Yoga Sutras, Kaivalya Pada – Janma, Karma and Moksha

I will be offering the presentation on the Kaivalya Pada- the last chapter of the yoga sutras, in a couple of weeks. This chapter, along with the first part of the 2nd chapter on the foundation for ashtanga yoga, is a very important chapter because it gives us a blueprint for the attitude to have in life to gain ease – an attitude that is so vast spanning lifetimes, an attitude akin to the grand view one gets from space when one looks down at the earth. Such is the power of reading and even partially assimilating the view of Janma, Karma and Moksha presented in this chapter. Hopefully I have given a little pep talk for reading and understanding this chapter of the Yoga Sutras.

Prowess in Poses:The secrets that they do not tell you

There are a number of workshops, like the back bending and the handstand workshops, these days, in the yoga and pilates world. They are often held in exotic locations and draw a lot of crowd. People pay a lot of money to attend these workshops to learn these techniques so that they can do challenging poses like backbends and handstands and earn the admiration of their friends on social media, lose weight and feel young.

What they teach in these workshops is a linear approach to get to a pose by gaining strength and flexibility in a set of muscles. For example if the goal is to get the foot behind the neck (Ekapada Shirashasana), teachers start off with hip opening exercises and the classic pose to for this purpose is the Baddha Konasana or the bound angle poses also called the Cobbler’s pose.

Yet, almost always, workshop teachers never talk about the secret to achieving prowess in a pose in a transcendant way. While the linear approach uses muscle strength and flexibility by strengthening exercises, the non-linear or transcendant approach uses a paradigm shift. This is by creating the conditions for the Prana to flow smoothly in the system. This is what is expounded in the ancient yogic texts.

Read more here.

When asanas are practiced in this way, the practitioner will stumble upon the ultimate revelation – she/he will care far less about achieving perfection in the pose for a social media shot than about basking in the joy that comes from the pose.

Recording of Siddhis-2

We completed the presentation of “Siddhis: The mystic powers from meditation -2” yesterday. You can find the slides, audio and video recordings here.

We studied various threads in the chapter on Siddhis. Patanjali has a lot of sub sequences in the Chapter on Siddhis with each sub sequence talking about mystic powers when mastery (Siddhi) is attained over an aspect of nature. We saw several practical aspects of what a mind settled from meditation can do. For example, we studied the Prana in detail.

If you have questions and would like me to do these sutra presentations again for your group, please send me an email. You can also contact me via the facebook page dedicated for this purpose.

Siddhis- Mystic powers from meditation -2 : Sat. Aug. 6 @ 6pm PDT

Dear friends,

Tomorrow, we will continue to study the inner realms of the mind with the topic of “The Siddhis – Mystic Powers from Meditation -2”. You can find the registration information, the slides of both parts and the recording of the 1st presentation here


When some Buddhist monks were flown to Dr. Richard Davidson’s laboratory in the Univ. of Wisconsin and were hooked up with EEG electrodes on their heads to study the Chitta, they started laughing and pointed to the heart as the location of the Chitta.

The practical side of the Siddhis

Many of the Siddhis may sound lofty and beyond reach for most of us, but there are a lot of practical benefits even if these powers have not been perfected. In the first presentation of the Siddhis we discussed Praathibha or divine intuition. Intuition is one of the greatest gifts various limbs of yoga gives us. Our body is the best lie detector, not our brain. There are other siddhis that Patanjali talks about which even in their unperfected state have a lot of benefit, like harnessing the Pranic energies, Udhana and Samana. Have you ever noticed, how the body feels light on certain days during asana practice and heavy like iron on other days ? Have you felt the fire burning deep in your gut and the effect it has on your clarity of thinking and the motivation to get things done ? These come from Udhana and Samana respectively.

Join me this Saturday at 6pm PDT for “Siddhis -The mystic powers from meditation-2”.

Yoga Sutras, Ayurveda and Jyotish

Have you wondered how people in ancient times were able to understand the structure and functioning of the body (Ayurveda) without lab tests and equipment ?

Have you wondered how Maharishi Parashara was able to predict the influence of the planets (Grahas – that which grip us) on us ?

You can find hints of this in the yoga sutras. Join me next Saturday, Aug. 6 at 6pm PDT as we study these and many other Siddhis (mystic powers) that arise from meditation. Please register in the site below. The video recording and slides for part -1 will also be found there.

Studying the Yoga Sutras like doing Vinyasa/Flow yoga

Come join me this Saturday (in person and online) as we study the Siddhis – the mystic powers from meditation. No prior knowledge of the sutras required. Please register if you are interested and find all the information below:

The Sanskrit word “sutra” and the english word “suture” share the same root which means thread. Just as Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that “these worlds are strung on me like gems on a string”, the yoga sutras are like gems of knowledge woven on a thread of a sequential flow of understanding.

People who have done Vinyasa or flow yoga, especially Ashtanga Vinyasa, will know the importance of maintaining a “flow state” using the Ujjayi breath and the bandhas and not staying excessively long in a pose, lest they should lose their flow state. Studying the yoga sutras is just like doing Vinyasa flow yoga or like crossing a stream by running on rocks. The teacher needs to keep the students engaged and progress through the sutras at a healthy pace to maintain the thread of continuity. Stay too long and you enter a state of lassitude; stay too less and your mind does not settle down.

The approach prescribed by tradition to read the yoga sutras

“…….While it is a great thing, indeed, for one to discover the yoga sutras, the one problem with trying to study the yoga sutras directly without previous exposure to yogic concepts, is for example, akin to doing the third series of ashtanga yoga without knowing the fundamentals of Hatha Yoga from the first series – namely the bandhas, the ujjayi breathing, the Dhrishti and body awareness.

That is why learned Indian scholars start off people who are new to the yogic scriptures with the study of the great Ithihasas – Ramayana and Mahabharatha. Once these gripping stories are imbibed, especially the core concepts like rebirth, atma and karma, they are taught the Bhagavad Gita, which is in the form of poetry and easy to understand. …..”

If you are interested, you can join me this Saturday (in person or online) for the study of the Siddhis – the mystic powers of meditation as enunciated by Patanjali in the yoga sutras.

Siddhis: The mystic powers from meditation

I have been doing presentations on the Yoga Sutras where we study the sanskrit meanings of the sutras, listen to the chants and correlate with other yogic texts. We studied several self contained units like the “The yoga practice as defined by Patanjali” and “Foundation for Ashtanga Yoga”. Another self contained set included “Ashtavangani 1 & 2”. Now we will study the third set : Siddhis – the mystic powers from meditation 1 & 2.

I had already presented “Siddhis-1” earlier this year but for the sake of continuity will offer it again along with part 2. Please register if you are interested. You can find more information below. If you are interested in having me host this from your studio, please let me know.

The previous yoga sutra slides and presentations can be found here:

My desire is to help people get a succinct and clear understanding of the sutras along with the Sanskrit word-by-word meanings, the context and the larger message by connecting with other yogic texts. My goal is to make it interesting and practical while sticking to tradition.