• Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

    Retreat “Yoga Sutras”

    by Nina Terpstra

    Retreat “Yoga Sutras” guided by Swami Ma Tripurashakti Bharati

    On the 4th till the 6th of May a weekend workshop was held by Swami Ma Tripurashakti Bharati (Ma Tri) in The Beukenhof, The Netherlands. In the programme both theory and practice were combined to introduce us to the ‘secrets’ of the Yoga Sutras.

    The Yoga Sutras are known to be written by ‘Patanjali’. Patanjali was likely a group of yogis with great (experiential) knowledge of yoga and self-realization. Swami Ma Tri brought us in contact with this ancient knowledge. She encouraged us to explore specific intriguing concepts from the Yoga Sutras. These formed the basis to explore more components of the entire work.

    One of the themes we started with was the concept of ‘ahimsa’. Ahimsa is non-violence, whereas ‘himsa’ means violence. We contemplated about what violence defines. Forcing oneself and worrying are forms of violence towards oneself. Whereas some actions, for example killing an insect, can be classified as non-violence in certain situations. Whether this is the case depends on the intentions of the behavior.

    This led to the introduction of another concept called ‘buddhi’, or the ability to ‘discriminate’. Buddhi is described as one of four aspects of the mind/mind field. Buddhi can tell you which decision is in harmony with your true origin/’Self’. Buddhi ‘knows’ and therefore helps us on our path, for example when we wish to live our life according to ‘ahimsa’ principles. It knows your intentions and therefore which actions are compatible with ahimsa principles.

    Information about the buddhi aspect of the mind invited us to explore other aspects of the mind as well. The other three aspects are called manas, chitta and ahamkara. Integrating the four aspects of the mind is part of the yogic journey. It leads to a clear and harmonized mind. You can read about the aspects of the mind on the website of Swami Ma Tri.

    A table of the 8-Fold Path

    A concentrated mind and ahimsa are parts of the 8-fold Path that can lead to the ultimate goal of yoga. This end goal is called ‘Kaivalya’.

    Although theory is very interesting, this alone does not lead us into the state of ‘Kaivalya’. Practice is key. During the weekend there was plenty room for practice, or ‘playing’ as Swami Ma Tri approached it. We have become aware of the meaning of ‘ahimsa’ by observing ourselves during hatha yoga and meditation practices. Swami Ma Tri encouraged us during these activities to observe tendencies to force the body or mind. These observations gave us the opportunity to learn to stop ‘grasping’ and start to relax, both mentally and physically.

    Another example of practicing yoga was observing one aspect of the mind or one of the senses when eating a meal. Or being aware of the body’s needs, by asking ourselves questions. The question ‘have you drunk enough?’ was asked at some point during the workshop. Apparently many participants did not have drunk enough. This led to the funny situation in which the seminar was interrupted to distribute glasses of water to the (apparently thirsty) public. In this way, Swami Ma Tri helped us bringing theory into practice. She emphasized that yoga can be practiced in all aspects of our daily life.

    All-in all, Swami Ma Tri brought us into contact with a lot of knowledge from the Yoga Sutras, both by explanation as well as by practice. Furthermore she was very open to questions and always approachable to assist us in our practice. With her sense of humor, she brought joy into the workshop. All this together made the weekend workshop an inspiring, engaging and valuable experience for the attendants.

    In case the Yoga Sutras have caught your interest, you may want to listen to Swami Rama lecturing on this topic at Eight lectures by Swami Rama on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali . The eightfold path described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras is explained in the book The Royal Path by Swami Rama.

    Editor’s Notes:

    There will be an Intensive Silence Retreat, ‘From Mind to Consciousness’, 12-16 October 2018 in the Netherlands with Swami Ma Radha Bharati, Swami Ma Tripurashakti Bharati, and Ashutosh Sharma.

    Please see Intensive Silence Retreat.

    There will be a Weekend Workshop, 'The Bhagavad Gita', with Swami Tat Sat Bharati 1 – 3 February 2019 in the Netherlands. Please see Weekend Workshop.



    The Himalayan Tradition of Yoga Meditation

    Purification of Thoughts     Dhyana     Mindfulness     Japa     Dharana     Shavasana     Breath Awareness     Qualified Preceptor     Guru Disciple Relationship     Unbroken Lineage     Silence     Full Moon Meditation

    Copyright © 2009-2017 by AHYMSIN ®