Threads of Yoga : a remix of patanjali-s sutra-s, with commentary and reverie By Mr. Matthew S Remski
When one is presented with the word “yoga” an infinite variety of images are summoned depending on the individual. From spiritual jazzercise to religion; yoga has many facades. The book “Threads” reveals that yoga goes far beyond the asanas. Yoga has managed to transcend its formal rigidity and has morphed into a chameleon like movement. People from all walks of life have been able to embrace at least one of the many avenues of yoga. Mathew Remski introduces his book as a “remix of an ancient text”. The author breaks down each of the padas, or feet of Patanjali’s sutras. Here he offers his own perspective on this ancient text. He has created a “roadmap” for the modern day practitioner.
Yoga’s emphasis on self inquiry makes it unique in the global theological pool. Yoga does not rely on a grand deity for salvation. Salvation is traded for self realization. This in turn brings forth a life of peace and fulfillment. “The chatter of consciousness is indeed problematic”. It is “vulnerable to a kind of arrested development.” Avoiding the present moment by spinning in the future or past landscapes stunts our ability to grow and remain conscious. Desire nature is traded for self awareness and acknowledgement of our personal responsibility. How have I chosen this reality for myself? Pain in all aspects emerges from an imbalance within. There is no such thing as perfection. Therefore jealousy and ruthlessness literally disintegrate.
The eight limbs of yoga are a quilted foundation for finding this balanced stillness of self. One step is no more important than the other. Every limb is dependent on the other. This relationship is most prevalent on the mat. The striving for perfection in a pose is not the point of the asanas. The asanas are one piece to the puzzle. We move our bodies through these poses clearing energetic space and aligning physically. Pranayama, sacred breath work, aids in this practice. Often the yamas and niyamas are present in our conscious thought as we shift this energy through our bodies. It is a process that is ever flowing. What are we ultimately working toward? It is simply finding comfort in the now. Discomfort in the body becomes a subtle nuance. The mind is quiet and floating like a steady wave. If we are lucky we arrive in a blissful state that I have yet been able to describe. This space is not stagnant. The process repeated does not always deliver the same results. It is fine tuning to the sacred om.
The subject of meditation is dense, intense and very dependent on individual perspectives. Does this state grant god like qualities to the practitioner? Is meditation another form of escaping an unsavory reality? Are we accessing higher planes of existence and communicating with fantastic forces? What is the purpose of meditation practice? Again we must question; what are we attempting to accomplish here? The other states that we are choosing to “enter an evolutionary new internal space.” Just as a scientist observes her DNA; realizing that every bit of her being stems from it, we too observe this inside of ourselves. The author warns of a superiority complex that many fall into when delving into this mindful state. The structured methodology that so many systems have put into place create a hierarchy of sorts. Yoga teaches us that this too is not the true path.
Karma or Samskara is said to be the seeds of past actions planted and obstructing one to move forward consciously. When we are constantly repeating patterns of the past we are fragmented. These seeds can be difficult to penetrate, much like our repressed impulses. Through meditation we are able to bring light into our dark underworld. We quiet the senses and observe ourselves in our human state. Detached from judgement we see ourselves as flesh and blood, ebbing and flowing in our life force. We flow through our mind without judgement. We observe our experience and where we have come. We are looking at the motivation and what came of it. The stillness allows anxiety to melt away and rigidity becomes softness. We are allowing ourselves to integrate. This is how I perceive the practice of meditation.
The overflow that follows Pada three is the “sweetness” we crave. This sensation is what we pursue, the momentary satisfaction of so many things. It drives us. Duality that is so natural to our minds feeds the hunt for satiation. You and I, good and bad, hard and soft. These examples are nearly infinite. The blurring of barriers brings unification within. We must integrate the light and darkness within ourselves before we can truly appreciate the other. How can you love another without first accepting yourself? It is a process that is never ending. With yoga there are few rules. It is a map created by the individual.