Advanced Yoga Practices
Lesson 153 - Yoga Sutra Translations, and on Becoming "Super-Normal"
Date: Thu Apr 1, 2004 0:35pm
Q: Thank you again for your lessons!!! Two questions if I may. Could you possibly recommend a good translation of Pantajali’s Yoga Sutras? Lastly, in working with the sutras I found my chest feel as if it was expanding, as well as my head – It was quite extraordinary. Is this normal? You spoke of the different ways of the energy manifesting and I was just wondering if this too is one of those manifestations? With love and unity.
A: There are many translations of the Yoga Sutras out there.
If you are wondering where the eight limbs are described, it starts in Book 2-29.
Book 3 is on samyama and supernormal powers. By the way, the idea of becoming “super-normal” is pretty appealing, isn’t it? — As in very, very normal. Normal for human beings is enlightened. So why not become super-normal?
Yes, your expansion is (super) normal, a beautiful indication of your silence moving out from inside. This is samyama in action. Many different things can happen. There can be more expansion, inner sensory experiences, strong emotions, laughing, crying, physical vibrations, and new kinds of breathing. It is all about obstacles being dissolved as inner silence moves out through the nervous system as a result of our practices, now with samyama added. The nervous system knows what to do as pure bliss consciousness moves through it. If symptoms become excessive, just use self-pacing in your practices. If necessary, that can mean paring back on the number of repetitions in samyama for a while. Always take plenty of rest coming out of meditation and samyama. That is important to facilitate stable energy flows in daily activity.
All of these symptoms are normal releases and are signs of the emergence of inner divinity. It is okay to let them happen. If your body wants to move or shake, let it, but not to hazardous extreme. If breathing changes, let it, but not to hazardous extreme. If emotions come, let them, but not to hazardous extreme. If sexual arousal comes (and it can) let it, but not to hazardous extreme. It is all normal as divine energy bubbles out through the nervous system from the inside.
I am reminded of a passage in Swami Muktananda’s book, “Play of Consciousness,” where he described a certain stage in his journey when he’d go out of his house and roar like a tiger. Needless to say, the neighbors were a bit concerned. There’s no need to carry it that far.
At times along the path it might seem that there is not much happening with our inner energy. Maybe things are being loosened underneath without many symptoms, and later we will notice something. Or maybe we are waiting for inner silence to come up with more weeks and months of meditation. Or maybe we are not letting go with the subtle feeling of the sutra in samyama. Sometimes doing nothing is a bit tricky – just not favoring anything that comes up in the mind during that fifteen seconds in silence.
Successful yoga is not about experiences; it is about following the procedures of our practices. We are changed by practices, not by experiences. Experiences are the by-product of our practices and the resulting spiritual transformation that is going on.
Also remember that immediate responses coming up from sutras should also be let go during samyama. It is the ultimate karma yoga – divine doing while letting go of the fruit of the doing. It is built into the technique of samyama – doing and letting go of doing. So samyama is also cultivation of the outflowing of divine love which expects nothing in return. If we do our samyama that way, in time we will become radiating beacons of divine light floating in the air.
Then who will be able to deny what we human beings are? Who will not want to become super-normal?
The guru is in you.