heyaṁ duḥkham-anāgatam

Future Suffering is to be avoided

Every third Friday of the month we have our traditional Sanskrit Counted led Full Primary (instead of the Morning Mysore class), followed by a 45-60 min yoga philosophy talk.  The counted class is an excellent opportunity to review the vinyasa count, practicing at a rhythm without any added distractions while also experiencing yourself being part of the breathing moving mala created in our school.  The yoga philosophy talk thereafter stimulates much though about the underlying philosophy behind our practice, inspiring your practice.

Hereby sharing some of what we talked about during last Friday’s talk.
Please keep in mind that I am merely a student of yoga philosophy myself and by no means an expert.

Future suffering is to be avoided.

heyaṁ duḥkham-anāgatam – Yoga Sutra Chapter 2.16

anāgatam – yet to come, in the future
​duḥkham – pain, suffering
heyaṁ – to be ended, to be avoided
This sutra states that we can prevent future suffering, that future suffering is end-able. Huzzzah!  How is that possible?

One take is to live and behave (in our thoughts, words and actions) with integrity. Here an exploration of the first two limbs of ashtanga, the yamas and niyamas – how we relate to ourselves and others – could be inserted (may be another time!). Integrity in our thoughts, actions and word – Huh! That needs a lot of awareness and tending to our intentions for our words, actions… There is also an aspect then of us understanding that we are responsible and accountable for our actions and behavior, that we understand our actions (inward and outward) elicit a reaction.  With awareness to what causes a ‘duhkha spinning wheel’ we can learn to understand the underlying seed of that spin. That enables us to change the spin, to  try to lay down seeds that allow the wheel to spin towards more beneficial outcomes for ourselves and the world around us.

Turns out our yoga practice is an excellent playground for understanding ourselves and our spins; in our practice we encounter our short circuiting, our automated responses, judgements, self-talk, ways of attaching to *something, or ways of not showing up for what we want.  Huh! Difficult! Why did I ever sign up for this! Indeed, it’s not a fun practice per se, and all the time. Yet, knowing yourself, getting to come to know your patterns is very rewarding; it allows for new perspectives, new choices, it allows you to see better what is there and what is a projection or a story of how things have been or “should” be.

Get out of your box by first understanding the nature of the box you put yourself into.
(Ahem, which Box?!?! Ahem!) 🙂

Our yoga practice allows us a visceral / embodied understanding of how all is interconnected (e.g. how ‘this’ thought leads to ‘that’ outcome, etc…). Our bodies thus become our very own tools to understand the world within and around us, through direct experience. Those experiences, those moments of understanding, are spontaneously arising, and probably not occurring during each practice (so sorry for the news!). Yet, a regular, towards daily, practice brings about a soil for such momentary experiences to sprout and flower.  Those moments in practice are immensely precious, they allow you to see *something* about yourself you previously could not grasp, even if you can’t put it into words (may be not so bad – language itself can be limiting and restricting), your body sees and understands in its own ways and at its own pace, from here there is option to break the chain of pattern behavior you got accustomed to.  

Through regular observation in practice we get to know the language of our thoughts, emotions and sensations, and also come to understand we have been misidentifying with our thoughts, emotion and sensations (all parts of the material world, or nature, referred to as prakrti) and learn to be with our thoughts, emotions and sensations, observe them but not identify and attach to them.  

Conceptually this yoga sutra could also entail that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. Implying that we always have a choice for how to respond to pain that presents, again understanding that all is interconnected, and understanding that our current present (and the actions of our current present) shapes our future past….

For a few impressions from our led class, have a peek here. 

“Fun” fact: I lost and rewrote this post about 2-3 times as it always disappeared before publishing (very annoying).  Next time I will write it on a word file first and then copy it in here, instead of rewriting all from scratch.  Future suffering is to be avoided…. 

Nice intro titel

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