FREE WORKSHOP: Weaving the Yoga Sutras Into Daily Life

Weaving the Yoga Sutras Into Daily Life
A FREE Monthly Online Discussion
w/ Shuba Wavikar of Revolution Community Yoga
All Are Welcome!  You must pre-register in order to receive the Zoom link 1 hour before the workshop.
This forum is recorded.

Upcoming Online Sessions
Thursdays @ 7 – 8pm
(last Thursday of each month)
January 26th • {REGISTER}
February 23rd • {REGISTER}
March 30th • {REGISTER}
April 27th
May 25th
June 29th
July 27th
August 31st
September 28th
October 26th
November 30th
December 28th

During this monthly conversation, we will talk about how we might interpret and apply this timeless ideology in our daily life – on the mat, and off. This workshop will help us delve deeper together into yogic philosophy, going beyond the physical practice to know yoga as a way of life. We will discuss concepts from the yoga sutras, such as the chitta vrittis, kleshas, gunas, pratipaksha bhavana, Ishvara pranidhana and others. We will share our thoughts, experiences, questions and difficulties. This inquiry will definitely enrich our yoga practice, but even more so, our lives!!

Recommended resources:
“The Heart of Yoga – Developing a Personal Practice” by T. K. V. Desikachar
“The Path of the Yoga Sutras: A Practical Guide to the Core of Yoga” by Nicolai Bachman
“The Wisdom of Yoga” by Stephen Cope
“The Yamas and Niyamas” by Deborah Adele
“The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali” a new translation with commentary by Chip Hartranft
“The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”, a new edition, translation, and commentary by Edwin Bryant
“History of Yoga Full Film English” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoRwXMLsVis


Jan. 26th Notes

Hi everyone,

Happy New Year! May 2023 bring good health, peace and joy to all!

This month, we will discuss the final two limbs of the eight limbs of yoga in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras – dhyana and samadhi. Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (complete absorption) together are known as Samyama. With these, we enter the innermost quest of yoga. Some consider Samyama the most important aspect of yoga. We will discuss what the sutras – and some commentaries – say about these. While these limbs are said to be known only through experience, we will discuss our understanding of Dhyana and Samadhi, and briefly touch upon the stages, or aspects, of Samadhi.

This month, we will also start to read some selected sutras together. We will look at an overview of the yoga sutras, and their division into the four chapters.

If you have a book on the yoga sutras, please keep it available. If you don’t, no worries, I will share the relevant sutras through slides.

Before we meet, consider:

  • What is your understanding of Dhyana and Samadhi?
  • Do you have a meditation practice?
  • If yes, how has your meditation practice changed your understanding of life?
  • Do you meditate with a goal in mind?
  • How does Dharana differ from Dhyana in your understanding?
  • If you do not try to meditate, why not?

Nov. 20th Notes

Hi everyone,

This month, we will discuss the next two limbs of yoga – pratyahara and dharana. We will discuss what the sutras – and some commentaries – say about these. We will consider how the earlier limbs help our practice of pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses) and dharana (concentration). We will talk about how these practices affect our daily life and awareness. We will discuss our understanding and practice of these limbs.

Before we meet, consider:

  1. What does pratyahara mean to you? A means to an end, or the end result of a practice?
  2. Considering the sensory overload in today’s world, how do we practice pratyahara? Do our minds crave constant sensory information?
  3. How can asana practice help us with pratyahara? According to B. K. S. Iyengar guruji, ‘while performing an asana the intelligence of the body extends outwards, and the senses of perception, mind and intelligence are drawn inwards. It is the same in the performance of pranayama. This is pratyahara.’ Your thoughts?
  4. Does Shavasana help us with pratyahara? Does pratyahara help us enter shavasana? If you have a regular yoga practice, observe your mind during shavasana.
  5. Can asana be a practice of dharana?
  6. What tools do you use for Dharana – to focus your mind, or concentrate?
  7. Vyasa’s commentary mentions concentrating the mind on places such as ‘lotus of the heart, the tip of the nose (etc.)… or on an external object.’. Have you tried to concentrate your mind on a certain place or object?
  8. What obstacles do you face when trying to concentrate?
  9. When your mind wanders, what is your reaction? Are you compassionate?
  10. When we say we are meditating, are we really only concentrating?

To try: 

  1. Try to sit with silence for a few minutes, and /or try to be without media for a day…or a few hours. (Try not to check email, social media etc.)
  2. Next time you are on a walk in nature, try to focus on one sense mainly – see every little detail around you, or hear every little sound…
  3. If you practice yoga nidra, notice if you practice pratyahara.
  4. Observe how sense gratification might distract you during your day.

Oct. 30th Notes

This month, we will discuss the next two limbs of yoga – asana and pranayama. We will discuss what the sutras – and some commentaries – say about asana and pranayama. We will consider how the yamas and niyamas flow into the practice of these limbs. We will talk about how these practices change our daily life and awareness.

Sage Patanjali devotes only three sutras to Asana. No names of asanas are given. However Vyasa, an early commentator on the Sutras, mentions 12 names followed by ‘etc’. We will talk a little more about this. Sage Patanjali writes about aspects of pranayama, and how pranayama prepares the mind for concentration. We will discuss our understanding and practice of pranayama.

Before we meet, consider

  • Do you think contemporary yoga classes should explain the yamas and niyamas before asana, or alongside asana, as many do? Do you – consciously or subconsciously – weave the yamas and niyamas into your asana practice?
  • Do you have a regular asana practice? How is asana practice different for you, than say, going to the gym?
  • How does asana practice affect your body and mind? Has it helped you to tune into your body intelligence?
  • How do the first three limbs prepare us for pranayama?
  • Do you practice pranayama regularly?
  • Have you experienced the effect of pranayama on your state of mind/ body? ‘By regulating the prana, we regulate our minds’ – do you agree?
  • Does pranayama – a powerful practice – need to be better understood in today’s yoga environment?
  • Let’s talk about current scientific understanding about the power of breath. How does this relate to yogic pranayama teachings?
  • Recommendations you might have for books on asana and pranayama

Sept. 25th Notes

In the coming months of this year, we will revisit the eight limbs of yoga, outlined in the Yoga Sutras by Sage Patanjali. This month, we will discuss the first two limbs – the yamas and niyamas. We will consider the application of each of the 5 yamas (non harming, truthfulness, non stealing, non hoarding, moderation) and 5 niyamas (cleanliness, contentment, self study, self discipline, surrender) in our daily life. We will discuss what the sutras say about the yamas, niyamas, and how the yamas and niyamas flow our asana practice.

To ponder:

  1. The big question – What does ahimsa mean in our world today?
  2. How do we reconcile what is happening with yoga’s yama of ahimsa?
  3. Between Ahimsa and Satya, truthfulness bows to nonviolence, do you agree? Consider Ahimsa and Satya in this age of social media.
  4. Do we covet what others have? What about hoarding, taking more than needed? On a global as well as personal level.
  5. How do we practice moderation? How might we cleanse our minds?
  6. Can gratitude lead to contentment? Can contentment lead to peace?
  7. What might get in the way of our self discipline?
  8. How big is our need to stay in control? Do we trust in a higher power?
  9. Do you believe there should be an introduction to the yamas and niyamas before starting an asana practice?

Before we meet:

  • Observe, how often do we lie – white lies, little lies? Can we observe ourselves this week?
  • Truth can be hurtful. Can we practice satya with ahimsa?
  • Ahimsa – preventing hurting ourselves – how often do we let other people’s words/ actions cause hurt to ourselves? How might we prevent this?
  • Observe yourself this week – your thoughts, words, deeds. Observe if you practice the yamas and niyamas. Get to know yourself.
  • This week, try to break or form a habit (practice tapas). Observe the effort it might take.

Thursday, June 23rd Notes:

Thank you to all who participated in the earlier sessions, and shared your thoughts, your wisdom🙏! I hope you are enjoying these conversations as much as I am. We will continue our conversation in the coming months, discussing concepts/ thoughts from the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, and how they might weave into our contemporary life.

Sage Patañjali, in the second sutra, gives the goal or understanding of yoga – “Yogaścittavṛttinirodhaḥ” – Yoga is the restraint of fluctuations in the consciousness/ mind stuff. This month, we will talk about what our definition of yoga is. We will take a closer look at understanding these ‘citta vṛttis’. We will consider the mental distractions and obstacles/ afflictions as laid out by Sage Patañjali, and discuss how these apply to our modern life.

Before we meet:

  1. Consider ‘what is yoga’ to you.
  2. Observe your thoughts, and notice where the mind tends to go.
  3. Consider the sources of unhappiness or discomfort in your life – physical or otherwise.
  4. If you have a meditation practice, what causes distractions?
  5. What, in your opinion, is Sage Patañjali talking about when he lists ignorance as a main kleśa/ affliction?

Weaving the 8 Limbs of Yoga Into Daily Life w/ Shuba Wavikar (60 min; 5/22/2022) • {VIEW}

May 22nd:

This month, we will talk about the last three limbs of yoga – Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. We will look at what the Sutras say about these internal limbs.  If you have not already registered for this Sunday’s discussion, you can do so at https://yogaacton.com/weaving-the-8-limbs-of-yoga-into-daily-life/.
“When the mind is concentrated on the object of attention, it is called dharana. When the mind becomes absorbed into the object of attention, it is called dhyana. A dedicated and sustained practice of dhyana for an extended period can lead us to the final and eighth stage called Samadhi, which is the complete integration of all aspects of our being as wholeness.” – from ‘Teach yoga, touch hearts’ by Ritu Kapur. Dhyana is continuous, deep Dharana. In Samadhi, there is no perception of a subject separate from its object. There are different states of Samadhi.
Questions to ponder:
What tools do you use for Dharana – to focus your mind, or concentrate? Can meditation be taught? Can we only learn how to concentrate the mind? When we say we are meditating, are we really only concentrating?Do you have a meditation practice? How did you learn meditation? What is your experience about how meditation happens, how it affects you?Do you think it possible for our modern selves to experience moments of samadhi? Have you had an experience when time and space had no meaning, when you were in the ‘zone’,  you became one with what you were doing? Peripheral noises, objects did not bother/ distract you.How do we understand yoga as defined by the second sutra “Yogas chitta vritti nirodhah”, after journeying through these eight limbs of yoga? In the complexity of our modern life, yoga leads us back to simplicity, to the essence. Do you agree?
Before we meet:
Reflect upon Sage Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga.
Practice meditation if you have a regular practice.
Practice concentration on an object or a chakra, a mantra or breath.

Sage Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras form one of the original sacred texts of yoga. The study of the sutras – and the 8 Limbs of Yoga that the sutras refer to – is a lifelong process of practicing and embodying the philosophies.  In his texts, Patanjali describes eight limbs (ashta anga or ashtanga) of yoga. Asana (physical yoga postures) is only one of these limbs. An authentic and complete yoga practice necessarily includes the study of all eight limbs.


Weaving the 8 Limbs of Yoga Into Daily Life w/ Shuba Wavikar (60 min; 4/24/2022) • {VIEW}

April 24th:

Discussion of Pranayama and Pratyahara 
We will look at what the Sutras say about these two limbs. After the yamas and niyamas, asana prepares us for pranayama, or regulation of the breath or life force energy.
Pratyahara is interpreted as the withdrawal of the senses from external objects, or inward flow of the senses. B.K.S. Iyengar guruji calls pratyahara a pause and a bridge. It allows us to absorb the learning of the first four limbs, then move to the next three. It forms the foundation for dhyana, dharana and samadhi.
Questions to ponder:
1) What or who piqued your interest in learning about other aspects of yoga besides the physical practice?
2) How do the first three limbs prepare us for pranayama?
3) Do you practice pranayama regularly?
4) Have you experienced the effect of pranayama on your state of mind/ body? ‘By regulating the prana, we regulate our minds’ – do you agree?
5) Does pranayama – a powerful practice for a powerful energy – need to be better understood in today’s yoga environment?
6) What does pratyahara mean to you? A means to an end, or the end result of a practice?
7) Considering the sensory overload in today’s world, how do we practice pratyahara? Do our minds crave constant sensory information?
8] Is asana practice a form of pratyahara?
Before we meet:
• Observe your breath during different circumstances/ times during your day.
• Try to sit with silence and /or try to be without media for a day…or a few hours.

March 27th:
Discussion of the Yamas, Niyamas, and Asana

We had a fabulous first session in February, with great, interesting conversation. Thank you to all who attended, and shared your thoughts!

This month, we will discuss the first three limbs of yoga – yamas, niyamas and asana, sometimes called the bahiranga or outward quests. We will consider the application of each of the 5 yamas (non harming, truthfulness, non stealing, non hoarding, moderation) and 5 niyamas (cleanliness, contentment, self study, self discipline, surrender) in our daily life. We will discuss what the sutras say about the yamas, niyamas, asana and how the yamas and niyamas flow into our asana practice. We will talk about how asana practice weaves into our daily life and awareness, and prepares us for pranayama.

Questions to ponder:

  1. The big question – What does ahimsa mean in our world today? How do we reconcile what is happening with yoga’s yama of ahimsa?
  2. Between Ahimsa and Satya, truthfulness bows to nonviolence, do you agree? Satya in this age of social media – are we honest?
  3. Do we covet what others have? How do we learn contentment/ gratitude?
  4. How do we let go of attachment -”mine” – to the body, to objects?
  5. How do we cleanse our minds?
  6. Do you believe there is a power beyond the understanding of our intellect? What makes asana practice different from, say, going to the gym?
  7. Should there be an introduction to the yamas and niyamas before starting an asana practice?

For this week, before we meet:
Observe, how often do we lie – white lies, little lies? Can we observe ourselves this week? Can we practice satya with ahimsa?

Observe yourself this week – your thoughts, emotions, the body. Get to know yourself.

This week, try to break a habit (practice tapas). Observe the effort it might take.


April 24th:
Asana and Pranayama – what do the sutras say, discuss how asana and pranayama practice changes us. What gets in the way of our practice, linking back to our discussion in Feb. Talk about breath awareness, and about how the first four limbs prepare us for the next four.


May 22nd:
Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi – talk about sensory overload in modern times – is Pratyahara more challenging, difference between Dharana and Dhyana, what might Samadhi mean in our modern life.


Past Sessions:
Introduction to Patanjali Yoga Sutras and the eight limbs of yoga, discussion of a few key sutras. Discussion of mental fluctuations… mental chatter 🙂 and distractions or obstacles, application in daily life.

 

Shuba Wavikar

Shubhada Wavikar

Originally from India, I see yoga as a way of life, as a philosophy for living. Yoga, to me, is an incredible – often transformative – blessing that should be accessible to everyone – to all bodies, minds and abilities. I started on the yoga instructor journey a few years ago to deepen my own practice, and to be able to humbly share this legacy with others. My students have ranged from 3 years old (kids’ yoga) to 100 years old (chair yoga). Each has taught me something, opened my mind to new experiences, new ways of thinking about yoga. And I hope they have felt, in one way or another, touched by the magic of yoga.

I am a registered yoga instructor, and received my 200 hour and 300 hour teacher training at The Yoga Studio in Millis, MA, and an additional 300 hour teacher training at Down Under Yoga, MA. I am currently enrolled in a part online teacher training program with an Institute in India. I am also trained in yoga nidra and kids’ yoga.

I am deeply interested in all of yoga’s teachings, its ideology and practices. This is such a vast field of knowledge, that one lifetime is too short to explore it. I am a keen student of yoga history, anatomy, Sanskrit, subtle body concepts like chakras, and of course, philosophical underpinnings from the Bhagwad Gita, the Yoga Sutras and Samkhya philosophy. When not on my mat, I love being outdoors, gardening and hiking. I’m also a voracious reader and a lover of murder mysteries 🙂