May 01, 2021

Sutra 2.16: Approach with Reverence

Sadhana Pada: Yoga in Action (Experience the Now)

    2.16 Heyam duhkham anagatam 
    • heyam = be avoided / be overcome
    • duhkham = anxiety / pain / suffering
    • anagatam = future / not yet come

I believe in the power of gratitude. I experienced it, I lived it, I healed with it and I even did a talk about it. Gratitude changed my life. Eventually, gratitude became my way of being.

As humans, however, we are designed to change, morph, expand and go through cycles. Gratitude became so ingrained in me that when new difficulties and challenges arose in my life, my "go-to fix it" of gratitude just didn't seem to be enough.

In our physical asana practice we are continually evolving and changing. We "master" one pose only to find that there are more subtle layers to the shape. There's a deeper level that we can go to more fully embody the pose. 

Yoga asanas don't have an end point. The more we practice, the more proficient we may become but there will always be more to learn, to overcome and to become. So it is with life. 

The last sutra (2.15) told us that life is suffering. Suffering and pain will always be a part of life, but this sutra tells us we can overcome future (or more) suffering by shifting our attention to see how the "situation" can help us grow and expand NOW. The more presence and awareness we can have in our yoga practice (ALL parts of yoga, not just the asanas) the more conscious we can be to embody a deeper layer and become aware of how our experiences of suffering can help us grow.

I'm now leaning into what I interpret and feel as a deeper layer of gratitude . . . reverence. Using the lessons from my mat, I am approaching obstacles and roadblocks with this (new to me) subtle energy to transform from suffering to curiosity. How can these experiences help me grow? 

"When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things." - John O'Donohue 

Your challenge for this week is to contemplate suffering in your yoga practice and in life. What is your natural reaction to pain and suffering? Is it your tendency to hold onto painful situations and events? If so, how can you transmute this energy to become one that will allow you to grow (eg. gratitude, reverence, presence, letting go, etc.)?        

Sutra 2.16 Future suffering can be overcome.

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