Aims for Practice

Use the following to bring a focus to your practice, a way in which to evaluate the practice or the results of the practice. Use these questions so that your practice on the mat sheds light on your mind off the mat.

(list is added to on a regular basis)

  • What do you consider an afflicting thought? Is it simply a thought that is painful?
    • Are there thoughts or feelings that you try to avoid?
    •  In your daily life, observe and consider the categories of thought that Patañjali describes. When do you function from real perception or correct knowledge? Illusion? Imagination? Projection?
  • What states of mind take you away from direct perception? Observe instances of denial, disassociation, or distraction.
  • How are habits of the mind related to habits of the body?
  • Consider the practice of yoga as defined as moving the mind toward nirodha (stillness of the fluctuation of the mind). Are you better able to experience this alone or in a group? With your eyes open or closed? In an activity or in stillness?

(from Julia Shaida’s guide to the Yoga Sutras)


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