our new sticker & musings on the hatha yoga pradipika

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thought you would enjoy seeing our newly designed sticker that encompasses three things tres important to the hip tranquil chick: yoga, do-gooding, and creativity!

also, i must confess that i LOVED the hatha yoga pradipika! i had to write 5 pages about one sutra and i chose chapter 1, verse 16: i & ii. below are pieces of the report for you to peruse:

Enthusiasm, perseverance, discrimination, unshakeable faith, courage, avoiding the company of common people, are the (six causes) which bring success in yoga. Non-violence, truth, non-stealing, continence (being absorbed in a pure state of consciousness), forgiveness, endurance, compassion, humility, moderate diet and cleanliness are the ten rules of conduct (yama).

I was elated to see that enthusiasm was touted as an important part of one’s practice. The book reminds us that “every day should seem like the first day of practice.” I love the application of the beginner’s mind to each practice.

Enthusiasm only goes so far, we must also have a regular practice – hence the focus on perseverance. The book emphasizes that no matter what is going on in our lives, we must practice and with an optimistic spirit.

The explanation of discrimination takes me into my favorite topic – yoga off the mat. The book explains that “everything you do and every aspect of your life, including your diet, clothing, company, material necessities, conversations, etc. should be conducive to your sadhana.” This is how we take our practice of yoga off the mat – by being mindful of our talk, shopping habits, mind habits, food consumption, etc. If we have a beautiful triangle pose but are not able to hold our tongue in challenging situations or treat others with respect, our practice is not being true to its purpose.

The book describes unshakeable faith as the way to stand strong in our practice and shares a story of a hermit and religious man who showed the hermit how to do his practice “the right way.” The hermit then panicked as he couldn’t remember which way was the right way. I loved this. With so many styles of yoga out there and so many ways to do practice hatha yoga, many yogis get confused on what is truly the right way. By having faith and the right attitude, it’s not so much what you practice but how you practice.

Next is courage and we must have courage to face all that comes up for us during our practice. I often hear that our yoga mat is a mirror for our life. The way we force ourselves into poses that are beyond our level or don’t push ourselves into poses that we should be trying is an interesting juxtaposition of how we react in daily life. We must have the courage to face our demons and make appropriate changes.

The notion of “avoiding the company of common people” sounds so hoity-toity or pretentious but it is much better explained in the book as avoiding mingling with people who have lower aspirations. I totally agree with this because as we are trying to find our way while growing on and off the mat, if we spend a lot of energy and/or time with people who do not value our practice, our growth will be hindered. The book reminds us that “a sadhaka should not consider the others to be inferior, but until his physical, mental, emotional, and psychic resistance are developed, it is better to stay away from social interactions and negative influences.”

Finally, the last of the yamas is “cleanliness in your whole lifestyle, keeping the body and mind in a pure state” and is the perfect way to wrap up this report (which was most enjoyable to write). We’re all searching for tools on how best to grow and live our practice as yogis and I feel as if this sutra offered numerous insights. By keeping our body, surroundings, thoughts, food, and actions clean, we are able to live in a more conscious and fruitful way. Keeping ourselves and our world orderly allows for an ease of flow in our sadhana. We’ve all experienced the joy that opens when we clear off a desk, let a reoccurring thought go, or remove a toxic component from our diet. By practicing this elimination of negative to make room for more positive, our lifestyle and world will experience a tranquil and pure shift.