Yoga Sutra 2.16

Exploring the Sutras

Lesson 7 : Yoga Sutra 2.16

And now for lucky number 7!

This week’s sutra, “Heyam dukham anagram”, essentially answers the question, “Why do we practice yoga at all”? The answer is quite lovely and profound. We practice yoga to alleviate and possibly avoid some of our future suffering. The Sanskrit word “dukha” means suffering, or literally translated, it means “a bad axle hole”. When the axle hole of a tire is not right, the tire doesn’t turn or work properly. According to the Buddha, the first noble truth is that in life there is suffering. He goes on to say that the way out of this suffering is through spiritual practice and that it is possible to alleviate some of it. I love the parallels between Yoga philosophy and Buddhism. Patanjali tells us that yoga has the profound ability to alleviate and possibly avoid some of our future suffering, not all of it. Life as a human being on this planet will definitely have some suffering in it. However, by practicing yoga we learn how to be more present in our own lives. When we are present, we pay more attention to things, details, people, and situations. It is through this presence of being that we start to make better choices in the present moment. When we make good choices, we are automatically affecting our future, as the future is guided by the present. I believe that what Patanjali is saying here is that if we truly practice yoga in its entirety, following the Yamas and the Niyamas and the eight limbs of yoga, then we will be more conscious and will make better decisions and choices in the present moment that will affect our future in a more positive way. We must take care to recognize that we cannot alleviate or avoid all of our suffering. This would not be possible in this imperfect human incarnation. But I do find it very comforting and reassuring to think that what I am doing now as I practice yoga in all aspects of my life is contributing to my future happiness and peaceful state of mind. I love Yoga!!! As I say so often, there is some pain on the path to freedom! Trust your inner voice and your gut and be courageous as you navigate through this thing called life.

Aloha and Namaste!

Peace, Nicki

Nicki Doane