stockholm Exhibition of 1897 what has been described as the world's premier candle on document went on display. This massive candle is mentioned to have been eighty feet large and measuring 8 and a half ft in diameter.The lengthy established organization of Ajello Candles is one more contender for the historic title of the world's most significant candle. In 1921 it produced the Enrico Caruso Memorial Candle.This candle calculated five feet in circumference and tapered at the prime to eighteen inches. This candle stood an extraordinary 18 toes tall and after the candle was burning the organization claimed it could keep on for 1800 years, burning a single working day every calendar year on the anniversary of Enrico Caruso's loss of life.In 2005 in Jerusalem they created the world's greatest Hannukha candle. This enormous candle was more than 8 and a half metres in height and 85cm vast. It was positioned in the Pisga shopping mall in the city. These are just some illustrations of what assert to be or were the world's biggest candles."Nirvana is not the blowing out of the candle. It is the extinguishing of the candle's flame due to the fact working day is appear." Rabindranath Tago

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