February 19, 2013.
For growing numbers of harried Americans, a single step into a yoga class begins a transformative journey into the vast world that unites body, mind, and spirit. The physical part of yoga practice has become a gateway to the true ancient spiritual discipline.
It’s not unusual for someone to enter yoga class just to try some good stretching but soon find herself wanting to go deeper into exploration of that profound peace that touches her consciousness, even in a simple yoga asana class. Once we cross that threshold, we open ourselves to limitless possibilities and to realms many of us have yet to dream of. When we let go and look within, the power we experience can transform our lives.
The Yoga Sutras offer us a great spiritual text and guide. The study of these Sutras embodies the purity of this dharma, the righteous path of yoga. The Sutras weave together a beautiful tapestry of essential wisdom and insights that allow us to know our Divine Nature. The Yoga Sutras use the insights of the ancient scriptures to depict the nature of consciousness and the path to liberation.
There is some uncertainty surrounding the origins of the 196 aphorisms in the text of the Yoga Sutras. Historians have deduced that the Sutras were originally compiled and codified by the great sage Sri Patanjali. It is thought that he lived at least 2,500 years ago.
Much of the wisdom we find in the Sutras is distilled and simplified from earlier sacred texts, such as the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita. Patanjali wanted to restate these great teachings in a way that made them relevant to the people of his time. He also realized that, if more people learned these great gems of wisdom, there was a greater likelihood that the essence of the teachings would be preserved and would flourish. He was right! It turned out that those Sutras remained relevant through the centuries. Today, they can guide our lives and our journey within just as surely as they did more than 2,000 years ago.
The Sutras themselves are short statements, each worthy of contemplation. Every book about the Yoga Sutras (the study of which is called Raja Yoga, the Royal Path) contains the Sutras, along with the author’s unique commentary. My own book of the Yoga Sutras is called The Secret Power of Yoga.
The Secret Power of Yoga is the knowledge that lies on the other side of the threshold, the knowledge that we are not just our bodies, our minds, or our emotions. The secret that brings endless power is knowing that we are Divine beings. This knowledge can permeate our entire lives, ultimately bringing us to a permanent state of peace, joy, and love.