Archive for March, 2013

Beginner’s Course, Beginner’s Mind

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

For the last 6 weeks students have been participating in an 8 Week Beginner’s Course at Karuna, taught by Paul Menard. With just two weeks to go participants have been experiencing remarkable changes in their own practice while witnessing and cheering on their peers as they grow and learn together. While many in the course are true beginners, having done little or no Yoga before, several participants are seasoned practitioners and teachers. Among the qualities of the course that are being celebrated by the students is the space that is being held to be a beginner. Those who are coming across the materials, movements and terminology for the first time have a space to do so safely, without judgement, inhibition or self consciousness. They have a space to cultivate curiosity and attune to subtlety. Those who are revisiting the fundamentals have a space to practice as though they were beginners. This opportunity not only benefits their practice to continually keep the mind open and willing to learn, it also enriches their teaching. The beginner course gives all students an opportunity to  practice “always being, always becoming”.

The 8 Week Beginner’s Course is an ongoing series at Karuna. The next series starts Friday April 5th and continues through the end of May. Both seasoned practitioners and  new teachers are welcome to join to brush up on their fundamental knowledge. All will enjoy the benefits of detailed slow instructions, supplemental materials and assignments to support a home practice, and carefully planned incremental learning.

See you all there!

Commentary on Sutra III.36- Susan Yard Harris

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013
Currently the participants in Karuna’s weekly Sutra Study group have been discussing the third chapter of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Each week one student takes one or two sutras, reads several translations and commentaries from sources such as B.K.S. Iyengar and Edwin Bryant, summarizes their translations, then writes an interpretation of their own. Susan Yard Harris, a Yoga teacher at Karuna, shared this interpretation of Sutra III.36:
Sutra III.36:
By samyama, the yogi easily differentiates between the intelligence
and the soul, which is real and true. (Translation by B.K.S. Iyengar)
Samyama means holding together, integration; the application of dharana, dhyana,
and samadhi on an object of meditation. By dharana and dhyana, the practitioner
can experience the difference between the intelligence and the soul. (Read
Iyengar’s commentary on the Sutras, p. 217.)
Susan’s commentary:
Yoga provides us with techniques that enable us to quiet the citta and experience
the light of the soul. Cultivating awareness of the fluctuations of consciousness,
attention to the breath when thoughts arise, practice and detachment by quieting
the organs of perception, and meditation on the effulgent light in the center of the
heart (which is the soul) teach us to observe our thoughts and emotions with a
loving witness and open us to experience the light of the soul.
Teaching awareness helps our students become more conscious. Teaching
compassion helps them (and us) develop a loving witness to their thoughts and
actions on the yoga mat and in life. Attention to the breath and pranayama quiet
the mind and bring students into a receptive state so that light can arise. A well-
thought-out and well-taught sequence builds physical strength and quiets the
nervous system for dharana and dhyana. Students will learn that steadfast practice
over a long period of time develops their fortitude and devotion.
Just as teaching sincerely and from your heart helps your students open to
experience their own truth, personal practice becomes, over time, the way you live
your life.
Susan teaches “Wise Yoga- 50 and Up” on Mondays from 4-5pm at Karuna. The Sutra Study group is on Thursdays 5-5:25 and is free and open to the public.