Sutra Sunday Posts

PatanjaliSundays, Maggie Reagh presents a series of blog posts on one of Patanjali’s key Yoga Sūtra-s (YS), encouraging you to reflect on how it relates to your current life situation through a Yoga Sūtra Journal Question.

The sacredness of Sun (Surya)-day, the day that the Sun is honoured in many cultures, is a brilliant day to do Sva-dhyaya (Self-reflection) through the vehicle of the YS, which like koans, can break your head open, revealing the wisdom of your inherent shining Heart.

Maggie honours her great Yoga-acharya, DV Sridhar of Yoga Rakṣanam, Chennai, India for teaching her the YS for more than 10 years. This blog is dedicated to him and her other Yoga Masters, Radha Sridhar and Viji Vasu with great gratitude.

While what she has learnt from her Masters is the starting point of her Sūtra reflections, Maggie’s blogs include her own insights and interpretations from 20 years of Yoga practice both on and off the mat.

She requests your indulgence for any mistakes unintentionally made and would appreciate any feedback.


A Vow to Teach and Learn

Sat, 08/17/2013 - 21:02 -- admin

Patanjali I-1 Atha-yogānuśāsanam Now, let’s start our study of Yoga as it has been practiced, experienced, applied, and only then passed down from teacher to student throughout the centuries. May it be an auspicious beginning for the benefit of all future generations of Yogi-s.

Atha Here, the authority of the teacher is asserted to teach. This sutra is a promise by the teacher to teach all that she can AND by the student to learn all he can. This vow is called a Pratigjna Sutra or Mudra (seal) made with the right palm on top of the left on the right knee.

In modern society, going deeply into any one path or relationship is not the norm. We tend to be spiritual butterflies on the path to Enlightenment, thinking that this constant change in direction is equivalent to Freedom (Kaivalyam). Patanjali warns against this approach here. Pick your direction and go deeply into it with commitment. The commitment to the practice of Yoga, however, should be one that comes from a state of Abhyāsa (I-12), practicing being Present, not from a sense of duty or from other mental constructs (vrtti-s and kleśa-s). Your commitment to a particular direction should be made from the Heart not the head. The length of time that you stay committed to the direction also should come from this state of Presence, that state called Yoga. Beware of mind games that keep throwing new exciting directions your way. Use discipline (tapas) to keep on track without becoming rigid or unwilling to change direction if your Self-reflection (Sva-dhyaya) tells you need to do so (see YS II-1 on Kriya Yoga, how to make any action into Yoga).

Yoga is a great secret. The ancient Yoga tradition says not to teach just anyone. Such teachers say, “I have tested you, and only NOW you are ready for this study of Yoga.” If you give this knowledge to the wrong student, it can be misused. It can be used to injure others. As teachers, make sure the students want to learn to help not harm. Classically, students were put through many character tests. My teacher, DV Sridhar says, however, that the only prerequisite is that a student have śraddha (trust, enthusiasm, faith, YS I-20). It is the responsibility of the student to take the first step towards the teacher, but afterwards, it is the teacher’s responsibility to fan the flames of śraddha.

An Opening Prayer

Sat, 08/10/2013 - 22:05 -- admin

I-1 Atha-yogānuśāsanam Now, let’s start our study of Yoga as it has been practiced, experienced, applied, and only then passed down from teacher to student throughout the centuries. May it be an auspicious beginning for the benefit of all future generations of Yogi-s.

Atha Atha creates an auspicious atmosphere for a new beginning. Something significant is going to happen. You have passed through the prerequisite to this new beginning, and now are ready to move on to something new. You are going to transform so get ready!

Nothing starts without a prayer in India, so Patanjali’s YS are no different. Instead of OM, however, here he uses Atha, which is non-religious and thus, for everyone - theists, atheists, and agnostics alike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are you committed to?

Sat, 08/03/2013 - 19:29 -- admin

Patanjali Statue Yoga SutrasEvery Sunday, Maggie Reagh will present a month-long series of blog posts on one of Patanjali’s key Yoga Sutra-s (YS), encouraging you to reflect on how it relates to your current life situation through a Yoga Sutra Journal Question.

The sacredness of Sun (Surya)-day, the day that the Sun is honoured in many cultures, is a brilliant day to do Sva-dhyaya (Self-reflection) through the vehicle of the YS, which like koans, can break your head open, revealing the wisdom of your inherent shining Heart.

Maggie honours her great Yoga-acharya, DV Sridhar of Yoga Rakṣanam, Chennai, India for teaching her the YS for more than 10 years. This blog is dedicated to him and her other teachers with great gratitude.

We start our exploration with the first sutra of the first chapter of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra-s, Sāmadhi Pādaḥ, The Path to an Enlightened Heart.

I-1 Atha-yogānuśāsanam Now, let’s start our study of Yoga as it has been practiced, experienced, and applied, only then being passed down from teacher to student throughout the centuries. May it be an auspicious beginning for the benefit of all future generations of Yogi-s.

Yoga Sutra Journal Question

What are you committed to? What are your long term goals? What are the benefits or pitfalls of being committed to pursuing those goals? Are they coming from your head or Heart? Do you struggle with sticking to one thing for a long time, jumping from one experience to another OR do you commit and go in deeply through the ups and downs of each long term experience?

Capilano Spirit Award - Summer 2013

Fri, 07/05/2013 - 14:58 -- Maggie

This summer, I won the Capilano Spirit Award for my work with Therapeutic Yoga and EAP at Capilano University. It was a great honour to receive it and to be recognized by my inspiring Yoga students at Cap U!

This is what my nominators said: Maggie Reagh is an inspirational motivator in the lunchtime therapeutic yoga sessions, which she has been squeezing into her busy schedule for the benefit of employees. Many have enjoyed the benefits of going to yoga, not just feeling invigorated to return to their afternoon work, but also inspired to do more with their lives, coming from the enthusiasm and happy spirit of Maggie. Her abundance of energy, never ending smile and beautiful voice stay with many of us throughout our work and private lives. She totally embellishes the work/life balance with her yoga and positivity.

She also has worked tirelessly in bringing a new direction to ESL, now called English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and in making changes to the program. One of the recent changes is the new EAP 100/101 course, which holds University credit and students may use these courses as elective credits in other programs.

Maggie is very worthy of the Capilano Spirit Award, giving endlessly to students and employees alike!

Cortes Island Summer Therapeutic Yoga Retreat: August 26-30, 2015

Sun, 06/30/2013 - 07:32 -- Maggie

Tai Li Lodge Yoga Therapy Retreat August 2015Cortes Island Summer Therapeutic Yoga Retreat: August 26-30, 2015

Tai Li Lodge Dates August 26-30, 2015

Cost $680 plus GST for a 5 day retreat (4 nights) that includes shared accommodation and simple vegetarian meals

Schedule Arrive Wednesday, August 26th
6pm dinner, followed by sharing circle with restorative Yoga breathing/meditation/chanting

Thursday, August 27 to Saturday, August 29th 7-9 am Morning Therapeutic Yoga
9-11 am Breakfast, Clean Up, & Rest
11-12:30 Yoga Practices/Philosophy/Chanting
12:30-2pm Lunch and Clean Up
2-6pm Enjoy Cortes Island!
6-7:30pm Light Dinner and Clean Up
7:30-9:30 pm Restorative Yoga/Breathing/Meditation/Chanting

Leave Sunday, August 30th 7-9 am Morning Therapeutic Yoga
9-10:30 am Breakfast & Clean Up
Packed lunch to go!

Registration is limited to 8 people. If you are interested, please contact Maggie directly.

 
 

 

Calming your Vata Doṣa this Fall - Healing Tips from Ayurveda

Sat, 10/20/2012 - 18:53 -- Maggie

What is Ayurveda? Ayurveda, the traditional medicinal system from ancient India, has been healing humanity through lifestyle modifications and herbal medicine for over 6000 years. Ayur-veda, meaning the knowledge of life, suggests that our lifestyle be examined before taking medicine. These lifestyle modifications are simple things that your own grandmother might have told you, especially if she were from India! We will examine some of these simple home remedies that will help promote calmness during the fall season.

3 Doṣas - 4 Seasons In Ayurveda, there are 3 primary energies or dośas: Vata (Cold Air-Ether), Pitta (Hot Fire-Water), and Kapha (Cold Water-Earth). Just as every person and every time of day has a dośa, that predominates, every season is also dominated by one of the 3 dośas. Fall is ruled by Vata, winter by Kapha, spring by Kapha-Pitta, and summer by Pitta.

Calming your Vata this Fall No matter what your prakrti (natural constitution), you are always affected by the changes in your environment including the seasonal ones. When the dry, cool fall winds start to blow, it is important to adjust your lifestyle to balance the Vata predominant in nature. If you have a Vata constitution (ectomorph, thin, tight body type), these tips are even more important as you will be doubly affected by the Vata season. Kaphas (endomorphs, large, round body types) and Pittas (mesomorphs, medium, muscular body types) are more affected by winter and summer, respectively.

Daily Lifestyle Routines The word routine is death to Vatas, but that is exactly what they need to calm their over stimulated nervous systems. Ideally, going to bed before 10 pm and getting up before 6am (or sunrise – later in winter) is the suggested sleep pattern for all prakrtis, especially during the fall. Another important routine is that of eating. Regular eating times, a light breakfast, a heavier lunch, as well as a light dinner by 7pm, all aid digestion and calm Vata imbalances. Since both of these ideals are difficult to achieve in our 24-7 society, do the best you can to at least establish a regular routine, no matter what it is. Getting up early one day and sleeping in the next or eating at 6pm one day and at 10pm the next, all promote Vata imbalance and poor digestion-elimination.

Body Oil Massage Another important way of balancing Vata is through massaging the body, joints, and even the head with oil. Sesame oil is the generic anti-Vata oil for back/neck pain, sore joints, dry feet, dry skin, and anxiety, all Vata imbalances. Heat the oil slightly before applying and try to leave on at least one hour before showering it off. You can also try putting some on your feet, knees, belly, back, neck, etc. before bed and showering it off in the morning. I also find applying oil before entering a hot bath and sitting in it for 30 minutes works well and is less messy.

Warm, Moist, Oily Food Adding some oil rich in omega 3’s to your favorite stir fry, dhal, oatmeal or soup just before eating it, will also help calm your Vata dośa this fall. Spicy pumpkin, acorn, or carrot soups will ward off the dry, cool winds from your bones and calm the nervous system. They will help keep your digestive fires burning brightly. Holiday favorites at a typical Thanksgiving meal all decrease Vata while promoting Pitta and Kapha. Be careful of caffeinated teas which promote Vata though chai is more balanced with its warming spices.

Yoga Therapy for Balancing Vata Yoga Therapy, Yoga Cikitsa, has its historical roots in both classical Ayurveda and Patanjali’s 8-limbed system of Yoga. For calming Vata dośa, the breath should be made long and smooth through the correct application of primarily forward bends, which massage the colon, Vata’s home in the body. Twists can also be beneficially if constipation (a Vata imbalance) exists, caused by weak digestion: weak agni (Pitta dośa) – weak fire in belly/small intestine – weak digestive enzymes. In addition, restorative back bends like setubandha sarvangāsana can help stretch out the colon, promoting circulation and relaxation. All restorative poses, meditation, and śavāsana (relaxation/corpse pose) in fact will be very helpful for reducing Vata dośa, as they relax the mind and promote ojas production (positive Kapha dośa/immunity/vitality/the flower of great health). Try restorative poses after applying warm oil to the body (or even just the feet) – use old clothes and towels!

Gratitude During this season of harvest, by giving thanks for all that we have, the Vata predominance of the fall season is balanced and nourished by the more Kapha emotions of love and gratitude. Make gratitude part of your daily routine including in your Yoga practice. Changes made at the mind-heart level have a more fundamental effect on our healing than any other lifestyle modifications we may make.

As we move into the fall season of freshly harvested food, pumpkin pies, and spiced teas, keep warm and nourished inside and out through these simple lifestyle modifications.

 

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