In Saturday’s afternoon training session, we mostly talked about yoga philosophy: the obstacles in our minds that prevent us from achieving enlightenment, as well as the attitudes that help us along the way.
We talked first about the kleshas: the five deficiences in the mind that obstruct us. I’ve posted about the kleshas here before, so I felt pretty solid on that. Focusing and controlling the mind can help to overcome the kleshas, which results in feeling calmer, more aware, and more balanced. We also talked about the nine obstacles to mental clarity, which I find fascinating and can’t wait to discuss here later. On the positive side, we talked about the bhavas (the four spiritual attitudes of an aspirant) and the parakarmas (four attitudes towards social relationships that help us overcome negative emotions in our dealings with others). These too I’ll discuss in more detail later this month.
Here’s our homework for August/September:
- Read the rest of the Yoga Sutras (we’ve done all of book II so far, so I’ll be reading books I, III, and IV)
- Write a paper on my likes and dislikes, attachments and aversions – it doesn’t have to be a long paper, but listing these things will help me to better understand my motivations and the influence of the kleshas in my life
- Write up two inverted postures
- Choose a topic for a 15-minute presentation to be given in October and begin research (I know my topic already – when I’m ready to get into the research, you’ll hear more!)
At the end of Saturday’s session, we split into two teams and played Yoga Jeopardy (with J acting as a hilarious Alex Trebek/Vanna White). My team got an early lead by choosing the 500-level questions, and then we swept the Sanskrit category (largely due to Joanna, who somehow appears to be fluent). The other team rallied and almost caught up to us, particularly after answering some really hard Yoga Philosophy questions (which my team totally would have missed), but ultimately my team won the day. (I must admit, I am not so unattached and advanced in my yoga training – I did whoop a little at our victory.)
Do you know which inversions you’ll chose to write up?
We have to do shoulder stand as one of them. Not sure about what I’ll do for the other one, haven’t really thought about it yet. It might be a good idea to do headstand, since I’ve been having some issues with headstand lately and doing a write-up might help me to understand the alignment better and feel better about it, but I think I’d be more comfortable writing up tripod.