The Story of Yoga in 10 Words

by Annie Moyer

With PRACTICE and NON-ATTACHMENT, we can cultivate qualities of FRIENDLINESS, COMPASSION, JOY, and EQUANIMITY. Through these qualities, the inevitable SPINNINGS of the HEART/MIND may disentangle from the sensory and cognitive realm of the world, and lead us to a place of STILLNESS, wherein lies the deep connection that is YOGA

Sigh. If only it were that simple.

And yet, it is, dear friends, it is. We are like Dorothy in Oz. While the simplest solution to our problems is literally right beneath our feet, we flail around, getting seduced by poppies, being traumatized by winged monkeys, running from wicked witches, and searching for some elusive wizard whom we believe to have all the answers. 

By focusing in on ten key words (at right, in Sanskrit) from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, a foundational wisdom text that outlines the steps along yoga’s path, we are guided to start by choosing a practice — whether it’s an asana sequence, a mantra for meditation, or a daily walk with the phone left behind – and commit to it. 

As the practice builds steam, this empowers us to weaken our attachments to the distractions from the practice, and more easily find our way back to it again and again. What emerges is an ease not just with ourselves, but with each other. We can be kind and joyful when things go well; we can be compassionate and even-tempered when they don’t. We can be less and less reactive to the imaginings and machinations and memories and worries of our over-active intellect and emotions, and more and more steady and deliberate with awareness that’s turned inward to a quiet, indwelling presence of peace. 

Connected awareness to that place in ourselves is the channel of connection to that place in all others, across the artificial boundaries of personality, geography, doctrine, and time. Once our belief in those boundaries fades, we have arrived in yoga. It’s a lovely place to be.

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