Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summary of the Yoga Sutras

I wrote the following summary for an assignment related to my yoga immersion.


Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras outline the expectations of a yogi in relation to body, mind and spirit. The content then, by its nature, is weighted heavily in the mind of an aspiring yogi. My limited understanding is presented in the following synopsis.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Book 1

This chapter defines yoga and its purpose; a journey to transform the way we see ourselves and the world. A life engaged in faith, courage, contemplation, wisdom and remembrance is almost universally accepted as positive but the sutras do more than list attributes of a yogi. The Sutras provide methods and suggest awareness as a practice of thought to become more aware of our true nature and establish greater devotion to God. Respectful dispassion and master over desires of the mind are necessary for progression along this path.

The qualities of God are listed as, 1) a distinct form of consciousness untouched by suffering, actions, the results of actions, or subliminal desires, 2) limitless omniscience, 3) being unsubjected to time, and 4) being the teacher of even the earliest teachers (or in other words, the teacher within). The sacred syllable (Om) is used to represent respect and consideration for the divine qualities present and inspire one to look inward and find the true self. Naturally there are obstacles to this progression and the sutras suggest how to overcome those through recognizing them and stilling the mind to overcome distraction.

Tranquility and peace can come through controlling the mind, mediation and peace from our dealings with others. The sutras outline that our dealings with others should include a loving heart, compassion, goodwill and acceptance. Tranquility can also come from unattachment or indifference towards vice. I think this has been one of the most poignant topics for me during my first time through the sutras. Accepting things we cannot change is a common thread through self-help books but the idea of unattachment towards expectations and outcomes expanded upon the idea and has been applicable for me at this point in life.

Through this practice our mind can become pure and fully engaged in allowing our identity to shine through and become a main object of focus.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Book 2

The second chapter of the Yoga Sutras introduces the methods of yoga that reduce suffering and allow the mind to move from a state of distraction to one of attention.

The basic ritual actions (kriyas) of yoga are self study according to scriptures, disciplined ascetic practice, and surrender to a higher force. These methods increase clarity and reduce suffering.

Afflictions act in a cause and affect relationship to demonstrate the nature of existence. Patanjali defines five afflictions (kleshas) that cause suffering. The first ignorance allow for the other four: ego, clinging to life, desire and aversion. Meditation is suggested to reduce the affects of the kleshas and provide greater enlightment.

The remainder of the chapter discussed the five of the eight limbs (ashtanga) and how they can lead to a more complete life. The five limbs covered are the yamas, niyamas, asana, pranayama and pratyhara. These limbs are very intricate and I don’t fully understand them all.

Asana helps us to create appropriate posture and replaces negative habits related to posture and breathing. Pranayama is the component of breath and through is we can drawn energy in and direct it through our body.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Book 3

The third chapter of the Yoga Sutras is primarily about practicing samyama, the “perfect discipline” in which the yogi directs the mind into dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (complete union) with a single object of focus. These are the final three limbs of Ashtanga (8-limbed) yoga, and they concentrate the energy of consciousness.

Samyama practice causes mental fluctuations and distractions to diminish, allowing subliminal imprints of tranquility to develop further light and knowledge. The broad applications of samyama can improve life and awareness at all states, stages and planes. The concentrated practice allows the yogi to transcend conventional constraints and acquire deep knowledge in the areas of focus that lead to freedom. As the yogi acquires knowledge inhibitory feelings such as attachment, price egotism and new cravings can impede further progression. The yogi must maintain samyama to reduce distraction and maximize benefits of life.

The yogi must become so well aquainted with his ming that he can distinguish from perceptions, ming and reality. Discrimination becomes key and a perception tool to benefit concentration and samyama.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Book 4

The path for a yogi seems endless, chapter 4 describes the goal of serene liberation unaffected by worldly turmoil. Our tendency is to feel separateness and even seek to find differences from ourselves and those we share the world with, negative energy arise from these feelings and cause violent thoughts to emerge.

When we understand ourselves, and the nature of negative thoughts we can remove these obstacles and cleanse our mind of them through meditation and the other 8 limbs of yoga so that our mind and attitude remains pure.

The sutras discuss the three gunas: rajas, tamas and sattva. These relate to the 3 A’s in Anusara yoga and stand to show that as perception changes and the mind is influenced by the gunas the spirit remains the same. Our goal should be, then, to develop the unchanging spirit; communicate with it to learn truth and never rely on perception. The mind is a tool to organize the spirit and can lead us to greater enlightenment. Distinguishing between the mind and spirit is a difficult task that requires practice, this is the practice of yoga. The yogi must humble himself and seek for the pulse of his own heart and follow with actions that are pure. This pattern will lead to supreme knowledge. Therefore, it is within our own practice that the ability to attain divinity exists.

seek to be happy, sweet friends.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Schools out

for the week. I look forward to a weekend of yoga and beauty. I have (very obviously) been thinking of nature and gardening. I found these plants that are native to Utah- maybe you'll see them pop up here more often...maybe?

This is Price Aster- I think it's a great plant. It had great reviews, and I think it would do really well to fill some of my spots.

This is the Sego Lily, Utah's state flower... it's pretty but I'm not quite sure what the foliage looks like. I couldn't find good pictures.

This is the Desert Purple Sage... I like it. It think this could fill corners or odd spots really nicely.

This is the mountain Hollyhock. I don't like the foliage, and it looks horrible when it dies, but it get's so big and pretty it's hard not to fall in love!

This is Pineapple Sage. I've heard it's great to cook with, and the flowers are beautiful. I also so countless comments about the sweet fragrance, even when not in bloom. I think I'll need a couple of these.
Savory...a vine? Not sure. Herb and hearty- I like that.

Rosa Rugosa, beautiful native rose bush... prettier than cousin ->

Rosa Glauca, native flowering bush in the rose family. Grows...large. Flowers all summer.

This one is called Penstemon Utahensis. The red flowers are cute, but it's not very leafy. I could be happy about this- under the right circumstances.

Witch Hazel! It's a shrub that can grow to look a lot like a tree. I think it would be a good backdrop maybe in the back corner?

Gaura Blaze- this is nice. I think it is also a great filler.

Fens Ruby, also a nice shrub- and relatively small, filler perhaps?

This one is the Purple Beautyberry, and I think it would be a lovely shrub to go in my beds. I've actually seen these a lot.

This one is Joe Pie Weed, and I've heard it's just that...a weed. I could use a few weeds that look like this though- it's so big and pretty.

I'm on a gardening obsession these days. Balance: renting vs. creating paradise = struggle!

Enjoy sweet friends~

not ready to play nice

school has made be cranky; these make me love~

Be happy dear friends, and for goodness sakes be sun-kissed...it's summer.

~ I'll be in the student work room, writing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

It's one of those weeks....

My stomach hurts, but these make my eyes feel good.

Be happy, L.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Living in Heaven

it's all white!

I have dreams about someday owning a farm house, or a cottage near the beach... found this today. Just says sleep late and read a good book all over it!

Something more rustic? Here you are. I would love to have a sweet little farmhouse near Round Top of Canton Texas... I found this one currently listed- wouldn't it be perfect?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pizza Pasta

My cute friend Courtney is looking for some easy new dinner recipes, and let's face it, who isn't? So I told her I'd post a couple easy delicious ones. This one is something I've made when friends come over because it's SO easy and a picky eater pleaser (um, Courtney). This is great to make when you have absolutely NO IDEA what to make.

8 ounces rotini pasta
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 (28 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1 small onion, chopped
8 oz mushrooms
2 T butter
1 packet of spaghetti sause (powder)
4 ounces sliced pepperoni sausage
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
12 pepperoni saucers (optional)

Brown hamburger meat using Italian seasoning and garlic. Add spaghetti sauce and power packet. In separate pan saute onions and mushroom using butter and set on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain before adding to sauce. Season spaghetti sauce as you'd like but make sure it's delicious before adding combining in casserole. Begin boiling pasta, add a teaspoon of olive oil and a dash of salt. Cube pepperoni sausage and microwave for 15 seconds on a paper towel to get rid of excess grease. Combine sauce, noodles and pepperoni into a 9x13 inch casserole pan, top with pepperoni saucers and cheese then cook at 350 for 30 minutes.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

German Chocolate Oreo

I was looking for some fun recipes for Memorial Day the other day and found this fantastic recipe for German Chocolate Oreos...In a word, fab.

For this recipe you use half a bar of cream cheese and only part of the container of coconut pecan frosting, if you want to use the whole block of cream cheese you have to use two boxes of cake mix...freakin' enjoy these suckers.

(small batch-- makes about a dozen full Oreos)
For the cookies:
1 German Chocolate Cake mix
1/2 c. butter (or margarine) softened, NOT melted
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

For the frosting:
1/2 cube (or stick) butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese
1-2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp milk
1 container coconut topping (the kind in the plastic container by all the frostings)

Mix "cookie" ingredients together into cookie batter texture, roll into balls as big as desired (walnut size). Bake at 350 degrees for about 8-9 minutes. Do not over-cook (they may seem underdone but they aren't, you want them to be soft and chewy). Leave cookies on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes after removing from oven. Allow to cool completely before adding frosting.

For the frosting: Mix butter and cream cheese with an electric beater until smooth. Add powdered sugar a little at a time, then add vanilla and milk. Keep adding powdered sugar to reach desired consistency. Mix equal part cream cheese frosting and coconut topping (you can do this any way you want- it doesn't have to be EXACTLY equal.. add more of the topping you like best). Assemble cookies by spreading with coconut/frosting mixture in the middle of 2 of the German Chocolate cookies. Serve with milk.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

aaaand a Desk!

I'm telling you, this great room thing is tough! It's just so big- it takes a lot of work to make it all come together. Part of that process means a kitchen desk. You can see in this picture below, that over to the left there is a half a barstool sitting in a nook, that nook is fit for a kitchen desk or a dining hutch.

I decided I would rather put a desk there, because we would use it and I don't really see the utility in putting a hutch in a casual dining area. The desk would reduce my school clutter that ends up all over the couch- so we decided on a desk...but what desk?

Again, I turn to the "Greats," Brooke and Holly both have raved about Tritter Feefer. Actually Brooke bought the desk below for her own living/work space. It's the Natalie Desk

Doug things it's too plain, but that's what I love about it. I love that it's so simple and elegant. It is much more simple than my table, and I think it juxtaposes well with the industrial elements I'm adding in.

I also found this other table that is a little more involved from Nior. This is really great, too. I think I'm just going to use a dining chair for whatever I decide. Perhaps one of the end chairs that is slipped?

All of the above are a little pricey, so I started looking for some more affordable options. This one is from the Martha Stewart Home Collection, the Ingrid.

hmph...this one might be a little more difficult:)

Sofa Table....

Since we moved to the new house we have slowly been putting things together. I am currently putting the final finish on the dining table I re-did. I recovered the chairs in linen and am putting linen slip covers on the two end chairs for the table. I also got these barstools:These stools were a steal! I found them on overstock for $50/ea.

Much more wallet friendly than the dream stools I found at restoration hardware for $300/ea.

I have found some great silver pitchers and trophies here and there that I have incorporated around the house- inspired by Giannette et al., I wanted to add a little industrial-ness to the table I finished. Remember this?

Right, so the barstools are just behind this picture, and the sofa table will be just behind the brown couch.

I love the bar stools. they work perfectly. Recently, I was looking for a table to go behind our sofa. I found this:
I absolutely love this console- it everything. Soft wood, industrial chic...it's wonderful. Sadly, it's only 20 inches tall- really just for a TV...it's really long (72inches), but just not the right size for a sofa table.

It did give me the inspiration to find all of these:

I didn't realize it until after I posted this post, but these are all pretty similar to the Dutch Industrial Console table from Restoration Hardware...except smaller. This table is really big, almost 70 inches wide!

I am so excited about how everything is coming together. The great room concept in a home is pretty intimidating because it's such a large space that has to ebb and flow. It's so much stuff! It also makes things so much more exciting when they start coming together! I still have a ways to go, but I'm really happy with the direction we're headed! Which table to you like?


I put my good husband to work, trying to find the perfect piece. He found a fabulous website called Wisteria...and I don't know why I haven't found it before! This is what he came up with:

This table is actually on clearance, still pricey-
But look at it in this room, doesn't it look great?

This one is a little more towards the industrial side, which is where I was originally headed.
Once again, I love this table in the room. It looks great with the softness created by all the white. This piece is really large- it makes a statement.

This next table was interesting, and seemed even a bit odd at first- it's pretty large (90" wide).I actually really like it in the room! Since our couch is so dark, it might be better to go with something light as oppose to a darker industrial table. It might be better to brighten things up, what do you think?

This next table is great, and it's also on clearance. I was considering this one even for the desk, it's the perfect size, but maybe the detail comes down too low to fit your legs under?
I'm going to make a follow-up post about all the other wonderful things I've found at Wisteria... There is a wonderful Swedish Repro headboard that I now covet; get excited.