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Your Body on Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 7

Yoga Sutra 2.1

10 min - Talk


Kristin investigates Yoga Sutra 2.1, exploring the necessary balance of effort and ease in our self-study, our practice, and in our everyday lives.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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May 27, 2018
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In the second chapter of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the chapter is entitled the chapter on practice or sadhana-pada. And so the first chapter Samadhi, only in the moment of now can yoga happen, can yoga be felt, can be realized. Luckily there's three more chapters that say well how do I keep myself in the moment of now because as we all know it's pretty elusive. So in the first sutra, the first line of the second chapter, the portion on practice, we have a little bit longer of a sutra here, a little more complex words, but tapa-ha sadhyaya ishvara pranidana hi kriya yoga-ha. Repeat it. So we might have heard some of these words, we know yoga, unite, union, reunite to heal the divide. Kriya, you might have heard anything with a kha sound is, my teacher Rod Stryker says the kha sound is the primary impulse of the divine. So anything with a kha is very, there's a lot of action, there's a lot of movement like kundalini, kriya, karma, kunda. These are kind of the primary impulse of the divine, there's a lot of action. And so kriya yoga-ha is yoga in action. So getting to the nitty-gritty, what is this yoga in action? It doesn't say what is this yoga on a sticky mat, it doesn't say what is this yoga in a downward-facing dog, it says what is this yoga in action? And it says it's the balance of tapa-ha sadhyaya ishvara pranidana. So it's the balance of these two seemingly opposing forces of tapa-ha and ishvara pranidana. Tapa or tapas, depending on how you're writing it, might have heard that term before, it's not the little delicious small plates you get in the restaurant, it's not that kind of tapas, but rather this heated, this engagement. It's not so much like the heat in the room, well if I turn up the room temperature to a hundred degrees, then I'll find this tapas, right? The tapas they're talking about is the heat, the fire of your focus, the level of hugging in and engagement. Because the same light that's in a light bulb is the same light that's in a laser, but just focus and direct it. And this is what tapas is, this level of engagement. Isvara pranidana can be like all of these sutras to find many different ways. Isvara pranidana might mean surrender to God, it might mean surrender just to universal forces, it might just be softened to what is, to melt tenderly to what is. And the only way we know, do we need a little more sprinkle of tapas or a little bit more sprinkle of Isvara pranidana is by this word in the middle here, svaidya. And svaidya is the sva, the study of the self, right? The study of us and how we're moving and navigating through the world, a constant kind of tightrope walk. And if you've ever seen someone, a new beginner tightrope walker, it's awkward. Their arms are flailing, their ankles are wobbly, they're falling quite a lot and this is us as we first begin. We make mistakes, we're falling quite a lot, but with time, with practice, with sadhana, there's always a negotiation, right? There's always a balance, but you always see the little quiver in the ankle, but you can get across without falling so much more gracefully. And we can think of this in our physical practice of asana, but we can also think of this in just in our relationships, right? We need to have a balance of effort and ease, a balance of engaging and softening, right? We need to be to boldly walk through the fire of our own emotional selves, to be burned in that fire and the fire cauterizes our wounds and we're stronger there, right? We need to soften and to surrender and to have faith and reverence for our own hearts and for our own selves as we move through this world and we need to listen, to constantly check in, to surround ourselves with groups of friends and teachers that can help us navigate, to help us study and to help us move this along this tightrope with greater ease. And even if you don't remember any of the anatomical proper terminology that we're going to go through, you can even sense it in the energy of the posture and if you're a teacher, the energy of your students in the posture, which you'll need a better sprinkle of tapas or isvara pranidhana. So you might have observed in yourself or if you're a teacher in your students when they're in say a lunge pose. Now surely this is not you but you might have seen, you might have had a friend that might show up in a lunge pose kind of like this. It's a whole heck of a lot of tapas, a whole lot of engagement and hugging in but not a lot of surrender, not a lot of softening. Conversely, same student, different student, for sure not you, but you might have seen someone in the same posture doing something like this, right? A whole lot of isvara pranidhana, a lot of softening, a lot of surrender, but no tapas, no engagement, no hugging in. Both are potentially endurious in the physical form. A too much hugging and too much engagement can be injurious, cause injury, too much release, softening, hanging and hammocking in the joints equally as weird for the body. So yoga in action, a balance of these energies, whether it's in our relationship with one another, with ourselves or with these pastures.


Maria Elena D
Very good, very informative, brilliant, thank you.
Kristin Leal
Thank you Maria Elena !! That's really kind!
Stacie C
This was fantastic!! And so inspiring! Also, you are hilarious. I will never move into a lunge now without thinking about this, lol.
Kristin Leal
hahahaha thanks Stacie
Jodie Creaser
I love your teaching easy to follow and understand!
Kristin Leal
Jodie Creaser Thank you for your kind words and for being here!
Fidan A
You are an amazing educator! I rarely enjoy seminars as much, you are a gem! So happy to discover you. You explain concepts with so much philosophical beauty and in such a gentle way! Thank you! I enjoyed every single episode so far
Kristin Leal
Oh my goodness Fidan A that makes my heart so happy to hear:) Thank you for being here and for your kind words!

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