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Teaching Handouts
Compiled by R. John Allcorn


S - Z

BASIC

THE YAMAS (Restraints)
Sutras 2.29 - 2.39
by R. John Allcorn, M.A., E-RYT and Julia Miner

Like many of the ideas of Yoga, the Yamas overlap. The ideas of Yoga flow into each other and any attempt to separate them, as we are doing here, is an academic effort to facilitate understanding.

Ahimsa - Not "violent" - Sutra 2.35
Yoga greatly broadens the meaning of "violent." Ahimsa includes being "thoughtfully considerate" in all your actions, words and thoughts and should be applied to yourself as well. For "actions," move gently in the world; for "words," avoid negativity, sarcasm and cynicism; for "thoughts," practice acceptance and appreciation for what the world has and for the things you have.

"thoughtful consideration for others and things." (1, p98)

Ahimsa is "Non-harming, Gentleness, compassion, and love for all beings, including ourselves. Every word, thought or action that involves judgement, anger, greed, lust or attachment is a form of violence to be avoided." (3, p1)

We do violence when we "attempt to impress our will or beliefs onto others, or to prevent others from infringing on our own ideals and principles." (7, p21)

"If we are fully aware of violence as it is happening, and observe, without judgement or distraction, then in that full observation the root of violence is revealed, and in that understanding violence evaporates." (7, p24)

"Ahimsa is nothing but empathy.... Thus compassion and empathy are the highest virtues a person has to develop." (20, p.78)

Satya - Truthfulness - Sutra 2.36

Like Ahimsa, Satya includes all actions, words and thoughts. Act, speak and think with kindness as well as truthfulness. Remember that Ahimsa usually "trumps" Satya, so avoid "truths" that are hurtful.

"Right communication" (1, p.177)

"If speaking the truth has negative consequences for another, then it is better to say nothing. The mahabharata, the great Indian epic, says: 'Speak the truth which is pleasant. Do not speak unpleasant truth. Do not lie, even if the lies are pleasing to the ear. That is the eternal law, the dharma.'" (1, pp98-99)

Satya is not possible "until we first remove this veil of self-deception. It is ourselves we have deceived, and it is ourselves to whom we must first be true. (7, pp61-62)

Asteya - Not Stealing - Sutra 2.37

Obviously, Asteya refers to not stealing things that belong to others, but it also includes envy, covetousness and being considerate of others' time and accepting of others' ideas. Means "to take nothing that does not belong to us. This also means that if we are in a situation where someone entrusts something to us or confides in us, we do not take advantage of him or her." (1, p99) In other words, being trustworthy.

"The Sanskrit word asteya literally means non-stealing, but many translators use the phrases 'absence of jealously' or 'absence of envy'." (7, p27)

Brahmacarya - Moderation - Sutra 2.38

Sex and other desires may distract us from spiritual development. Any such distractions should be modified or kept under control. Practicing this control will strengthen us on our spiritual journey.

"Brahmacarya teaches us to be moderate and mindful and develop strength. It is most often associated with celibacy. Most of us do not commit to long-term celibacy - at least not by choice. We can follow its teaching by not indulging in wanton emotional, sensual or sexual excesses. When we do engage in sexuality, we can experience it as a union of Divine beings and a sacred act." (3, p1)

"A more appropriate translation [for Brahmacarya] may be "not being sensual," for sensuality, not sexuality is the core issue." (7, p36)

Aparigraha - Not Greedy - Sutra 2.39

Aparigraha includes not becoming overly attached to either material things or other people. Practicing the principle of Samtosa will help avoid the distraction of materialism and help keep us on a more-spiritual path. Being non-greedy also means being considerate of our natural resources and using them wisely.

Aparigraha means "non-covetousness" (7, p80) and "non-attachment" (7, p47)

"Attachment is rooted in our craving for continuity." (7, p50)

"The more we have, the more we need to take care of. The time and energy spent...cannot be spent on the basic questions of life." (1, p.178)

WORKS CITED
1. Desikachar, T.K.V., The Heart of Yoga: Developing a personal practice. Inner Traditions International. Rochester, VT.

2. Prabhavananda, Swami and Christopher Isherwood, Trans. The Song of God Bhagavad-Gita. The New American Library, Inc. N.Y. 1972.

3. Shaw, Jane. Things to Know. Handout. April, 2002.

7. McAfee, John. The Secret of the Yamas. Woodland Publications. Woodland Park, Colorado. 2001.

11. Feuerstein, Georg. "Heating up Your Practice."Yoga International January 2003: 28-32.

17. Tigunait, Pandit Rajmani. "Dialogue." Yoga International March 2003: 30-34.

20. Yogendra, Dr. Jayadeva and Hansaji Yogendra. The Yoga of Caring: Talks Given by Dr. Jayadeva and Hansaji Yogendra. Mumbai, India. Self Published, 1997.
Top of Page

BASIC

SAMTOSA (Contentment)
by John Allcorn, M.A., E-RYT

The first "ultimate" goal of Yoga practice is to develop a calm mind and a relaxed body. Samtosa is an important step in
developing a calm mind. The Niyama Samtosa or "contentment" describes the way we see the world and interact with it. One aspect of Samtosa is certainly the idea of keeping a positive attitude, i.e., seeing the glass as half full, not half empty.This attitude helps keep us "level" since we sometimes have a hard time being constantly positive.

Samtosa is "modesty and the feeling of being content with what we have... the real meaning of Samtosa... to accept what happens." (Desikachar, T.K.V., The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice. P101)

Samtosa in the Yoga Sutras: 2.32 and 3.42

Sometimes we have to look hard for that "silver lining." Here is how one person practices Samtosa:
I AM THANKFUL:
FOR THE WIFE who says it's "take out" tonight because she is home with me and not out with someone else.

FOR THE HUSBAND who is a couch potato because he is home with me and not out at the bars.

FOR MY TEENAGER who is complaining about doing the dishes because she is at home and not on the streets.

FOR THE TAXES I PAY because it means I am employed and contributing to my country.

FOR THE MESS AFTER A PARTY because it means I have been surrounded by friends.

FOR THE CLOTHES THAT FIT TOO SNUGLY because it means that I have enough to eat.

FOR THE LAWN THAT NEEDS MOWING, THE WINDOWS THAT NEED CLEANING AND THE GUTTERS THAT NEED FIXING because it means that I have a roof over my head.

FOR THE PARKING SPOT AT THE FAR END OF THE PARKING LOT because it means that I have transportation
and that I am capable of walking.

FOR ALL THE COMPLAINING I HEAR ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT because it means that I can hear and that we have freedom of speech.
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Intermediate

THE UNEXAMINED LIFE
Contributed by: R. John Allcorn, M.A., E-RYT

I had just left the last class of the semester. The last class of my college career, and I was, for all intents and purposes, a college graduate. I was on the steps of the old wooden WWII barracks which had been converted into college classrooms at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus. I hesitated on the steps for a moment because I knew it was a moment. I breathed in the warm air and knew life was good. I moved into the freedom toward my 1964 red Rambler American and headed to our apartment to be with my wife of nearly three years. We celebrated that evening with wine and family. We celebrated youth. I was 22.

Within a few months we divorced, and I moved into a different freedom, hating it for a full year.

We keep on celebrating youth. Not just in advertising and the movies, but in our own lives; our own youth. Remember when we...

I became a counselor for delinquents like Johnny whose parents were both slightly retarded. Whose father sometimes got drunk and beat his mother. Once a blond teacher was kind to Johnny, so he expected all blonds to be nice. When they weren’t he would pull a knife. Do we celebrate his youth? Johnny sits in a jail cell now, more than 30 years later. Does he celebrate his youth? I suppose so.

Sometimes we destroy what we have and run back to, “I remember when we....”

It is a common belief that old people live on memories. My guess is that, if true, it is based on proportion. How much of a 12 year old’s life is memory. Not much there, but the 12 year olds I have talked to have a lot of memories to relay and many do not hesitate to provide all the incredible details. But if you’re 82 you have many memories and regrets to look back on. They sometimes creep in on an image or a smell or when finding an old shirt or piece of jewelry. They intrude when uninvited: “Get OUT of here...Please.” They hide when you try to remember some detail: “What WAS the name of that....”

Yoga teaches that we should live in the present, and that belief is a major tenet of Buddhism. But it should be in proportion. I have studied Yoga since I was 20. I have at times really tried to believe and practice living in the moment. Nevertheless, I still believe what I wrote many years ago when I was about 20: “Remember the past. Plan for the future. Live in the present.” I do all three no matter what I profess at times and no matter what I think I want or will do. I’d like to know what’s wrong with that. But if you tell me, I won’t believe you.

There is a fourth category: fantasy. That is not memory or what is going on in the present or what one seriously plans for the future, but outside of time. “What would I do if I had a million dollars?” Or 10 million. My favorites. I can plan and smile for hours with one of these. But not all fantasies are based on a better life: “What would I do if Colleen died or left me?” I can put myself on my knees in tears with a really vivid fantasy. And TV? Perhaps just a lazy man’s fantasizing. Fulfilling a need for diversion in the “fantasy field.”

It’s a matter of proportion. I spend, perhaps, too much time in the future, perhaps too much time with fantasies, too much time with TV. It is much easier than spending time with myself. Svadyaya is easy when I focus on the study of text. Applying those ideas to my life and seeing how they fit is also relatively easy. But self examination. Now that’s a bitch: examining what I am at this point in time. Freud said that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Or was that Darwin? But it is very hard for me to do this.

I can tell of my past and share the ideas of my future, but to examine and explain their impact on what I am is a mountain difficult to climb. The moment that is me is the moment hard to see. I recognized that moment on the college steps. But luckily no one expected me to examine it.
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Intermediate

READING LIST
Contributed by: R. John Allcorn, M.A., E-RYT

ESSENTIALS

Desikachar, T.K.V., The Heart of Yoga: Developing a personal practice. Inner Traditions International. Rochester, VT.

Satchidananda, Sri Swami, Trans. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Integral Yoga Publications. Yogaville, Virginia, 1978. [Or any other translation]

Prabhavananda, Swami and Christopher Isherwood, Trans. The Song of God Bhagavad-Gita. The New American Library, Inc. N.Y. 1972. [Or any other translation]

Coulter, H. David. Anatomy of Hatha Yoga. Body and Breath, Inc. Honesdale, PA, 2001

Le Page, Joseph and Lilian. Yoga Teachers’ Toolbox. Integrative Yoga Therapy, AZ, 2003.

ALSO IMPORTANT

Fuerstein, Georg. Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga.

Akers, Brian Dana, Trans. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Svatmarama. YogaVidya .com. Woodstock, N.Y., 2002. [Or any other translation]

Vivekananda, Swami. Raja-Yoga. Advita Ashrama. Calcutta, India, 1978. [NOTE: Also by the same author: Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Karma Yoga] Devi, Indra. Yoga for You. Gibbs Smith, Publisher. Salt Lake City, Utah, 2002.

Yogananda, Paramahansa. Autobiography of a Yogi. The Self-Realization Fellowship. Los Angeles, California. 1946.

Motoyama, Hiroshi. Theories of the Chakras. Quest Books. Wheaton, Illinois, 1981 (4th printing 1995).

Farhi, Donna. Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness. Henry Holt and Company, LLC, NY, NY. 2000.

Hall, Bruce Cameron. Sanskrit Pronunciation: Booklet and Cassette. Theosophical University Press. Pasadena, California, 1992. [Or any book on Sanskrit which includes audio]

Ramacharaka, Yogi. Fourteen Lessons in Yogi Philosophy. The Yoga Publication Society. Chicago, Illinois. 1903.

Ramacharaka, Yogi. Advance Course in Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism.. The Yoga Publication Society. Chicago, Illinois. 1904

Ramacharaka, Yogi. Science of Breath. Yoga Publication Society. Chicago, 1904-05.

Rosen, Richard. The Yoga of Breath: A Step-by-Step Guide to Pranayama. Shambhala Press. Boston, Massachusetts, 2002

Ramacharaka, Yogi. Hatha Yoga: or the Philosophy of Physical Well-Being. The Yoga Publication Society. Chicago, Illinois. 1930.

Scaravelli, Vanda. Awakening the Spine. Harper San Francisco. San Francisco, CA, 1991.

McAfee, John. The Secret of the Yamas. Woodland Publications. Woodland Park, Colorado. 2001.

Mosca, Johanna, Ph.D. Yoga Life: 10 Steps to Freedom. Sedona Spirit Yoga Publications. Sedona, Arizona, no publication date noted.

Iyengar, B.K.S. Light on Yoga, Rev. Schocken Books, N.Y., N.Y., 1966, 1976.

Yogendra, Jayadeva. The Yoga of Caring. The Yoga Institute. Mumbai, India, 1997.

Yogendra, Jayadeva. Cycolpaedia Yoga Vol II. The Yoga Institute. Mumbai, India, 2000.

Yogendra, Jayadeva. Cycolpaedia Yoga Vol I. The Yoga Institute. Mumbai, India, 2003.

Dumont, Theron Q. The Power of Concentration. The Yoga Publication Society. Chicago, Illinois. 1918.

Sabatini, Sandra. Breath: the essence of yoga. Thorsons: An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers. Hammersmith, London, 2000.

Devi, Indra. Yoga for You. Gibbs Smith Publishers. Salt Lake City, UT, 2002.

Schiffmann, Erich. Yoga: The Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness. Pocket Books. N.Y., N.Y., 1996.

Swenson, David. Ashtunga Yoga: The Practice Manual. Ashtunga Yoga Productions. Houston, TX, 1999/2001.

Wauters, Ambika. The Book of Chakras: Discover the Hidden Forces Within You. Quarto, Inc. Hauppauge, N.Y., 2002.

Lehmann-Haupt, Rachel and Bess Abrahams. Airplane Yoga. Riverhead Books. NY, 2003.

Besant, Annie. A Study in Karma. The Theosophical Publishing House. Wheaton, Illinois, 1912.
Top of Page
Intermediate

A PREVIEW OF THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI
Contributed by: R. John Allcorn, M.A., E-RYT

PAGE 1
INTRODUCTION


The core of the ideas of Yoga is found in The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, a Yogi who lived hundreds of years before Christ. The Sutras are not a prescription for how one should practice Yoga but rather a description of how the Yogis of Patanjali’s time practiced Yoga. Since there are signs of the practice of Yoga thousands of years before Patanjali, we can assume that there were diverse ways to practice Yoga in Patanjali’s time. Patanjali presents what is now referred to as Raja Yoga. Most sources say that the Sutras were written some time between 200 and 500 years before Christ.
The Yoga Sutra is not casual reading but represents a search for truth and explains a path to truth through self discipline, continuous practice, non-attachment and focus or concentration. Desikachar says that “Understanding The Yoga Sutra is a lifelong task.”1
The Yoga Sutras contain approximately 197 sutras. A sutra is an aphorism designed to be memorized. There are four chapters and each contains about 50 sutras.

I. THE CHAPTER ON SAMADHI or “The State of Yoga,” sometimes referred to as “lift off”

2 - Yoga is learning to control yourself (John Allcorn) Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object and sustain that direction without any distractions1
5-11 - The 5 Mental Activities
These are the activities of the unenlightened mind, the mind that cannot see the world through the purusa or soul. Samadhi helps the Yogi begin to comprehend the true state of things.
The 5 are: comprehension1 or right knowledge2, misapprehension1 or misconception2, imagination1 or verbal delusion2, deep sleep1 or sleep2 and memory1,2.

12-22 - Reaching Samadhi through Practice and Detachment
Practice: Samadhi can be achieved only when “The correct practice is followed for a long time, without interruption.”1
Detachment: During deep relaxation we can begin to practice detachment by setting aside judgement, accepting whatever occurs or doesn’t occur . Eventually detachment or non-desire will be absolute; this is the state of Kaivalia explained in some detail in the 4th chapter.
And here we encounter what may seem to be a contradiction: We must put effort into “letting go.” To get an idea of the effort that may go into “letting go,” imagine a mother seeing her child go off to college or into marriage. The mother must make an effort to let go. In Deep Relaxation, we must try hard not to try.
WORKS CITED
1. Desikachar, T.K.V. The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice. Inner Traditions International. Rochester, Vermont, 1995, 1999.
2. Satchidananda, Sri Swami. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Integral Yoga Publications. Yogaville, VA, 1978,1990.

Intermediate
A PREVIEW OF THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI
PAGE 2 by R. John Allcorn (Y-HO-Yoga Sutras)


23-29 - Reaching Samadhi through Devotion to Ishvara (godness or your spiritual Self) - Ishvara is a combination of your purusha, everybody’s purusha and the “cosmic” purusha
- If there is a “uniqueness” to your purusha, it is your purusha’s memory of past and future lives
- Useful metaphor: Ishvara is the computer; Your memory is like a flash drive stuck in the computer
- Ishvara is unaffected by the klesas, the powerful obstacles of our conscious selves.
- Although incomprehensible without enlightenment, Ishvara should still be contemplated
-Such contemplations help reduce the asmita (ego) and help give a clearer picture of the universe

30-39 - Beware of the 9 Interruptions that may effect your yoga practice (reaching mental clarity or Vidya)
- The 9 interruptions are: illness, mental laziness, doubt, carelessness, fatigue, overindulgence, illusions about one’s true state of mind [thinking this world is the most important], lack of perseverance, and regression.
-The 9 interruptions can cause mental confusion and negativity
- The 9 Interruptions can be controlled:
- Keep the mind steady [avoid distractions]
- Practice pranayama consistently
- Maintain control of the senses
- Define your life [Organize your priorities]
- Study the comments of wise people [Study “spiritual” texts etc.]
- Recall and reflect on your dreams [Wouldn’t Freud love this ancient wisdom?]
- Enjoy carefully selected “hobbies” [like reading, gardening or swimming]

40-51 - Results from Reaching Samadhi
- There are numerous “stages” of Samadhi; you have probably already experienced some.
- When in the higher states of Samadhi or even close to them, everything is clearer. As you approach Samadhi, you can think about (“meditate on”) something and the answer sometimes is very obvious.
- If you can remain in the state of Samadhi and focus, you slowly become “immersed” in the object you focus on. However, “normal” perceptions or prejudices about the object will interfere with your ability to see the object perfectly.
- With years of practice, you will become “one” with the object and view it with absolute clarity
- While in this advanced state of Samadhi, ANY object, thought, or concept can be clearly understood; also you will understand yourself and begin to know your “Self.”
- Eventually, “normal” perceptions and prejudices will not interfere with your understanding.
WORKS CITED
1. Desikachar, T.K.V. The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice. Inner Traditions International. Rochester, Vermont, 1995, 1999.
2. Satchidananda, Sri Swami. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Integral Yoga Publications. Yogaville, VA, 1978,1990.

Intermediate
A PREVIEW OF THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI - PAGE 3
by R. John Allcorn
(Y-HO-Yoga Sutras) II. THE CHAPTER ON FOCUSING (practice for the sincere student) “A GUIDE TO SPIRITUAL ADVANCEMENT”

Students sometimes begin with the study of this chapter since it addresses some of the fundamental steps necessary to practice Yoga. This chapter explains how to move from scattered thinking to focused thinking. It explains the pitfalls to spiritual advancement: the kleshas and how one can avoid them. This chapter also explains Krya Yoga, the gunas and the first 5 of the 8 limbs of Yoga.

1 - Presenting KRIYA YOGA
If your study of Yoga focuses on three of the Yamas (the 1st “limb” of the 8 limbs of Yoga): Tapas, Svadyaya and Isvarapranidhana, then this study is called Kriya Yoga. Tapas is “challenges.” Facing and dealing with challenges makes us mentally and physically stronger and therefore reduces the “impurities” of self doubt, lack of confidence, lethargy etc.
Svadhyaya is self study based on reading spiritual texts such as the Yoga Sutras or the Bible. You could also include books on psychology or “self-help” books. It is essential to develop one’s personal awareness for spiritual development in Yoga. Learn all your strengths and weaknesses: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
Ishvarapranidhana is best explained with the AA slogan: “Let go and let God.” It is knowing where your abilities and “duty” begin AND end and it is being able to “let go” of responsibility for something when needed. Know that hours of discussion would be required to fully understand these concepts. Relax; it will come.

2 -28 - THE KLESHAS or obstacles to spiritual progress and how to avoid them.
Although 5 kleshas are presented, it is important to know that the last 4 presented “point to” the first, Avidya or misunderstanding. There are 2 “levels” of Avidya. One level is the inability to see the world through the purusa which can be done only after enlightenment. The other, more “down to earth,” is the inability to think or act rationally. If any of the other 4 are present, then Avidya is present. So, the last four (ego, excessive attachment, fear and lack of confidence) cause Avidya. [For more info, see our separate handout on kleshas.]
Reducing the impact of the klesas is paramount for spiritual development. First, be vigilant: know that the kleshas are out there and are out to delay your progress. When you see a klesha effecting you, study it until you understand it. Because kleshas misdirect us, your karma can be adversely effected by actions taken under the influence of a klesha. The more you become aware of kleshas and how they work against you, the greater will become your ability to recognize them early and avoid their effects.

Intermediate
A PREVIEW OF THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI - PAGE 4
by R. John Allcorn (Y-HO-Yoga Sutras)


II. THE CHAPTER ON FOCUSING (continued)
Your own personality and tendencies may prevent you from recognizing and effectively dealing with the effects of the kleshas. Studying the three gunas will help you understand yourself better. The 3 gunas are tamas (heaviness, lethargy), rajas (over active mind, stress, chaotic mental activity_ and satva (clarity, balanced energy expenditure). The Gunas effect not only our actions but also our perceptions of all that goes on around us. It is our perception of the world that dictates our judgement of it and the way we interact with it. Like the kleshas, the Gunas will alter our perception and the reasons we do things. However, as we move toward more satvic behavior, our minds will certainly become calmer and our bodies more relaxed.
What Patanjali is trying to get across to us is that each of us has his or her own individual and unique “world.” The world is as we perceive it. One person will see a tree as beautiful and majestic while another will see the same tee as an obstacle to his road work, so that the one will love the tree and the other will hate it. Same tree - different perception. This is no easy task. In fact, it is impossible for most people. However, smaller changes are very possible. With regular Deep Relaxation, we can begin to see the world a bit more rationally and with less emotion which clouds perception. Even this will make a dramatic improvement in your life. But in the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali and Yoga go beyond this and encourage us to reach enlightenment and see the world through our purusa. This is what Patanjali is referring to in this first half of the second book of the Yoga Sutras when he uses the word translated as “clarity.” Clarity is Vidya; our own normal perception of the world is Avidya.
Next is the beginning of the Eight Limbs of Yoga.
WORKS CITED
1. Desikachar, T.K.V. The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice. Inner Traditions International. Rochester, Vermont, 1995, 1999.
2. Satchidananda, Sri Swami. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Integral Yoga Publications. Yogaville, VA, 1978,1990.

Intermediate
A PREVIEW OF THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI - PAGE 5
by R. John Allcorn (Y-HO-Yoga Sutras)

II. THE CHAPTER ON FOCUSING (continued)
29 -55 - THE EIGHT LIMBS (Limbs 1-5) NOTE: Limbs 6-8 are found in the beginning of Chapter 3
29-34 - A POSITIVE ATTITUDE can overcome the obstacle of negativity
Patanjali first lists all of the eight limbs and the five Yamas and the five Niyamas. He then cautions readers to consider the consequences of our speech and actions before engaging in them. We’re encouraged to work mentally to create a more-positive “bed” of thoughts so that positive thinking grows and overtakes negative thinking.
35 - 39 - THE YAMAS [how you treat others or “restraints”]
35 - AHIMSA [non-violence - Desikachar calls it “thoughtful consideration for others”] Even your beginning attempts to practice Ahimsa will raise your consciousness and benefit you and others. The more you practice and apply Ahimsa to your thoughts, words and actions, the more others will be positively effected by you. You will then help others raise their consciousness and improve the world around you. So, accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative; and avoid being wishy-washy, i.e., “Don’t mess with Mr. In-between.”
An important characteristic of ahimsa is that it “trumps” all the other yamas. So, if the truth you’re about to speak may disturb the mind of another, say nothing. In fact, a “white lie” is better than disturbing the mind of another. Also it is important to remember that one should not “harm” our environment by polluting.
36 - SATYA [truthfulness]
Truthfulness is more than not lying. Truthfulness must be compassionate and will lead to a fearlessness that will help you overcome multiple obstacles in your life. The Desiderata says, “Speak your truth quietly and clearly and remember what peace there may be in silence.”
37 - ASTEYA [non-stealing]
If you do not “covet” what belongs to others, you will be trusted by most people. However, many things are included: money, time, ideas and environmental awareness. It includes not taking more of our natural resources than necessary.
38 - BRAHMACARYA [moderation or abstinence]
This yama traditionally refers to sexual action but has more recently been “expanded” to include “moderation in all things.” Nevertheless, it still refers to gaining control over your sexual drives.
39 - APARIGRAHA [not greedy or not hoarding]
Without greed, you gain control over desires of all kinds; even your ego will come under your conscious control.

Intermediate A PREVIEW OF THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI PAGE 6 by R. John Allcorn (Y-HO-Yoga Sutras)

II. THE CHAPTER ON FOCUSING (continued)
40 - 45 - THE NIYAMAS [How you treat yourself or “observances.”]
40-41 - SAUCA [cleanliness/purity]
Keeping your body and mind clean will lead to an easier path to an awareness of your “true or spiritual self.”
42 - SAMTOSA [contentment]
Contentment will lead to a calm and peaceful mind.
43 - TAPAS [purification through challenge of yourself]
Strengthening yourself by overcoming challenges will help eliminate impurities such as laziness or other more-individual imperfections.
44 - SVADYAYA [self study through spiritual texts]
The study of spiritual texts will help you understand higher values and (1) how you can reach them and (2) how you can overcome whatever is preventing you from reaching them. This would also include understanding your physical, mental and emotional selves.
45 - ISHVARAPRANIDHANA [“Let go and let god.”]
A study of the limits of your duties or responsibilities leads to higher meditative states. Like aparigraha and samtosa, this will lead to nonattachment, peace and joy.
46 - 48 - ASANAS [pose or posture (may be strengthening, stretching, balancing or meditative)]
46 - an asana is a steady (sthira) comfortable (sukha) posture designed to prepare you for meditation
47 - To reach sthira and sukha, attention must be paid to the body and breath.
48 - Achieving sthira and sukha results in control of the external influences on the body such as age, diet and climate.
49 - 53 - PRANAYAMA [breath regulation]
49 - After mastering asanas, a conscious regulation of the breath is achieved.
50 - Pranayama is the regulation of inhalation, exhalation and breath retention.
51 - During deep meditation, you may attain a higher, unconscious level of pranayama.
52 - Regular pranayama practice can lead to clearer perception of this and other worlds.
53 - Regular pranayama practice prepares you for deep relaxation or meditation. 2.54-55 - PRATYAHARA [control of the senses]
The senses are mastered as you learn to ignore the input from the senses and continue to focus on your “object of meditation.”
WORKS CITED
1. Desikachar, T.K.V. The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice. Inner Traditions International. Rochester, Vermont, 1995, 1999.
2. Satchidananda, Sri Swami. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Integral Yoga Publications. Yogaville, VA, 1978,1990.

Intermediate
A PREVIEW OF THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI - PAGE 7
by R. John Allcorn (Y-HO-Yoga Sutras)

“If the mind is allowed to play the role of master, whatever the achievements of the individual, there are bound to be problems ultimately and serenity will be beyond that individual’s reach.” 1
CHAPTER III - VIBHUTIPADAH
THE CHAPTER ON THE BENEFITS OF PRACTICE

3.1 - DHARANA [Training the mind to meditate2; focusing; concentrating; Taming the wild monkey] Meditation begins with training the mind to focus exclusively on an “object of meditation.”
3.2 - DHYANA [Meditation]
When you can focus exclusively on an “object of meditation,” you are meditating. You are not distracted by your senses, your thoughts or any other object that may be around you.
3.3 - SAMADHI [The “state of Yoga;”1 lift off; Note: Many texts explain various levels of samadhi]
The uninterrupted practice of meditation can lead to complete “integration” with your object of meditation as if you have “lost [your] own identity.”1
3.4-15 - SAMYAMA [Using Samadhi as a tool; these sutras describe and explain samyama]
4 - continuously and exclusively focusing on the same object is samyama
5 - Such focusing leads to a “comprehensive knowledge of the object in all its aspects.”1
6 - Practicing samyama should be done with “baby steps.”
7 - Compared to the first 5 limbs, the last 3 are more intricate1 and internal2
8 - With continual practice, the highest state of samadhi can be reached in which there is no interference with meditation - ever.
9-12 - There are 3 stages of samadhi/samyama/meditation which you will slowly move through. They are distraction when your mind wanders easily, fluctuation when your mind is sometimes wandering and sometimes fully concentrated and attention when you mind is constantly and willfully focused on your object of mediation.1 Through uninterrupted practice, the state of attention can be attained.
13-15 - Everything that we perceive, even during meditation, is real or fact. However, such reality can change as our perception changes through meditation and the practice of all 8 limbs.

WORKS CITED
1. Desikachar, T.K.V. The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice. Inner Traditions International. Rochester, Vermont, 1995, 1999.
2. Satchidananda, Sri Swami. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Integral Yoga Publications. Yogaville, VA, 1978,1990.

Intermediate
A PREVIEW OF THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI PAGE 8
by R. John Allcorn (Y-HO-Yoga Sutras)


CHAPTER III - VIBHUTIPADAH (continued)
THE CHAPTER ON THE BENEFITS OF PRACTICE


3.16-55 - SAMYAMA [Using Samadhi as a tool for supernatural achievements]
These sutras describe what is usually referred to as the supernatural results of the advanced practice of Yoga achieved through the steady, persistent and regular daily practice of meditation. These sutras provide examples of “objects of meditation” you might choose and the results of the practice of samyama when these objects are chosen. Any object may be chosen; these are ONLY examples followed by their expected results or siddhis. “Results may vary.”
It is important to remember that samyama should be attempted only under the guidance of a “meditation guru,” a guru who has achieved even-higher levels of Yoga or enlightenment.
16 - Samyama on change1 or evolution2 may result in a knowledge of the past and the future.
17 - Samyama on any word or sound2 perfects communication2
18 - Samyama on one’s habit or tendencies may result in knowledge of one’s previous births
19-20 - Samyama on another may result in an understanding of their state of mind but not the cause of this state of mind
21 - Samyama on one’s body characteristics can make one invisible to another
22 - Samyama on immediate or delayed karma one’s future or death may be known
23 - Samyama on personal characteristics may result in knowledge of how to strengthen them
24 - Samyama on the physical strength of an elephant may give one the elephant’s strength
25 - Samyama on one’s purusa may reveal “what is preventing deep observation”1
26 - Samyama on the sun may result in knowledge of “the entire solar system”2
27 - Samyama on the moon may result in knowledge of the stars
28 - Samyama on Polaris may result in knowledge of the movement of stars
29 - Samyama on the navel may result in knowledge of the states of one’s internal organs
30 - Samyama on the throat may provide an understanding of one’s thirst and hunger
31 - Samyama on the chest and lungs may give one the ability to control stress and remain calm
32 - Samyama on the 7th or Crown Chakra may give one supernatural abilities (visions)
33 - All powers obtained through samyama are manifested after spontaneous enlightenment
34 - Samyama on the heart may reveal the qualities of the mind
35-36 - Samyama on the difference between the purusa and the mind may give one knowledge of the purusa and may result in hypersensitive senses
37 - CAUTION: The results of samyama for one pursuing kaivalia may be distracting
38 - Samyama on the rigidity of one’s own mind may increase one’s influence over others
39 - Samyama on how the nervous system works may give one the ability to control nerve impulses or signals and help one ignore pain or even levitate2 (or feel like it1)

PAGE 9 40 - Samyama on the sense of feeling (the samana nerve circuit) one can radiate heat
41 - Samyama on the sense of hearing and its relation to space can give one super hearing 42 - Samyama on the relationship between the body and space can give one the lightness of a fiber of cotton and travel through space may be possible.
43 - Samyama on thoughts external to the body2, one may experience one’s purusa or soul2 or one may “probe other’s minds1
44-46 - Samyama on the essential nature of matter may gives one mastery over the elements. Such control allows one to change the body to increase attractiveness, strength, etc.
47-48 - Samyama on the senses and ego may give one mastery over them, suppress them2 or increase them at will.
49 - Samyama on the difference between the self and the Self (purusa) may give one omniscience
50-51 - KAIVALIA: The serious Yogi will reject the temporary “thrill” of samyama and will strive for Kaivalia (independence2), attained when all desires are rejected.
52-54 - Samyama on “single moments in sequence” may bring “absolute clarity,”1 the ability to see/know intuitively even the slightest difference between any objects.
55 - KAIVALIA is complete freedom, when the tranquil mind has attained complete knowledge and understanding of the purusa.
WORKS CITED
1. Desikachar, T.K.V. The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice. Inner Traditions International. Rochester, Vermont, 1995, 1999.
2. Satchidananda, Sri Swami. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Integral Yoga Publications. Yogaville, VA, 1978,1990. Intermediate A PREVIEW OF THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI PAGE 10 by R. John Allcorn (Y-HO-Yoga Sutras)
CHAPTER IV - KAIVALIAPADA
THE CHAPTER ON KAIVALIA OR “COMPLETE FREEDOM”


Here’s where things can get real confusing. Kaivalia is the complete freedom from all desire including the desire for no desires (told you it’s confusing!). The only way to reach this final goal of the Sutras is by uninterrupted meditative practice and practicing non-attachment (see the 1st book of the Sutras 1.12-16). This state of Kaivalia is manifested after one attains the ability to completely identify with one’s own purusa. Desires automatically become modified when the results become unimportant. All this begins with mastering self control.
So, where to begin the practice of self control? Baby steps. Here are two examples:
1. Weight loss. Many people want to lose weight. This can generally be safely done by simply increasing output (burning calories) and decreasing input (eating less). But we all may fail consistently, so there is more to losing weight than that. What is required is self discipline. Food can be used to learn self discipline. Start by not eating anything sugary for ONE DAY. The next day, eat as much sugary stuff as you want but do not drink any sodas. The next day, avoid any snacks. Continue the one-thing-at-a-time routine until you have covered all the food you want to control. Then, start avoiding two things each day. Different things each day but two things a day. Then three things. Then four etc. This is how to use food to learn self discipline. You can then add exercise in the same, slow method.
2. Exercise. Begin by choosing an exercise you like; for this we will use walking. The first week, walk 5 to 10 minutes each day until you go 7 days straight without missing. Then just add more minutes each day. Eventually, drop one day to let your body recover.
All the time practice non-attachment by not getting upset at yourself if you miss or cannot reach a level one day that you have reached some previous day.
So, on to the sutras on Kaivalia.
In this chapter, Patanjali shows us how to exercise self control to reach mastery over our minds and desires. There are only 34 sutras in this chapter, but they are tough ones. He begins by referring back to the previous chapter about attaining supernatural abilities.
1. Achievement through innate abilities, hard work and “herbs” - Some people are born with supernatural abilities, but the rest of us have to work to attain them, although “herbs” can be used to assist (see the books of Carlos Casteneda - the use of herbs are also referred to in the Vedas).
2-3. Role of kleshas - The gradual control of the mind and knowledge of the purusa is achieved by first removing obstacles to spiritual growth (see 2,3).
4-5. Result of Kaivalia - Once Kaivalia is attained, you may be able to influence the mental state of another willing person.
6-8. Role of “purity” - If you are selfless, compassionate and have overcome the obstacles ( 2,3), you will have enough purity to help others to spiritually develop using your supernatural abilities.

PAGE 11
A PREVIEW OF THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI
NOTE: Because of the overwhelming influence of gunas, memory, our emotional responses to memories and the guna-imbued things we see (which are changing) our minds cannot see things as they are, but the purusa can.

9-10. Obstacles to kaivalia - Despite even time and distance, there is a strong link between your memories and your emotional reaction to them both at the time of the events and when you remember them. These memories and their associated feelings leave an indelible mark on us but can be overcome.
11-13. Overcoming the Obstacles to kaivalia - We can overcome the significant influence of memories and the emotion attached thereto by overcoming the “obstacles of illogical thought,” raga (over attachment to results of our actions), and the three gunas.
14-19. Overcoming the gunas to reach kaivalia - Gunas are part of you and the things you see - Although the conscious mind is influenced by gunas and other factors, the purusa is not. Although we see and interpret things differently at different times, our purusa does not. When we can begin to see things through our purusas, we will begin to overcome the negative influence of the gunas.
20-24. Mind vs. purusa - The mind and the purusa (soul) are linked but are not the same; the mind serves the purusa by bringing images and impressions to the purusa and as the vehicle to knowing the purusa. The purusa serves as the foundation for the mind; the mind cannot exist without the purusa.
25-28. RE: A person who had reached Kaivalia. A person who has achieved Kaivalia has no desires except to remain in Kaivalia. Such a person must avoid even the smallest distraction while retaining a willingness to assist others which can be done easily because of his or her extraordinary capabilities and state of contentment.
29-34 . Results from reaching Kaivalia - In Kaivalia, all things are seen clearly, without the clouding from ego, gunas, kleshas or concern about karma.
WORKS CITED

1. Desikachar, T.K.V. The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice. Inner Traditions International. Rochester, Vermont, 1995, 1999.
2. Satchidananda, Sri Swami. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Integral Yoga Publications. Yogaville, VA, 1978,1990.
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Intermediate

A PREVIEW OF THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI
Contributed by: R. John Allcorn, M.A., E-RYT

INTRODUCTION
The core of the ideas of Yoga is found in The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, a Yogi who lived hundreds of years before Christ. The Sutras are not a prescription for how one should practice Yoga but rather a description of how the Yogis of Patanjali’s time practiced Yoga. Since there are signs of the practice of Yoga thousands of years before Patanjali, we can assume that there were diverse ways to practice Yoga in Patanjali’s time. Patanjali presents what is now referred to as Raja Yoga. Most sources say that the Sutras were written some time between 200 and 500 years before Christ.
The Yoga Sutra is not casual reading but represents a search for truth and explains a path to truth through self discipline, continuous practice, non-attachment and focus or concentration. Desikachar says that “Understanding The Yoga Sutra is a lifelong task.”1 The Yoga Sutras contain approximately 197 sutras. A sutra is an aphorism designed to be memorized. There are four chapters and each contains about 50 sutras.

APPROACHING YOGA LIKE A CAFETERIA
You may pick and choose the ideas and practices of Yoga that suit you and passages in The Sutras that appeal to you. Yoga is a personal path and you walk your path the way you choose. There is no dictator, Pope or single authority in Yoga. A Yoga scholar or teacher cannot show you the path but only ideas as to how you can find your path.

SUMMARIES OF CHAPTERS
The first of the four chapters is entitled Samadhipada or “the chapter on Samadhi or contemplation.” Pada means chapter. This chapter is an introduction designed to inspire the student and includes what may be the most important sutra, 1:2, which defines Yoga. The first chapter also “describes our state of mind in yoga and in nonyoga.”1
The second chapter is on the practice of Yoga and some things that may be achieved. It includes the obstacles to spiritual advancement, kleshas, and what can be done to overcome them, it defines Gunas and their influence on us, and, most importantly, the first 5 “limbs” of Yoga.
The third chapter concludes the eight limbs and gives further examples of the results of Yoga practice. Some of these results from practice are often seen as “supernatural.”
The final chapter is called Kaivaliapada or the chapter on freedom. Here Patanjali describes total freedom from suffering as well as the results of seeing the world through one’s purusa or soul. This is not political, religious or personal freedom but spiritual freedom.

CONCLUSION
It is essential for any student interested in the study and practice of Yoga to spend a lifetime studying the Yoga Sutra. It is truly an enlightening experience.

WORKS CITED
1. Desikachar, T.K.V. The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice. Inner Traditions International. Rochester, Vermont, 1995, 1999.

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Basic and Intermediate

Welcome to Hatha Yoga Class
Contributed by: R. John Allcorn, M.A., E-RYT

HELEN ELLIS MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

What do I need to bring?
- Comfortable, loose clothes
- Yoga is done in your bare feet
- Feel free to bring socks if your feet tend to get cold
- Bring a bottle of water

What should I keep in mind while stretching?
- “Ahhhhh” (If it hurts, it ain’t Yoga)
- Please listen to your body and move at your own pace
- Flexibility will increase over time
- Please do not judge others or yourself
- Avoid comparing yourself to others

What if the ideas are overwhelming and alien?
- Do not try to memorize everything
- The mind can only absorb so much at one time
- Your mind will select what it wants to remember
- Over time, you will learn all you need

Things to keep in mind:
- Please don’t step on other students’ mats
- Please avoid wearing perfume, cologne or scents
- Please limit side conversations during class
- Stretch before class begins - Only you know which muscles need more attention
- PLEASE do not be afraid to ask questions. If you’re thinking it, so is someone else (Asking your question is a way to help others too)
- No matter what condition your body’s in or what’s going on in your mind, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Keep an open mind, focus on the present, and don’t forget to Breathe!

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CONTACT: R. John Allcorn, M.A., E-RYT
727-463-5975
allcorn@tampabay.rr.com

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