The Perfect Yoga Sutra for Fall
Fall presents many opportunities to reinforce the yoga sutras in our practice. Harvesting fall honey last month got me pondering the opportunities for personally practicing the tenets of aparigraha* and got me thinking about how I might want to broach the subject with my students in classes.
As a beekeeper, it’s important I manage my hives with long term goals. Getting the most honey possible sounds delicious of course, but if I expect to harvest any honey next year, the bees need enough to get through the winter. Holding less tightly to my honey sweet tooth, I’m also stressing the bees less and exercising less control over the size of the hive. Bees are not pets. I am a thief and interloper in their lives. As a species that was the introduced to the continent for the benefit of people, a mutuality benefits me as well as them.
According to the yoga sutras, how much honey is enough?
Coming on the heels of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday is it worth reiterating the perils of overconsumption with my students? My ego tells me I don’t want to be the yoga scrooge but my teacher hat whispers in my ear to not miss the opportunity. So I decided to settle on the middle ground of less grasping.
Rather than use the literal translation of wanting less stuff can we merge the goals of ahimsa (non-violence) with aparigraha and practice with a little less desire. Can we be kinder to ourselves during practice? We’re going to do Warrior III in classes this week – is the ultimate extension on our raised leg feeding our ego or helping our back?
Hopefully we can practice this fall with a lighter hand. Instead of reaching for the fourth Christmas cookie can we pass the plate to share with the next person? Instead of asking Santa for another yoga mat or mala, can we clean and shine up the ones we already have? Can we treat ourselves kindly and sweetly and not push our asana practice? Can we leave some honey in the pot to make next year a good one?
If you’d like more resources and ideas for how to put the yamas and niyamas into practice in your life, check out my book, There’s no P in our OOL – Using Yoga Philosophy to Transform Your Aqua Yoga Practice.
*I’m currently using the Edwin F. Bryant Yoga Sutras of Patanjali translation. He defines the yama (abstentions) aparigraha as “renunciation of [unnecessary possessions].
What do you think is the perfect yoga sutra for fall? Leave a comment on which sutra you are using this season.
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