abhava = non-existent pratyaya = impression alambana = based (on) tamo (tamas) = void, inertia, darkness vrttir = thought
I love sleeping people – they look so calm and at peace. The translations I read described this as being about deep, dreamless sleep. It’s interesting that it gets included as a “thought”. I find sleep fascinating – it’s almost as mysterious as infinity and thinking about the edge of the cosmos.
sabda = word, sound jnana = knowledge anupati = arises sunyo = without any vastu = reality
Vikapla seems to be interpreted quite a lot as delusion, manifesting in ways such as the results of misinformation, propaganda and unconscious bias.
But I thought I’d celebrate the wonderfulness of imagination so I drew a sandbox to represent it, thinking how lucky we are to be able to imagine things and the unlimited freedom we have in what we can create there.
I made these jars to help make taking medicines easier and more enjoyable 🙂
They are great as have quite a lot of space and it’s easy to see what’s inside. If you live with other people you can have your own jars so the medicines don’t get mixed up and you can put them somewhere where they are easy to see so you don’t forget to take the medicine and they are decorative so nice to look at!
How to make some medicine jars
You will need:
Clean jars (if it’s hard to get the labels off, you can try soaking them in water and/or boiling them). if you have a few, choose which ones best fit the shape of the medicine packets and feel nice to open and close.
pens that can write on glass
Then just draw nice patterns or a picture on the jar and fill with your medicine!
viparyayo = misconception mithya = (is) mistaken jnanam = knowledge a tad rupa = not that form pratistham = (of the true) form
I often mistake things for other things and it’s so weird when you actually see what you think is there until you realise what it really is. In this one he is freaked out when he thinks the rope is a snake, but then he finds out that it‘s just a rope and can bring him joy in the form of a swing 💖
This one is naming the 5 kind of thoughts mentioned in the previous sutra. The following sutras will go into more detail about what each one is.
If you want to get out of compelling thoughts, throughout the day (or during meditation) you can notice which one your thoughts fall into.
Today I noticed I was thinking about making a retreat centre in the country side and thinking about where it should be and imagining all these little huts with different colour umbrella shaped roofs like those paper umbrellas that you get in cocktails and actually open and shut (I really love them!).
So this one is mainly imagination but the umbrella part is memory and maybe about longing for a time in childhood when I was so happy playing with those umbrellas.
vrttayah = whirlpools, waves (thoughts) pancatayyah = 5 kinds klistaklistah = suffering and not suffering
Think this one is placing thoughts into 5 states (they will be named in the following sutras) and saying that some of them bring suffering and some of them don’t.
I tried to draw thoughts as a metaphor with how the sea is at different times, sometimes completely calm, sometimes gentle waves, sometimes big waves, sometimes violent and stormy and sometimes a tsunami.
It doesn’t really matter what state the sea is in and won’t affect you too much if you are a bird flying above it or a fish deep down. In the same way if you observe your thoughts or meditate you can stop being reactive, get out of negative thinking and not get carried away by obsessive thoughts.
vrtti = whirlpool, waves sa = similar rupyam = form itaratra = otherwise
When I showed this to my son, he said “That looks like something in Zelda, when you come down from heaven and there is a monster in the middle!”. I thought what he said was apt as this sutra is often interpreted in this way – that being lost or carried away in your thoughts is equivalent to suffering.
Though I like to think that this state is just as valid as enlightenment in the previous sutra, and being like this is OK too 🙂
I tried to draw the way thoughts draw us in like a whirlpool and how they are hard to let go of, like swimming upstream.
Also, if you can move your perspective to look at them from the outside, they aren’t so compelling.
tada = then (at the time of meditation) drashtuh = the self svarupe = own form avasthanam = settling, resting
Intellectually I’m not really sure what this one means, which is why the picture is a bit undefined and abstract! Though deep down I’m sure we all know what it means because it points to truth…
I drew a reflection in a lake because this sutra seems to be describing a state of enlightenment and seeing things as they really are and I’ve often heard this state described as a metaphor of a perfectly clear reflection, with our ‘usual’ state of everyday being more like a rippled water surface. Where our thoughts and emotions are the waves on the water surface and vary with intensity and magnitude. Still, lakes are beautiful whatever the weather ❤️
I often get the feeling I don’t want to restrain things – wanting everything to be free! But yoga in this sutra feels to me like a natural quelling of thoughts and moving towards peace and connection, like when you sit and look at the ocean.
I added in the seagull next to the person to represent companionship as sometimes I feel there is something lonely about complete oneness. The seagull could also represent the desire of the divine to be in the world, even though he/she can fly like the birds in the distance 🙂
I’m going to try and post an illustration of each yoga sutra every Monday, expressing what it means to me in that moment 🙂
Here is the first one!
atha = now yoga = yoga anushasanam = practice/teachings
In this picture, the mat represents discipline and showing up for practice (tapas) and the cat and green tea represent contentment and that it is also OK not to do it (santosa). The shaky sanskrit letters are about trust and just starting despite not knowing exactly what you are doing or where it is going…
If you can, about once a day, find a small towel or something to cover your eyes and a cushion. Set a timer for 3 mins, lie down on your back, put the cushion under your knees and cover your eyes with the towel.
Breathe slowly and deeply and imagine the breath travelling slowly all the way down to your toes on each inhale and slowly up from your toes on each exhale.