Ashtanga Quotes,  Teaching Ashtanga,  Uncategorized,  Yoga Philosophy,  Yoga Sutras

You are the light in between the cracks

“I know better. Why do I keep doing this?”

“I know the right thing to do. Why can’t I do it?”

“I get it, theoretically, but I can’t stop.”

I have beat myself up so many times with the above statements. Have you?

I am working to change this pattern.

I realize now that this is a good place.

Awareness, no matter how fleeting, is a gift. It is one more opportunity to start fresh. One more opportunity to renew. One more opportunity to be my best me.

The yogis knew that there was light in between the darkness of suffering.  If we could just cessate or suspend our thoughts long enough, we could see a path away from suffering.  They codified the process of yoga to help us with it.  Yoga Sutras 1: 1-4 say,

Now the exposition on yoga is made.

The restraint of painful thoughts that modify our field of bliss, is yoga.

After these thoughts are restrained, we can see beyond suffering to our true happy nature.

When we don’t do this, we get lost in the painful thoughts.

It goes on to give a detailed description of the categories of thoughts that cause us to suffer.  In Yoga Sutra 1:12, it tells us the solution is practice and non attachment. Those times, when the light shines through the cracks, is when we are conscious enough to do practice and non attachment.  We should not beat ourselves up because this is when yoga starts. We are the ones that the Sutras are speaking to.  We are the light in between the cracks.  The yoga practice makes those cracks bigger so that you can shine even brighter. Now is the time for yoga.


A vital aspect of internal purification that Pattabhi Jois teaches relates to the six poisons that surround the spiritual heart. In the yoga shastra it is said that God dwells in our heart in the form of light, but this light is covered by six poisons: kama, krodha, moha, lobha, matsarya, and mada. These are desire, anger, delusion, greed, envy and sloth. When yoga practice is sustained with great diligence and dedication over a long period of time, the heat generated from it burns away these poisons, and the light of our inner nature shines



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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