Lynne's Blog


Lynne consults with an expert on her Cow Face Pose.

Book II. Sutra 41
“When the body is cleansed, the mind purified, and the senses controlled, joyful awareness needed to realize the inner self,  comes.”

From Light on Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by BKS Iyengar

Some of this blog is excerpted from one I wrote 10 years ago, June of 2008.  Revisiting it now has reinforced the significance of this sutra in my life.

For many years, I have thought of Sutra II. 41 as my life’s mission statement. The formula it outlines appealed to my need for some order in my practice. Since asana cleanses the body, pranayama calms the senses and emotions, and meditation purifies the mind, I was “on track” for self-realization. Then, one day, as though they were illuminated in golden light and accompanied by celestial music, the three words that had seemed like sutra filler, jumped off the page and into my heart JOYFUL AWARENESS NEEDED.

The sutra does not say, the suffering needed, or the strict discipline needed, not fear and submission or even worship and salutation. It says joyful awareness is needed to realize the inner Self.  BKS Iyengar, in his commentary on this sutra says, “When the consciousness is cheerful and benevolent, the seeker becomes ready to receive the knowledge and vision of the soul.”   A benevolent and cheerful mind sees and responds to others with compassion because it knows that anything less would keep it from the knowledge of who it really is.  How we see others is how we see ourselves.

A criticism, a worry, a judgment slams the door in the face of joy. But joy is loyal, patient and steadfast. It waits for faith, forgiveness and compassion to crack open the door. Then it humbly hands over the gift of realization that joyful awareness IS our connection to each other and to our Inner Selves.

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