Yoga Sutra Cafe

yoga from the heart for wellbeing

Yoga Sutra Cafe is a program I created for presenting & studying Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra, something I have studied for quite some time.

Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra is the main text of Yoga Darśana, written in Sanskrit language. It’s a short text, just 195 sūtra-s divided into 4 chapters.

My intention with this Yoga Sutra Cafe program is to share the wonderful timeless wisdom of yoga, straight from the source text, to those who have an inkling that yoga is more than āsana. To me, Yoga Sūtra is like a treasure map, when we stay with it, study it, practice it, it will lead us to discovering treasures – in the form of insights & timeless wisdom.

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My Yoga Sūtra journey

Nowadays Yoga is mainly known just by āsana, or the poses, postures, movements. But there is so much more in yoga than just the physical! When I first came into yoga in 2005, I only knew yoga as a physical activity that made me feel good. As I practiced more, I started to experienced the benefits, more than just on the physical level. I became a better human being. I realized then there is so much more in yoga, and continued on to study the less known and subtler aspects of yoga.

My first introduction to the Yoga Sūtra was through the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga (by the late Patthabi Jois). I looked up what is ‘ashtanga’ and found out that this term is referring to the “8 limbs of yoga” – yama, niyama, āsana, prāṇāyāma, pratyāhāra, dhāraṇā, dhyāna, samādhi. So I read about them, and I became confused. I did not see the connection between what I practice in class with these “8 limbs”. But I found out that this “8 limbs of yoga” is a sentence from from a text called the Yoga Sūtra. So… thank you Mr. Patthabi Jois for that!

Then I tried to read it…. and failed spectacularly. Couldn’t get through the first few sūtra-s. But I had a hunch, that it contain the deep wisdom of yoga. So I kept trying.

Some of my Yoga Sūtra books

My first Yoga Teacher Training was with the Satyananda Yoga Australia (part of Bihar School of Yoga), in 2012. And Yoga Sūtra was part of the study, along with Bhagavad Gita and Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā. I began to have glimpses of understanding of the sūtra-s… but many things were still beyond me.

My first breakthrough of understanding was when I read Matthew Remski’s rendition of Yoga Sūtra, called “Threads of Yoga”. It’s quite a liberal interpretation/adaptation, yet the way he presented the sūtra-s enabled me to see the links between them. With this new insight, I was able to understand more.

In 2017 I met my teacher Kausthub Desikachar, who presented the concept of using Yoga for healing using the sutra I.31 “duḥkha-daurmanasya-aìgamejayatva-śvāsa-praśvāsāḥ-vikṣepa-saha-bhuvaḥ“. This sutra became one of my favorite sutra! (Here’s a blog post about this sūtra, in Bahasa Indonesia). I continued on studying with Kausthub, taking part in 2-year Viniyoga Teacher Training in Chennai, India. One of the subject is the Yoga Sūtra in-depth, word by word, and learning to chant them as well.

At the Krishnamacharya Healing & Yoga Foundation, Chennai, India. Sometime in 2019.

After finishing the training, I did not stop studying Yoga Sūtra. I continue to study with Kausthub, and also with different teachers, among them are Sarah Ryan & Robert Birnberg. I’m also studying a little bit of Sanskrit language to improve my understanding. And the more I study, the more I feel the need to share this to Indonesian yoga practitioners.

During the Covid-19 Pandemi period, I stay at home more, and shifting my yoga teaching online. And as I become more and more familiar with teaching online and the supporting technology, Yoga Sutra Cafe became a reality, in August 2020.

Comments from participants

Yudhi Widdyantoro, Founder Komunitas Yoga Gembira

Program seperti Yoga Sutra Café ini perlu untuk mengingatkan kembali para praktisi yoga kepada referensi utama berlatih yoga.

Dyah Pitaloka, Yoga Teacher

Program Yoga Sutra Cafe berguna untuk memahami Yoga Sutra. Karena dijabarkan dengan penjelasan dan bahasa yang mudah dicerna, sehingga peserta cepat mengerti. Dari training ini saya menjadi tahu bahwa Yoga Sutra itu semacam falsafah dalam menjalani kehidupan, dan mengerti manfaatnya terhadap menjalani kehidupan keseharian.

Setelah bisa lebih memahami isi dan pesan dari yoga sutra, kita bisa membagikan pesan-pesan tersebut kepada murid-murid peserta kelas yoga kita. Jadi selain mengajarkan asana, juga berbagi filosofi hidup (ilmu) Yoga.

Pesan-pesan dari yoga sutra bagus untuk jadi panduan kita menyikapi hidup dan kehidupan. Karena tambah wawasan dari yoga sutra, kita jadi lebih legowo dalam menghadapi kehidupan. Dan memantik keinginan untuk menjadi orang yang lebih baik. Karena sepertinya kalau ikut panduan yoga sutra ini, kita jadi lebih damai dan tahu apa yang harus dilakukan/bersikap dalam menghadapi naik turunnya kehidupan.

Arida Wahyuni, Mindfulness Coach

The Yoga Sutra book contains a very condensed and rich knowledge of the ancient wisdom that guides us to become fully awakened human beings. This book is very difficult to understand if we try to read it ourselves, so Silvia was able to clarify the content, structure and simplify it and make it easier for us to understand it.

For me, as a mindfulness teacher, understanding the Yoga Sutra, has helped me grasp the mechanism of the mind and the ego, so that we can stay true to our divine-self. Now I can see that the mindfulness practices allow us to notice ego-based conditioned thoughts and feelings objectively, and start to disentangle from them, thus enabling us to wake up to who we really are and live to our full potential. I would recommend this course to those who wants to wake up and live fully, and those who want to help other people come out of suffering and live more happily.

Chandra Kuntjoro-Jakti, Yoga Teacher

Saya mengawali yoga journey saya dari yoga asana sekitar tahun 2005. Sejak saat itu saya ikut bermacam-macam course, membaca berbagai jenis buku yoga dan beberapa kali ikut Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). Tentunya Yoga Sutra of Patanjali disebutkan sebagai salah satu buku wajib tapi untuk dibaca sendiri, karena yang diterangkan di YTT biasanya hanya beberapa sutra saja. Saya coba membaca beberapa kali, tapi selalu mentok karena bingung dan overwhelmed. Jadi ketika Silvia membuka program Yoga Sutra Cafe saya langsung mendaftar. Dengan Silvia, sutra-sutra yang tadinya hanya saya hafal, akhirnya bisa saya mengerti arti dan maknanya. Apalagi setiap course hanya seminggu sekali dalam waktu satu bulan; jadi saya punya waktu cukup untuk mencernanya.

Banyak sekali “Aha Moments” yang saya dapatkan dari Yoga Sutra Cafe ini karena Yoga Sutra of Patanjali masih sangat relevan untuk diterapkan ke dalam kehidupan sehari-hari. Program ini juga sangat membantu saya dalam membuat program kelas yoga saya karena saya jadi diingatkan kembali apa tujuan saya mengajar yoga dan apa yang saya mau sampaikan ke murid-murid saya lewat yoga.

Olivia Sutantyo, Yoga Teacher

Saya senang sekali ikut kelas Yoga Sūtra yang dibawakan oleh Silvia, karena meskipun Yoga Sutra itu berat, tapi cara Silvia memberikan trainingnya, memberikan pengertiannya itu sangat terstruktur, sehingga mudah dipahami. Kemudian diberikan juga contoh-contoh yang real dan konkrit.

Menurut saya perlu ada training lanjutan mengenai how to implement in in our daily life, dan juga menurut saya sangat bagus juga untuk belajar chanting. Karena dengan belajar chanting membuat kita jadi embodied dengan sutra tersebut sehingga kita bisa implementasikan sutra dalam diri kita. Karena kalau cuma tau doang tapi tidak diimplementasikan kan percuma. Dan menurut saya, kayak training Yoga Sutra ini bagus juga untuk dilakukan rutin, supaya kita bisa di refresh terus. Jadi kalau menurut saya selama ini meskipun membaca buku yoga sutra, dari beberapa buku pun kurang. Setelah diajarin Silvia, sangat-sangat membantu untuk kita memahami, mengerti, dan mencernanya. Thank you.

Yohana Lita, Yoga Teacher in Progress, Spiritual Seeker

“The best things happen unexpectedly”.
This quote is best to describe my encounter with Yoga Sutra. I first learned about Yoga Sutra during my Teacher Training Course 200 hours with Harmony Yoga School, and it mesmerized me from the very beginning. I never thought that it would be a life-changing experience. Not only that it allows me to know yoga in a much deeper state, it also opens the gate to my inner soul. Something I haven’t even think about. Silvia explained the sutras in a subtle way, it was on point. She got me hooked on Yoga Sutra right that moment.

Sutra 1.2 yogaś-citta-vr̥tti-nirodhaḥ has become the constant reminder of the importance of self-acceptance and self-love. It reminds me to take a break and sit in silence. Just be with myself, looking inward and not be distracted by what’s happening around me.
Can’t wait for the next part of Yoga Sutra Café.