On my return to Buenos Aires, I also taught a Raja Yoga class—the study of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali— to the teacher training group there. The Sutras methodically present the science of Yoga and how its practice transforms the human experience from one of suffering to one of joy.
On this occasion, we focused on the first sutra of the second chapter that describes what Patanjali calls Kriya Yoga. Kriya Yoga offers three practices that form a fundamental approach to life and aid a sincere student in making use of all of life’s experiences to learn and grow.
The first element is the acceptance of difficult and painful experiences, including the healthy forms of self-discipline we undertake to train our minds. By willingly accepting these situations, our limitations are exposed and we can begin to see where our expectations and desires have given birth to unnecessary suffering.
This examination of painful experiences is made possible by the second element of Kriya Yoga—the study of scripture. This implies that we use sources of trusted wisdom to study our lives and understand the roots of our misery. The third aspect of this practice is surrender to the Divine. This is similar to the teaching of the Gita that requires a willingness to give up selfish thinking and serve God by serving our fellow beings.
I never tire of reviewing these sublime teachings. I feel they are gradually replacing the old ways of thinking in my subconscious mind and allowing me to free myself from unhealthy relationships with both people and goals. When I can remember to keep my heart centered in these spiritual values, I feel at peace and can enjoy my service without depending on rewards. That’s what Yoga is meant to do – teach us how to be happy.