March 14, 2020

Sutra 1.12: Do Be Do Be Do

"Doing is never enough if you neglect being."
- Eckhart Tolle

Samadhi Pada: Yoga of Being in the Now

    1.12 Abhyasa Vairagyabhyam tannirodhah
    • abhyasa = practice
    • vairagya = non-attachment/acceptance
    • abhyam = both
    • tan = this/that
    • nirodha = tranquility/stillness

Yoga sutras Coles notes version so far . . . .
Sutras 1.1-1.4 = what is yoga
Sutras 1.5-1.11 = five specific ways our mind prevents us from seeing our true light

Sutra 1.12 begins the journey of giving us instructions for ways we can sort through the muck to find, experience and know our true authentic selves. Spoiler alert . . . . . it's taking the middle path! In our lives as humans we constantly encounter opposing energies - good/bad, right/wrong, dark/light, fear/love etc. In our practice on the mat we are constantly working with and balancing opposing energies - root to rise, inhale to exhale, contract to expand, etc. Sutra 1.12 gives us two more opposing energies that we need to play the fine line between in order to work towards balance - abhyasa (practice or doing) and vairagya (acceptance or being).   

According to the Yoga Sutras, by finding balance between doing and being we'll find presence and peace. It doesn't say that doing is more important. It doesn't say that being is more important. It says that both are important and both are needed. I find it ironic to work with this sutra at this time during these days of uncertainty. Right now we are being asked to do nothing, to lay low, to simply be. Yet before this current crisis in the west, we can't deny that doing is the path we have leaned more heavily towards. Our current situation is somewhat forcing us to examine the other path of being. Our challenge in yoga and in life, according to this sutra, is to find the balance in between the two. Being allows us space to tap into our vision and priorities with doing helping us determine and carry out the steps to get there. Doing gives us motivation and vitality with being keeping us in presence letting go of the need for things to turn out a certain way. Both are needed, both are valuable and this middle path between the two is what will focus our mind to help us see more clearly. That is yoga!  
My challenge for you this week is two fold (and can all be done whether you are forced home or not). First, do a physical asana practice and be in meditation ideally every day this week and try to strike a balance between the two. If you do a physical flow for 15 minutes, then sit in meditation for 15 minutes. Second, put aside some time at least one time this week and journal about the following questions: What am I doing in my life (you can be as general or as specific as you'd like)? Who am I being in my life? Notice if one is easier to answer than the other. Does it make you aware of which path you are neglecting or which one you are favouring. Part of vairagya is letting go and acceptance, so don't worry about being right or wrong or making judgements. Simply be the witness and observe.

Sending you tons of love and hoping that in these uncertain times we can all find a little bit of balance. 
Sutra 1.12 The fluctuations of the mind are stilled through practice and acceptance.

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