Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A New Translation of Yoga

I love the cycles of life.

Yoga has been returning in my life in a very strong way the past few weeks.  It is once again reminding me how central it is to who I am, how blissfully I blend with the concepts, how challenged I feel by the asanas (poses) and the very practice.

I have tons to share on this - including how my new understanding has given me a confidence to return to my teaching (and a very humble admission on why I shied away from the teaching in the first place).

However, this morning is not the time for that.  The kids are fighting in the other room and - well, let's just say it is taking most of my focus to stay yogic enough to write this.

I thought I would share with you fun little insights I had while reading the Yoga Sutras last night (the "guidebook" to yoga, 196 sutras, or observations / short phrases, assumed to have been composed over 2000 years ago) - a bit of new translations.

A background: I love taking ideas - woo-woo concepts that I seem to intuitively grasp - and trying to translate them into "real-world" concepts.

Here's an example (and while I wish I could put this in a nicer chart, it wouldn't look so great with the blog layout):


Here's how I'll lay them out.  
A. The English translation* of the sutra.
B. The translation of my understanding.
C. The offensive-but-true translation.

(*English translations taken from "The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, translated by Chip Hartranft")

A. Now, the teachings of yoga.
B. Still your mind and listen; the following are the teachings (yet not the practice) of Yoga in its entirety.
C. The teachings on engine repair are down the hall.

A. Yoga is to still the patterning of consciousness.
B.  Yoga is quieting the chatter of the mind.
C. Yoga is shutting up the shit.

A. Then pure awareness can abide in its very nature.
B.  We can remain peacefully aware of (re-member) ALL that we truly are - returning to unity.
C. We see that we are so much more than all of that shit.

A. Otherwise awareness takes itself to be the patterns of consciousness.
B. If we do not practice, we become associated with the myriad of thoughts and believe we are no more than our habits.
C. If we don't practice, we believe we are that shit.

I'm having fun with these so sure I will continue.

Until tomorrow,


  1. I always translated the first sutra as "now begins the teaching of yoga"--meaning that everything is yoga. That everything that occurs in life is the teaching of yoga.

    Ok, that's my two cents.

    But these are hilarious Lisa!! Thanks for the morning belly laugh!!

    LOVE YOU!!!

  2. Thank you for sharing, Lisa. I need a little centering right about now - and a little humor. Dealing with a nasty little virus and icy weather. Feeling blah! Take care! Theresa

  3. how interesting we all are returning to our yoga roots? and isn't it amazing how fearless painting is really just another practice to mentor us in the experience of true selves? To know our unity and connectedness?

    I love Nischala Devi's feminine focus in her translations ...

    and yes, hilarious! as always, i feel so at home with you ... pinching myself really, it is all that good!

    me - i'm the one screaming from the yoga room to my daughter "STOP Banging! I"m trying to find inner peace over here!" Yeah, yogic all the time baby!

    namasté and now i must play :0