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Yoga Sutras For Modern Day Life: The Yoga Is Within You

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 1:36: Or by focusing on the supreme blissful light within.


The yoga happens within you-Sharath Jois


Defining the Sutra

Patanjali  continues to list ways to maintain calmness in the mind.  One of those ways is to focus on the place of peace within or the light of the heart. The light within the heart is the pure soul without a story or identity. It contains our purist potential and is the spark of the infinite energy contained within us all.


Modern Day Application

Yoga is easy and hard at the same time. Throughout the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali lists many simple ways to maintain inner peace. Focusing on the light within is one of these techniques. You don’t need a yoga mat, a heater, a humidifier or yoga clothes. You don’t  need anything from outside of you. You just need the willingness to search deep within for the light of the heart. Who is willing to do this?

peg and shanna

Why It is Important

Going to yoga and working out, getting a sweat on, perfecting  handstand,  or working towards Second Series is much more tangible then looking for the supreme blissful light within.  Finding the light underneath the negative messages from the world, the pain we have experienced, and the stories will tell ourselves, requires deep work. The deep work is the work that stays with you.

Yoga is a state in which we live. It is the ability to have a calm mind and view the world, not through the dirty lens of our own story, but for what it truly is. By focusing on the light within our own hearts, we can start to see the light or purity of the soul that lives within others. We can then see that human behavior is a reflection of the human experience and does not necessarily reflect the deepest Self. We stop taking our own actions and the actions of others personally because nothing can dim the light of the heart.  By focusing on our brilliance, we remain calm.

Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail