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 intelligenceand 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.)
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
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.