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Yoga Sutra 1.4: Vritti sarupyam itaratra. You are Not Your Thoughts.

Yoga sutra 1.4 is: Vritti sarupyam itaratra. This sutra is a warning of what will happen when we are not regularly practicing yoga. When we’re not regularly returning to the present moment, to study our selves, we get lost in the patterns of our thoughts. We get sucked into the external world. Our thoughts, our emotions, our actions, our words… become our identity. This is the root of all suffering. When we aren’t practicing yoga, we can’t separate ourselves from our all this chaos. We become this chaos. This is why we must do yoga.

Every single yoga student and teacher I know has lost and found their practice more than once in their journey.

We go through highs, when we’re making time for our asana practice every day. In these periods we’re grounded, we can see things with clarity, and are living in a state of yoga. We can see our reactions for what they are - just reactions. We can see our thoughts for what they are - simply our thoughts. We don’t get connected with them. We don’t identify with them.

And then there are the lows. The periods when life gets in the way. When we skip a day of yoga, then two, then three. All of a sudden we’re caught up in the gossip at work, the office drama, and are sucked into the negativity. We’re tired. We become our negative thoughts. “I made a mistake” becomes “I am a mistake.”

The solution seems obvious, yet it’s hard to hear it. We have to show up. Even on the days we don’t want to. Especially on the days we don’t want to. Yoga sutra 1.4 is: Vritti sarupyam itaratra. When one is not in Self-realization, the Seer takes on the identity of the fluctuations of mind. The solution: we have to do yoga.

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