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Yoga Sutra Series: Adhmimatra Powerful Effort in Yoga Practice

Yoga Sutra Series
Adhmimatra Powerful Effort in Yoga Practice
with Manorama

In the context of reviewing what is needed for the yogic practice to have full fruition. We were looking at Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras 1.21 and 1.22.

PYS 1.21 Tīvra-Samvegānām Āsannah

The full fruition of Samadhi in the yogic practice is nearest to those whose efforts are intense, strong and sincere.

PYS 1.22 Mrdu-Madhyādhimātratvāt Tato’Pi Viśeshah

The experience of the success of the full fruition of Samadhi will vary depending on the kind of effort one exerts: mild, medium or intensely powerful.

In last week’s class a question came up where the student asked: What does intense mean in the context of Yoga? She said that she does her asana practice with intensity. She mentioned that she is intense about being a mother and a wife. But it occurred to her to ask what does intense mean here in sutras 1.21 and 1.22.

Here is my response:

Manorama: Great question Nathalie ji. This can be easily misunderstood and the fact that you are asking about it will not only serve you, but others as well. The question is really more what is intensity of effort in the context of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and within one’s yoga practice.

Intense effort in life can mean a variety of things. For example, it can mean focused and directed or it can at times also mean over focused. When one is over focused, this can signify anxiety underneath the actions. Her actions can appear firey, pressure filled, and reveal that the person feels lot is at stake. Here is an example of the usage of intensity of effort in the context of fear, a mother may want the best for her children and in her great and good desire to make sure her children have the very best, she may put impossible standards on herself, and on her efforts as a mother, to always be there, to never rest, to stay 100% focused on her children. She may expect her husband to provide beyond his capacity and eventually her desire for the very best could be felt not as the best by her kids, but as pressure. Making the very best in their eyes less than the best. In this case, the relationship with the desire for ‘the best’ linked up with pressure where the underlying emotion is fear. If this is the case there will be an intensity to the mother’s actions, but that intensity may not be in everyone’s favor, including her, as it will show up as a kind of fervency that has underneath it fear.

Patanjali lets the reader of his sutras know that the enlightened state of Samadhi, is reached depending on the degree of one’s desire, sincerity and effort. *see above sutras.

Desire in Yoga – In yogic practice, students are often taught that desires are something to be let go of. “Go beyond your desire,” you will often read or hear. But in actual yogic practice there will be a long period of time where the focus must be on connecting with the healthy desires that lead to your happiness, as well as, the goodness of all. For example, the desire to learn Yoga is itself a healthy desire. The desire to feel what you are beyond your body and mind is also healthy. In this way, students must learn how to activate healthy desires because healthy desires lead to a happier life. When life is more easeful and stable one can more easily attend to the deeper questions of life.

Sincerity in Yoga – Sincerity is critical in your spiritual effort-ing, as it reveals your honest intention and your pure genuine thirst for contact with your soul.

Effort in Yoga – Desire in your yogic practice is so important because without your desire to understand your true Self, you will not be able to muster the needed effort to realize that. I often talk about the difference between wanting something and wanting to want something. When you want something, you align your energy and your effort and you realize what you want. When you wish that you wanted something, the aim will always elude you, as your effort has nothing to anchor it and propel it forward.

Intensity in effort – Intensity in effort within the yogic context is a merging of three things your genuine desire to know your Luminous Self, your sincerity and the intensity of your effort.

As the desire to know the light of the higher Self, rises in you, your sincerity will follow and when your effort is intensely poweful, it will be full of focus, it will have strength and power and energy up underneath it. When these elements come together your realization of Samadhi within is assured.

Thanks for your question. Keep practicing.
And always be blessed.


©2017 Sanskrit Studies/Luminous Soul & Manorama
Blog Photo Credit Harald Hofer

Want to ask Manorama a question? Send your question to Sanskrit@sanskritstudies.org –
Write ‘Question’ in the subject line.  She might write about your question.