Sutra I.3 – Chapter I, Sutra 3

तदा द्रष्टुः स्वरूपेऽवस्थानम्

tada drastuh svarupe-avasthanam

As a result of directing the mind exclusively towards an object and sustaining that focus in one direction without distractions, we experience the deepest part of ourselves.

PRACTICAL LIVING    This sutra is directly connected to the previous one, and states that when we are in the state of Yoga, then (tada), as a result of choosing an object, focusing on it and sustaining that focus, the ability to understand the object fully and correctly is apparent. In the state of Yoga the different preconceptions and products of the imagination that can prevent or distort understanding are controlled, reduced or eliminated. This can be elucidated by a simple metaphor where we imagine the mind as a mirror. For most of us that mirror is dirty and bent, which results in a distorted image. In other words, we usually perceive ourselves and the world in a distorted manner. This sutra states that when we’ve done the work and have cleaned and smoothened our mirrors, then we begin to perceive ourselves and the world with clarity. We perceive things just as they are. Why is it rude to belch in some cultures and not not in others? When we stop and reflect on the cultural phenomena of belching, we realize that the act in itself is not rude, it just is what it is. Some of us have learned to associate the act with rudeness. This is one of millions of examples which illustrate what prevents us from seeing things as they are: a conditioned mind.

In the state of Yoga :

  • we are who we are
  • we see things as they are (without the learned judgments)
  • we are firmly established (avasthanam) in our own (svarupe) true nature (drastuh)

IN THE YOGA WORLD     Then, when the mind is calm and focused, it no longer distorts the true expression of the soul. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are based on Samkhya philosophy, which says that living beings are made out of 2 different parts: an unchanging, formless light which is the source of our inner joy, peace and wisdom (purusha or drastuh), and a changing part which consists of our body, thoughts and emotions (prakrti). According to Samkhya, we experience suffering because we are disconnected from our purusha. We think we are only bodies that think and feel. We are that, but there is also something deeper (drastuh). The mind is the only way to experience purusha. Since most of us have distorted mirrors as minds, it is difficult to experience our inner light. When the mind is unclear, we only perceive the mind’s projection, not the truth. So, on a more positive note, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are primarily concerned with explaining the nature of the mind and providing us with tools to “clean our mirrors” and therefore cultivate more clarity (viveka), so that we eventually establish ourselves in our own true nature 🙂 Of course, this is easier said than done. In fact, Sutras I.1 and I.2 emphasize that commitment and action are required to reach a state of Yoga! Meanwhile, reflect, act and enjoy the ride!

Reflect and Enjoy

INSPIRATIONAL PERSON     This incredible woman has known me all my life. In fact, she gave me my first home: her womb. MamaMagic is a fountain of love. She has taught me some of the most beautiful lessons I have received in life: connecting to and expressing love, the beauty of crying, observing nature, taking the time to reflect, and the joy of spontaneity. She also introduced me to Yoga. This woman has a connection to nature, to reflection and to life that amazes me. Thank you Mama for always supporting me in my path, for all the inspiring conversations about life, and for helping me to experience my inner light little by little. I feel profound gratitude for this huge blessing in my life. Like Mami (and Violeta Parra) would sing: “Gracias a la vida que me has dado tanto!” Translation: Thank you life, whose given me so much!

Do you have any experiences you would like to share? Please interact as much as you like – everyone will learn from your personal experiences!

Thanks and we will look at what happens when we’re not in a state of yoga next week!

80 thoughts on “Sutra I.3 – Chapter I, Sutra 3

  1. Lucia, so TRUE yoga sutras propose us to clean the mirror!!! Very hard work to do over and over again (never ends!!). But at the same time, those flagrant moments in which we “taste” purusa…. are worthy enough. You know! 🙂
    It can be easily seen your beautiful and loving relationship with your mother. You are full of contagious joy and pervading light. Nice to have you near!

  2. Muy educativo el capitulo, y hermosa la parte donde hablas de tu mami….like mother like dauther 🙂 Namaste, prana and shanti!

  3. What can I say, Lulita…………………..YOU ARE SO SPECIAL……………..Miss Sunshine !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Y sì, GRACIAS A LA VIDA and always make the best to Enjoy y si quieres llorar, llora………………….
    Love you and bear hugs with lots of honey,

    • Mama Linda: you are an amazing woman, who spreads seeds of unconditional love, patience and generosity everyday.
      We all learn soooooo much from you. Close you eyes and feel it, Mama. You are light and love. And you’ll always be that to al of us, and all of those around you. Allow & Accept.

      Love and Joy,

    • Mamita linda, I re-read this today and noticed I had not replied to you…I love you my Mama. And today, as I have profound appreciation for the wonderful life I’ve been given, and for the wonderful life I am able to create for myself, I think of you. I love you MamaBear!

  4. Dearest Luli,
    I was so curious to read your Sutra 1.3, and that only grew when I saw MamaLinda’s picture in your post! I love this Sutra; the intern at work, Susie, is a beautiful 23 year old young woman and she as a lovely tattoo on her arm that says in Latin: “Let your inner light shine”. So young, so wise. And she does that, I admire her and how she works, she shines, in her very own humble, talented and proactive approach to work. I learn from her a lot.

    Thank you for another inspiring thought!

    I love and admire you.
    Love and Joy 🙂 ❤

  5. So many people (me included) look at themselves distorted or look at themselves through others eyes. Its hard to see yourself. Even with the right tools. Hopefully with time I will be able to focus more.
    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone could?

  6. Ah the power of our minds. They are valued so deeply in our Western society. We hold so much intellect and the “knowledge is power” mentality. I for one love knowledge. I am the type that likes to understand everything I touch in depth. I work in an environment that this type of knowledge and understanding is quite valuable and attributes to my confidence which is vital to success. Yet the same mind that builds such confidence is also ts ironic the source of our suffering and insecurities. How ironic! This mind is full of judgements of myself and others which hinders me. It is full of misconceptions that cloud the clarity within me. As I incorporate yoga into my life I am healing and building true inner confidence and peace. All througOh the beauty of yoga and self. awareness and ACCEPTANCE=LOVE LOVE LOVE

    • Jess, you nailed it! Yoga is the process of re-orienting the mind from a path of self-destruction to a path of self-love 🙂 The mind has those two abilities: it’s up to us what we choose to focus on…

  7. This year has been a year of ‘cleaning off the mirror’ so to speak. Some days Im not as successful as Id like, but that doesnt stop me from trying:)
    One of my many goals, is to live w/ less judgement.

    There are bigger problems in life…we shouldnt get so upset w/ the little stuff.

    • Hi Christina, yes, there are some days or moments when we see things clearer. It is a continuous effort and gradually we have more moments of clarity. One quote that I love says:
      Life, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
      The courage to change the things I can
      And the wisdom to know the difference
      Grant me patience for the changes that take time
      Appreciation for that I am and have
      Tolerance for those with different struggles
      And the strength to get up and try again one day at a time.

  8. Pingback: Sutra I.4 – Chapter 1, Sutra 4 | weeklysutra

  9. Clearing the mind is very challenging for me and a constant struggle. We have to train our mind to clear away negative thought about ourselves. How do we train our minds to do so is what I always ask? Do we need to think positively all the time? Well that is impossible to do. I have finally come to realize that all these negative thoughts are crazy and just accept whatever the issue is. When I first started practicing yoga I had my ego and negative thoughts running around my mind all the time. I wanted to look like that girl in Bakasana, or how my day at work was awful. My mind was so cloudy that I couldn’t focus on how I felt and by the end of class I was just as stressed as I came into class. I finally realized that I needed to stop having these negative thoughts and focus on how I was feeling at the moment; which was great. It was very hard for me to clear my mind of these thoughts, but after a while I was able to and in return has cleared my mind in my personal life off the mat. Now that I am done beating myself up, with practice, I am able to get my feet off the ground in Bakasana 

  10. This sutra speaks to my constant struggle of internal and external. Yoga gives me the permission to tune in and listen to my true self rather then allowing all of the external pressures to cloud my :mirror”

    • Hi Aqua, I am happy to hear that Yoga gives you permission. It is funny how frequently we don’t “permit” ourselves pleasure, joy, growth…this may be rooted in some deep samskaras about how life was defined to us either as children or as we grew up. Thankfully we can change that as adults 🙂

  11. Pingback: Sutra I.5 – Chapter I, Sutra 5 | weeklysutra

  12. It has always interested me how difficult it is to see things just as they are. It would seem that this would be the easiest process, but instead we must clear the mind/mirror to pull away all of the layers and levels of abstraction and deformation that we build over time. I find that it is most fun to engage myself/others as “true to form” and genuinely as possible. I think we all have moments in life where we realize that others will accept and appreciate us just for being ourselves; those moments have brought me great joy in my life and encourage me to keep going despite traveling down the “road less traveled” and doing something very risky and ambitious.

    • Hi Lynda, I love the reference to the “road less travelled” because that, in many cases, is what we need to do in order to live with clarity and be the people we want to be. They are moments of great joy if we allow ourselves to make them happen 🙂

  13. I think that it has been agreed upon (and I agree myself) that it is quite difficult to “clear the mirrors”. After a lifetime of learned behaviors/perceptions or cultural behaviors, it sort of becomes who you are as a person. I think that part of learning and practicing yoga is learning to take a step back and starting to recognize these behaviors and realize that perhaps some of these behaviors or perceptions could create negative reactions or even the opposite and create positive reactions.

    • Hi Daniel, yes, everything begins with awareness. Once we have a moment of “wow, this is what I’ve been thinking/doing all these years”, then we can replace that old thought/action with something newer, fresher, more constructive. It’s a practice…an everlasting one…

  14. Pingback: Sutra I.6 – Chapter I, Sutra 6 | weeklysutra

  15. Pingback: Sutra I.11 – Chapter I, Sutra 11 | weeklysutra

  16. Pingback: Sutra I.12 – Chapter I, Sutra 12 | weeklysutra

  17. Pingback: Sutra I.15 – Chapter I, Sutra 15 | weeklysutra

  18. Pingback: Sutra I.24 – Chapter I, Sutra 24 | weeklysutra

  19. I’m in the process of reading the book the Four Agreements and this sutra is similar to the chapter of the book where the author speaks about the “Book of Laws” or “agreements” we have internally created for ourselves. He says to change these agreements takes a strong will and focus to adopt, but once we do we will experience our true selves for the first time. A good example of this for me happened just recently when I was told that I could actually sing. For years, I’ve believed that I couldn’t after an experience I had when I was younger that lead me to have an internal agreement that I couldn’t sing. Since, being told that I could sing, I’ve made a conscious effort to practice a little every day and focus and tell myself I’m a singer. I’m cleaning that mirror so-to-speak of the film that for years have told me “no you can’t do that.”

  20. It is lot of work to clear the mind from all the noise.
    It is a constant struggle. It is hard for me.
    Not only leaving the mind empty and silent.
    But also leaving it with that one thing it should be with.
    When I succeed I am very peaceful and happy.
    And I can enjoy that one thing I chose.

  21. I understand this sutra in two slightly different ways, as it pertains to sutra I.2, I see it as meaning that once we successfully choose, focus, and sustain our energies towards the things that need nurturing, the consistent improvements in our lives will also alleviate us of some of our worries and stressors. With less worries and stress in our lives, we are more able to take time to kick back, relax, and do some self reflection, reveling in our “true nature” (drastuh). I personally struggle with this a lot, as I usually have something weighing pretty heavily on my mind that I haven’t done yet or taken steps to accomplish. Thats a pretty heavy conscience to be carrying around all the time, and it’s exhausting! However, as I work with sutra I.2, I have faith that sutra I.3 will find its way into my life.

    The other way I perceive this sutra is through the lens of learned behaviors versus true nature. I often find myself “making stuff up” (as my mother and I like to call it) whenever I’m in a less-than-pleasant situation. “That woman on the train bumped into me because she thinks her time is more important than mine just because she’s older and has a career and…blahblahblah” No, not necessarily true! I find myself “cleaning the mirror” when I am able to step back and ask myself “Is *insert story here* really true? Probably not. This is just something that happened, and now it’s over, and it’s no big deal or cause for judgement.” In my opinion, the first step to “cleaning the mirror” is being able to step back when we see ourselves looking through a clouded lens, and try to change our perspective.

  22. For me, this concept aligns with what I like to call “seeking to understand.” Whether it is focusing on myself and why I do things/act a certain way in a given situation, or applying this to a situation at work/in life, I find that focusing on the intent and motivations for why people act the way that they do helps clear the mirror. Once we focus on the roots or underlying causes for action (true nature), we can then truly start to understand ourselves and others. Maybe someone was having a bad day or was feeling pressured by a boss… Or for the belching example, I would seek to understand and realize that it was a product of culture, not negative intent on the part of the belcher 🙂 This idea has helped me live a more positive life!

    • Alaina, I love how you put it: “seeking to understand”. This is the yogic journey – viveka, clarity, seeking to understand a little more everyday. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

  23. Sometimes it can be difficult me for to differentiate between the self-awareness I am seeking out by ‘cleaning the mirror’ and self-consciousness. The hope for me, and I think for many people (though maybe not in these words), is to be so open and in tune with myself, others, and the situation I am in in each moment, which can quickly result in worry because I, again, like most, am self-conscious about how I am relating to others and being perceived by them. My understanding of this sutra is that this self-consciousness, this worry falls away when we are able to sustain focus on each moment as we are in it. When we are fully here now we are not clouded with the worry of what we just said or did or what we might say or do.

  24. The idea of clarity is very interesting to me. I think the fact that most people misperceive things so frequently is important to recognize. It is hard to change an initial reaction or initial judgement of something but I have found when I keep this idea in mind, I am able to take a step back from my first reaction and reevaluate things, hoping that this will clear up the situation and bring in different perspectives on it. At least being aware of the fact that I probably view things incorrectly often is humbling and helps me to attempt to have a more postive outlook on things.

  25. My challenge with this sutra always comes in the form of self-consciousness. I find myself trying to guess what others think of me or how I fit in a group and usually end up misreading the situation entirely. Sustaining a more positive focus on me will help me gain a more accurate perception of myself so I experience less self doubt. If I work to not read into situations so quickly and approach them with a more positive and open mind, I believe I will slowly gain greater understanding and comfort with my surroundings.

  26. Yes, for some having such conditioned minds, we could sometimes place a lot of focus on the smudges/distortions/cracks of other people’s mirrors. At times we try to clean theirs instead of accepting as they are and we loose focus on the real person behind the smudges. We probably feel that it is easier to focus on other people’s issues/smudges rather than facing our own. Unfortunately when doing that, we end up loosing focus of our own mirror and not realize that ours could use some cleaning too.

    In the past few years I’ve been fortunate to be around more and more people and friends that together we talk about things like this. We love and work on helping each other be our true selves without judgments. I am also grateful to now have Yoga tools like this sutra that help me see more of the things that matter or don’t matter. All together helps to start erasing some of those learned judgments to see and accept others as they are. I also feel that by practicing not being judgmental, accepting people and things as they are, helps Me be more comfortable in my own skin, not judge myself as much and to be who I am in my true nature more and more each day.

  27. For some reason this yoga made me immediately think of my relationship with my husband. According to this sutra, when I am with my husband, I am truly practicing a state of yoga. This makes me appreciate and love my husband even more, but also makes me look at everything else in my life and think, “I have some mirror cleaning to do.” If you really think about it though, it has taken years and years for my husband and me to cultivate the relationship we do have – being who we are, no judgments, and being established in our own true nature. It will take years for me to clean off the mirrors for the other facets of life, and that is ok! As long as I am taking steps to clean the mirrors in these other areas, I will get to a state of yoga. I have hope that I can do this since I am taking actionable steps to make changes in my life every day.

  28. With this Sutra I find my “Mirror” especially more dirty & bent. I would not say it is a self-conscious issue though. I believe in myself fully and am confident enough to be happy in my own skin yet I find myself with an unrelenting need to push myself down to never let myself become overconfident. A practice I feel is something I would enjoy to remove by following the Suturas and becoming more aware of the needs of myself. I remember we talked about how that negative thought can have a negative impact on the body and so forth. So by becoming more conscious of this thought that I only started noticing a few years back I feel I can allow myself to let go more and go down a path of practical living. Straying away from doubt in myself and allowing myself to clean my own “Mirror” to one day achieve sattva.

  29. This Sutra talks about our own personal mirrors which are “bent and dirty.” The reality that my own thoughts are distorted and clouding my ability to see and experience purusha, has become increasingly more apparent to me. I’ve done a great deal of self-reflection lately, and have decided that I am (and typically all of us are) truly my own worst enemy. I constantly put myself down, and tell myself the horrible things that I see about myself, when in actuality other people are not seeing my own insecurities in the same light that I am. We all have our own struggles and times of self-doubt, but it makes perfect sense that since we are not seeing ourselves and the world around us clearly, we are separating ourselves from the source of our inner joy, peace, and wisdom. It’s easy to see others in a positive light, and focus on all of the things that we love about that person. Why is it so hard to see, appreciate, and love these aspects of ourselves? Yoga has been helping me reshape and redirect my thoughts, to see myself and others in a different, more positive light. It’s so reassuring to know that day by day, the bad habits I have been enforcing for so long, can be changed into different positive, healthy habits and thought processes.

  30. When I read these sutras I often relate it to and combine it with what I have learned from Vipassana (insight) meditation, which is a form of practicing Yoga. “As a result of directing the mind exclusively towards an object and sustaining that focus in one direction without distractions, we experience the deepest part of ourselves” – I believe this quote directly relates to vipassana because while doing vipassana meditation the ‘object of meditation’ is, in fact, yourself. You meditate on the sensations that arise and fall in your body, the pleasant sensations and the not so pleasant ones. The whole idea of it is to become aware and equanimous with everything you experience and through this process you literally and figuratively begin to ‘know thyself’. You start to realize and observe your thoughts and all of the mental conditioning we’ve accumulated, but by being equanimous(not reacting or attaching to them) you start to “clean you mirror”. This whole process is really difficult, but in my opinion it is beneficial and allows you to really practice the things we learn in this sutra.

  31. Mis-perception, the delusion of Maya, a distorted or fogged/dirty mirror…how do we remove these obstacles to truly understand our deepest and most true nature? Well, it is definitely a work in progress but also a state of mind. I think it’s easier to blame outside factors (people, the weather, society, etc) than to truly try to clean that mirror and see what is staring back at us. One of life’s biggest journey is the journey into our hearts, our true nature. It is insanely scary to think that we have to remove concepts, we have so carefully crafted to “protect” ourselves, in order to be raw, to be real and acknowledge our essence of being. I’ll take the weather example; during winter I tend to blame my short temper on the lack of sunshine and plummeting temperatures but I do often, in silence and with caution, ask myself “is it the weather, or am I truly just a short-tempered person?” I think I legitimate suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) but this catchy acronym has become a fog, a preconceived concept of who and why I react certain ways and it can shield me from realizing the ultimate truth: I have a short temper. Rajas, rajas, rajas, love spicy food, in some ways love the volatile and effervescent nature of anger and I succumb to the delusional that it’s all because of the weather when reality I should be more bold and admit this about myself and experience a not so pleasant side of myself. Yoga has helped me become more “raw.” The process of deconstructing our walls is a long one but I am excited to see where yoga can take me.

  32. The most inspiring message that I find within this sutra is that the tools to reach a state of clarity are not some arcane concepts that we must divine from the stars or seek in remote locations; they exist within us. Regardless of why our metaphorical mirror is cloudy or how this state came to be, it is not some external force that will clean it, it is our own concentration and focus. While the end result of our actions are frequently beyond our control -not that we do not have agency, just that so many other factors influence the outcome- our state of mind, how we perceive the world is up to us.
    A friend once recited a verse on love to me from the poet Rumi which stuck though I cannot say I am much of a romantic. The line was that “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it”. Though I cannot say that I have ever been in the throes of true romantic love or indeed, have desired as much, the message is pertinent to the expression of love with friends, family or even strangers. Just as with the state of drastuh, love is not something you will stumble across, it is something that will come to you only when you focus on eventuating it.

  33. This sutra resonates with me a lot. Finding the real me, having my own opinions and being who I am was hard for a long time. I find myself to be very different from my family. I view the world very differently and over time have finally found my own voice and opinions. For the longest time I felt brain washed with their opinions and views. Not saying either sides are right or wrong at all but just different. I tend to have a very open mind and for the longest time I did not. I started to focus on what I loved and my passion and by giving to myself and doing this for myself I obtained that focus and ended up finding a deeper part of myself. I am truly happier now. I look as my family as the dirt on my mirror and once I stopped caring what they thought and how I lived my life my true reflection became clearer.

  34. I definitely underestimated Yoga Teacher Training. I thought it would be all about the asanas and building a better asana practice. But that’s only a small part of yoga. Yoga as handed down through the generations was meant to be a lifestyle, not an exercise class. I did not quite expect the amount of self-reflection that would be involved. But now that I know, I’m glad for it even though it makes me a little nervous because this teacher training is giving me the tools to build and live the life I want. Even after the first weekend of class, I felt increased mental clarity and happiness from all the time we spent laughing and the connection to other like-minded people, somewhat of a “happy hangover.” It even manifested physically because when I looked in the mirror I thought I looked prettier! Now I have an extra spring in my step because I feel like I have a “secret weapon,” or know something the average joe doesn’t know. I keep the photo of the teacher trainees in my cube at work to remind me of this great gift that I have. When I practice yoga, it’s like putting on armor. It arms me with strength, peace, focus, and decreased anxiety so I can go out there and face the world. The effects of the world are minimized as well—I am less likely to get sucked into negativity, drama, and stress when I have on my yoga armor. When things happen now I can step outside myself and analyze what’s going on. Instead of seeing things as black and white and jumping to conclusions, which is my natural tendency, I am working on seeing things as they are. For example, instead of thinking, “Wow, I’m acting like a b#%!” I replace that with, “I’m hungry and didn’t get enough sleep last night, so that’s why I’m snippy right now. I’m only human, so I’m going to let this moment pass and give myself a break.” I am especially working on being kinder to myself….not holding myself to a standard of robot-like perfection, not beating myself up for mistakes, and trying not to obsess over why people left me or hurt me, or feel like a failure when I do not accomplish every task on my laundry list every week. I am cleaning house, cleaning the mirrors, and realizing that self-acceptance is where my kriya yoga starts.

  35. This Sutra exemplifies what I have been searching for. In the past I have been able to “clean the mirror” (sometimes better than other times). However, in the past its has been difficult to not view the world or myself through a distorted mirror. As I started to practice yoga, I noticed it had allowed me to sustain my focus in one direction without distraction, but I found I didn’t quite know how to make use of it throughout my daily life. As Danielle mentioned above I am happy to have found out that the Yoga Teacher Training is delving into the philosophy of the yoga practice and that I am part of a group of like minded individuals that will take the journey with me.

    • Kate, you are right, it is a path. And cleaning the mirror takes a lifetime (or many lives according to some people). Being surrounded by like-minded people definitely makes the ride more enjoyable 🙂 Enjoy!

  36. Chatter in the mind and out in the world is eternally present, and we cannot change that. There will always be a myriad of systems and directives, both subtle and overt, both external and internal, conscious and unconscious. But when we develop that sense of learning to separate the self and the mind from these streams, to be able to isolate one’s self and to see a singular item, object, path, then we are practicing yoga. To sustain this attention, it is like changing the depth-of-field on a camera lens…yoga gives me the tools to become aware of myself both as a part of, and apart from these things that are “not me”. It’s not just wiping the fog away, or cleaning the mirror, but more like each of our selves is a crystal or a diamond that has a million reflecting and refracting facets, and that the light/purusha that travels through can get all tangled up, or the light can get dim…and that part of practicing yoga is starting to discern which path of energy/light comes from where, which is mine, which is yours, which is going someplace else entirely…

    • Bridget, I love the metaphor of the depth-of-field in a lens. It’s exactly that. The deeper we can go, while keeping the lens clean, the more we can distinguish the difference between that which always changes, and that which is like the sun – just shining light and warmth from within.

  37. This sutra really allows to me explore my acceptance of myself and those around me. I think often times when I am upset or offended I fail to look at all sides of the situation. This Sutra points out to me that my experience of life and what is happening around me may not be the actual truth, and that what I have experienced is different than those around me. We all have avidya in our lives that is blocking the purusha from shining through, blocking our inner truth and wisdom. This interferes in many ways with our day to day personal life and interactions, particularly with our inner desire for drama, for rajas. I know that I have been guilty of misinterpreting a situation or dramatizing a situation. Most often there are multiple sides to every story, to everyones truth.

    I also enjoy this sutra in it’s message for self-acceptance. We are who we are and we must learn to love and accept ourselves fully. It reminds me of a piece of art work my friend has hanging on het wall, “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.” A little mantra I try to remember whenever I am getting down on myself 🙂

    • Meg, you brought out so many different concepts in your answer: it really shows how committed you have been to the teachings and how they’re sinking in deeper and deeper 🙂 I love the mantra – it definitely speaks to self acceptance, which links to self love. We are enough!

  38. It is said that people never change their ways. I feel like this Sutra states the exact opposite. I believe that people are ever changing. Every day we experience different situations that change us for the worse, and for the better. I think it is all about how we take each situation that makes us who we are. My mom always told me that life is 99.9% attitude. We can go through life with a scowl on our faces, or we can smile. If we look at each situation, focus on what we can get out of it in a positive way. Maybe our mirrors will become unbent and clean, that way we can see the world more clearly. Live in the moment. Fully and with a smile on our faces.

    • Mary, yoga believes we have an innate potential to be pure love. Like you mentioned, the challenge is the ‘bent’ mirror. It is possible to change. But we need to want to change, and that takes courage, effort and commitment. And it all begins with awareness…

  39. I really enjoy this sutra. First of all, it’s important to acknowledge that we ALL have mirrors… dirty ones at that. By trying to see through our mental distortions and volatile feelings, we can open ourselves to a greater understanding of the world.

    For me, it is very easy to let mine or others’ feelings influence a situation. People always say “Follow your heart”, “Do what you feel”… These sayings aren’t bad: one should be informed by his/her feelings, but one shouldn’t let them or our distorted mirrors completely control a situation. In a situation when I’m looking for the right thing to do, I ALWAYS find comfort in stepping back and observing. Looking for that objective, non-judgmental truth is pulls more bounds than any feeling. It is a link to our inner light. It’s a little way to embrace our prakriti and our purusa.

    • Chris, very well said. Our emotions are beautiful and they add pleasure to life. However, they are definitely not purusha – not the inner light. Stepping back is definitely a great thing to do because only when we step away from the emotions, observe them (as opposed to reacting to them) can we gradually experience the rays of sunshine that are beyond the emotions.

  40. I feel as though bettering ourselves is so easy until life becomes a little more complex. Things are thrown in every direction and it’s hard to focus. I have cleaned my mirror many of times. I slip up at times, but just try harder the next. Perception is so important and allows you to move forward. When I’m stuck in a negative state, I’ve learned to wipe my mirror a bit until my inner visions are clearer. I go from there and usually I am able to get back on track. Sometimes it’s not so easy, but that’s life. Yoga is really one of the few things that keep my grounded. Yoga keeps my mirror shiny. My mind, body and spirit become cleansed and my vision is clearer. I plan on staying this way.

    • Exhalado, you are right: when life is smooth and fragrant, everything feels good. But what would be our motivation to change and evolve if life was like that all the time? Complexity motivates us to change, to explore, to improve our lives. I’m happy to hear you found something that helps clean your mirror!

  41. I am always trying to clean the mirror! This sutra resonated with me because we are all affected by it. We all have dirt on our windows that needs to be clean. There are days I wake up with a more lucid mind and ready to take on the day but there are other days when I can’t seem to get there. My grandmother recently died in a brutal car accident. My mother was also in the car and is still badly injured. Needless to say there are days where my mind wakes up more cloudy than others. I need to continue to keep this sutra in mind.

    • KTYogi, I am sorry for your loss. Yoga can also help us experience emotionally turbulent moments smoother. It doesn’t mean that we will not feel pain, it means that we understand the pain from a bigger picture and simply allow ourselves to feel. And yes, our minds not only change from day to day, but from moment to moment.

  42. So, just yesterday, my teacher taught me the ujjayi breath. However, i found it difficult during my practice that i had a much shorter inhale than the exhale. I asked her how to improve it and she brought me and other students closer to her to hear her breathing with ujjayi both inhaling and exhaling. She explained by using the back of the throat appropriately, one can constrict (or open) to allow the breath to lengthen. I tried it, and i think i improved my inhale now. It’s definitely longer than before (…check out my EGO bubbling big here ^..^). The good thing is that i can now incorporate it to my asana routines. The bad thing is during the training lectures, i even practiced the ujjayi, and probably lost focus a bit on the training session; and i probably pissed out my fellow yogis and teacher around me too…(they d be like: who the heck is doing ujjayi around me or where is that buzzing sound coming from??)

    I am thankful that i now know the inhaling ujjayi, so i can focus on my breath and prolong it both ways. However, i need to stay focus on the training lecture too 🙂

  43. I had a difficult time responded to this Sutra. I understand it in concept but feel my mirror is rather bent and dirty so I am not fully able to relate. I feel I have not experienced the deepest part of myself. I love music and enjoy singing. I am very focused when I am listening or working on my music. I feel this might be the closest I come to really understanding who I am as person. My music puts me in a place where I am open to seeing the world more clearly. I am finding there is something special about surrendering myself to my music and letting go of any preconceived notions about the world and myself. I guess in many ways it comes back to choosing what you want to focus on in your life and then allowing that to wipe the dirt and cobwebs off your mirror.

  44. The true starting point to transformation and the ‘cleaning of my clouded mirror’ began in January. I was what you’d call the average lost teenager who had to make changes for my benefit and health. Throughout high-school I was rebellious and didn’t have the most stable relationship with my parents (that’s a story for another day). As school zoomed by my parents caught me smoking cigarettes countless times. My mom smoked, so after a while she gave up on trying to make me quit, and smoking became something we bonded over. I smoked for a couple years, sadly, and had to come up with enough willpower to turn down one of the few things that held me and my moms relationship together. I gave up that nasty habit for a purer life, and the ability to breath.

  45. In my previous comment I said that one must choose thoughtfully so that the focus and ability to sustain would flow more naturally. This sutra helps with the thinking process it seems. When I am clear thinking I make much better choices. When my emotions are driving the boat, sometimes it crashes. Remembering to clear the mirror is a helpful way to press the pause button before making impulsive decisions and struggling with the aftermath. Thank you yoga for giving me the tools to make better decisions and to allow me to meet wonderful people who can help me along the journey.

  46. The beauty and ease that comes with knowing who you are is indescribable. I feel grateful that i had a short time of trying to figure out who i was in those teen and early 20’s years. I knew what felt right to me and didn’t spend time trying to be someone i wasn’t. Seeing things as they are- this doesn’t always happen for me, especially when emotions are involved. It’s amazing how effective the advise of ‘sleep on it’ can be when you take some time, take a step back, and re-evaluate. Definitely helps clean the mirror.

  47. Since establishing a regular yoga practice a few years back…my mirror became cleaner and cleaner. Things that may have disgruntled me before, no longer mattered. It became more of a purpose of how situations arose and how I handled them. Since this time doors have opened, relationships became more solid and my belief in myself became more than a quote I read on pinterest.

  48. So true, easier said than done! Since I have started my Yoga practice, I have learned that my mirror was so unclear, I never realized how I let everything around me, be my direction. Now I am taking a step “outside” of everything and seeing how I let it affect me. My mirror is not clear, but I know it is better

  49. Yes, cleaning the mirror. I am finding it helpful to ask others their perception as I know my mirrors could use some deep cleaning from time to time. While I trust myself much more than I did in my younger years, I am so thankful for the people I have found who can help me with a little reflection when I need it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s