Yoga Sutras


Yoga Sutras

In Asana we learn to See

Yoga Sutras

As I was gathering more of my notes for my 200 hour yoga teacher training manual today, I came across an article which explains and sums up a huge part of what yoga is all about.

One of the modules we will be covering during the training (which will be locked in for early next year, 2018) is on the Yoga Sutras, a very important part of the yogic path. Here’s a little preview for you.

The ‘Seeker’ and the ‘Seer’. I can already hear some of you saying ‘huh’?.

In Sanskrit, the seeker is known as prakrti (the world outside of us and the world inside of us) and seer is purusa (Atman, which is the spiritual essence within us).

It is suggested that as long as we are caught up in the world, even while seeking something higher, we are bound to suffer. To become free of suffering we must learn to free our consciousness from identification with the world around us, including the process of seeking.

In our daily lives we do not experience the seer within us as we are so caught up in our busy little lives that we don’t have the time to work on quietening the mind. We are constantly seeking something. When we are hungry, we seek food. When we are lonely, we seek solace. When we are bored, we seek distraction and so on.  At other times, when we are satisfied, we become frustrated because our satisfaction does not last long enough.  In this way, we are always bound to the material world.  Always caught in the cycle of seeking and fulfilment, we seldom experience internal stillness, the key ingredient to long term contentment.

For those of us who are fortunate enough to have the time to devote to a daily, weekly yoga practice, we are taught to use the asanas and breath as a link to explore from the gross level to a more subtle level.  We have the opportunity to examine our body, our emotions and our mind.  We begin to move from the ‘known’ to the ‘unknown’ and in the process we begin to unmask our ignorance and begin to experience more contentment and less suffering.

Stay close for more updates on my 200 hour yoga teacher training.

About Julie Stephens

I started my yoga journey approximately 30 years ago and after many years of travelling around the world I decided I was ready to commit myself to becoming a yoga teacher. The draw card for me was/is more of the spiritual aspect as I have always been curious about the bigger picture, meditating and finding contentment. The physical side was an added bonus. In the late 90s, I was living on the Gold Coast in Australia and practising regularly at the Gold Coast Yoga Centre. In 2000, I started my yoga teacher training apprenticeship – at that time it didn’t have an end to it. I was basically told that I would be finished my training when they saw that I was ready. This took 18 months of practising six days a week, 30 hours a week. There were no excuses for missing the training and if I didn’t turn up, I would have been expelled from the program. With hindsight, this was one of the most important lessons I learnt, as it gave me the dedication to continue my six-day-a-week practice no matter what the circumstances were and I can tell you, there were many interesting situations where I would be practising amongst the local people in Mongolia, China, The Tibetan plateau, Nepal, India etc, on trains, planes, airport disabled toilets because they were big… anyway, my point being, is that I had to maintain this combination of devotional practice and study which has allowed me to gain a much deeper knowledge and understanding of the amazing art and science of yoga. Since I qualified I have owned a yoga studio on the Gold Coast, taught in Korea, Taipei, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia, Bali and of course New Zealand, which is where I am now based. For me this has been the perfect balance of doing what I love, teaching yoga and travelling. I am blessed to have trained with a lot of great inspirational teachers along this journey, such as Erich Schiffman, Donna Farhi, Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, Rodney Yee, Ana Forest, David and Sharon, the founders of Jivamukti, Andrey Lappa from Universal Yoga, Nicky Knoff (Iyengar), John Friend (Anusara), David Soul Ray, Lance Schuler, Clive Sheridan and of course my teachers: Kameron Story, Mark Togni and Suzanne Grey from whom I learnt the Ashtanga Primary and Second series, Vinyasa Flow, Restorative Yoga, meditation and pranayama. The style of yoga I predominantly teach is Vinyasa Flow, which leads you through a flowing series of postures with an emphasis on the breath. Options are given and the yoga class is structured so that each pose prepares the student for the next. Everybody can do my yoga from a beginner level, pre-natal, general through to advanced. In the beginner and pre-natal yoga classes the emphasis is on the foundations of yoga with the correct use of props ie; blankets, blocks, straps and bolsters, to enable the student to practise safely. I also teach Hatha, Iyengar and Ashtanga Yoga. I offer beginners’ classes and yoga therapy. The class environment is positive and fun, so you can feel at ease and comfortable to practice at your own level, after all it is ultimately about your own self exploration. As a yoga teacher I feel truly honoured and privileged to be able to share such an ancient practice – one that offers not only great physical benefits, but ultimately allows us to be mindful, happy and content.

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