The Yoga Sutras – chances are, you’ve heard of them, or been read a few Sutras aloud in a yoga class. These powerful messages, sometimes called ‘threads’ in this context, weave understanding into indirect and direct experiences as experienced by the self. They provide both a place of reflection and learning, encouraging one to see past the falsehoods of the mind, and instead, to find the true Self. Yoga, as we know, means union – the connection of the parts of the self, from one’s senses, actions, body, breath, and states of consciousness.
Below, we’ll examine three Sutras that pay special ode to connection and the oneness a yogi should see, and practice, in all. These Sutras encourage us to see the union in the world around us, and within us.
1. bandha karana shaithilyat prachara samvedanat cha chittasya para sharira aveshah
Translation: By loosening or letting go of the causes of bondage and attachment, and by following the knowledge of how to go forth into the passages of the mind, there comes the ability to enter into another body.
While it may sound somewhat mythical, this Sutra speaks both to one’s own spiritual ability to guide another and the inescapable connection we share with others. Though we identify with ourselves and our body, this sutra encourages us to let go of that identification, and see that we exist within all that we see before us, including others. Allow the view of the one-self to become undone, and lessen your sense of identity as it is derived from the body alone.
2. ahimsa pratishthayam tat vaira-tyagah
Translation: As a Yogi becomes grounded in non-injury, others will naturally lose any feelings of hostility.
You may recognize this Sutra from the Five Yamas. Known as the principle of ‘ahimsa’ or the non-harming principle, this Sutra breathes connection into our practice by reminding us that by becoming centered in a philosophy of non-injury – or, when one that understands that the world around then is truly one with them – others naturally lower their hostilities. Positivity begets positivity. Remember to practice this with all being and all people, for the practice itself provide reward and protection for the Self.
3. maitri karuna mudita upekshanam sukha duhka punya apunya vishayanam bhavanatah chitta prasadanam
Translation: In relationships, the mind becomes purified by cultivating feelings of friendliness towards those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, goodwill towards those who are virtuous, and indifference or neutrality towards those we perceive as wicked or evil.
In this sutra, the yogi is encouraged to remember that each form of mentality is in itself a form of meditation. Many schools of meditation actually center their methodology around one of these attitudes – friendliness, compassion, goodwill, or indifference. However, it is important to realize that each attitude itself is simply a step on the road of realization, and this Sutra highlights attitudes core to escaping or avoiding negativity in general, without avoiding the actual person exhibiting it. It’s suggested we cultivate an opposite attitude of this when confronted with this negativity.
Allow Connection in Your Life
When one begins to breathe in the understanding of connection into their practice, the very forms of positivity spoken about in the sutras become evident. Naturally, the living, evolving universe around the Self becomes more positive and more connected, and it’s driven the Self’s own understand that all is indeed one, and one is indeed all. Ponder on these sutras and what they mean to you in your own life. What lessons can your practice learn from them?