In his book the tree of yoga BKS Iyengar makes the following statements
‘There are three transformations which take place in meditation. At the very beginning of his Yoga Sutras, Patanjali says that stillness of the mind is yoga. Later, he says that when a person is trying to still the mind, there is an opposition which occurs as new thoughts or new ideas arise in the mind. There is a tug-of-war between restraint and the rising thoughts as they come together. When there is restraint of thought, after a little while some new thoughts are born in the gap. How many of us have caught that gap between the restrained thought and the rising thought? The space between the restrained thought and the rising thought is a moment of passivity. In that moment there is a state of tranquillity, and a person who can increase that pause, that space between the restrained thought and the rising thought, is transformed towards the state of experience known as samadhi’.BKS Iyengar. Tree of Yoga, p45
We normally think of being calm as being in a state of tranquillity. This absence of tension is both attractive and a relief from the pressures of our daily existence. We desire this state and yet when we aim to rid ourselves of stress and the pressures that face us we fail to recognise that this state exists within us as much as it exists in the circumstances of our lives. We are inclined to focus on the external reasons for our stress and look to make changes in our routines and relationships in an attempt to lessen the stress and achieve some level of tranquillity.
When we practice Yoga we often experience calmness and tranquillity also and for many students this is the aim of their practice and the sum of why they attend classes. Yoga however is concerned with a much deeper level of change. If the thoughts and moods that we experience in our lives are seen as the movements on the surface of the ocean of our consciousness, then what lies beneath this surface? Can we change in a more substantial way than merely changing the surface conditions? To do so we must examine the deeper levels of our consciousness. Embedded in Yoga is the principle of transformation. Is it possible that change is not merely an act of getting away from ourselves and our cares or changing our moods.
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