This page contains information and reading assignments for this session on the Internal Organ Systems and how to incorporate them into our teaching and practice.

This Module focuses on the qualities of a teacher that can ignite and inspire others. Creativity comes from a solid foundation of good knowledge in your subject, technical expertise and a willingness to look at things with a new lens.

In the words of the learned teacher Confucius:  “Preserve the old, know the new.”

Pre-homework – Please review before meeting for Module II

1. ANATOMY: Organs & Body Systems

Review these links and make yourself familiar with the information. Many of these include quizzes, so be sure to take advantage of those by testing your knowledge.

PHILOSOPHY: Intention & Discernment

Yoga Sutras – Review 3 translations of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

We will concentrate on Sadhana Pada II. Concentrate on Sutras II.26- II.39. Think critically about what you read and experiment with these ideas in your Asana practice and life.

Sankalpa: All creation begin with sankalpa. In pure consciousness (para) there is stirring of sankalpa (pashyanti) evolving into thought (madhyama) and speech (vaikhari) leading to action.

Upanishads say “You are your deepest desire” (sankalpa).
As is desire so is intention. As is intention so is will. As is will so is deed. As is deed so is your destiny.

Kriya Yoga: Sadhana is the Sanskrit word for “practice” or “discipline”. It outlines two forms of Yoga: Kriya Yoga (Action Yoga) and Ashtanga Yoga (Eightfold or Eightlimbed Yoga).

Kriya yoga, also called Karma Yoga, is discussed in Chapter 3 of the Bhagavad Gita, where Arjuna is encouraged by Krishna to act without attachment to the results or fruit of action and activity. It is the yoga of selfless action and service. Ashtanga Yoga describes the eight limbs that together constitute Raja Yoga.

Kriya Yoga involves purification, study and surrender, and the chapter categorises five ‘Kleshas’ or obstacles which may hinder progress. These are ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion and fear of death. Purusha and Prakriti and the nature of pain/suffering (dukkha) are explained, along with the role of Karma and the importance of discrimination or Viveka.

Yoga Sutras & Viveka: Here’s an overview of Vivkea in Patanjali’s Sutras, and another here

The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali tell us that anyone can reach their full potential with dedicated practice, and it lays out a methodical sequencing of skills to achieve this. These are the eight limbs of yoga.

Sadhana means practice and this chapter deals with the practical tools we use to refine awareness. The Sutras tell us that discriminating awareness, Viveka, will destroy ignorance, the source of pain (II.26).

Pranamaya Kosha – Prana means energy. It is the vital force that produces subtle vibrations related to breath, the driving force behind the physical senses and operation of the physical body.

Patanjali Yoga Sutra PADA II – The Yamas are presented to us not as virtues, but as effective means to achieve certain results. We commonly consider non-violence, truthfulness, etc. as virtues. What changes when we view these with a pragmatic view?


A yogi is one who is established in Ahimsa, non-harming. Harm is defined as damage or injury. Our world is one of constant cycles and change, so things must die for others to be born. As in Nature with a forest, so with families and generations.

Think on these thoughts as we prepare to discuss the concepts when we meet for this Module. Be prepared to refer to your reading on Yoga Sutras, Pada II

Questions for Reflection: Ahimsa

  • How can we live a life of non-harming?
  • What does that mean?

In your Asana practice, do you ever move toward harmful action? Is there a struggle between the egoistic self and the discerning one?
Practice with meticulous care to avoid what may be harmful.

  • How does this change your experience?
  • How does it change your yoga teaching?

The Sutras tell us that as we become established in Ahimsa, we won’t meet with resistance or hostility.

  • As you experiment with these actions, what happens for you?

Questions for Reflection: Viveka

There is an importance of discomfort for learning. As you practice, consider how discomfort shows up in your experience. In Sutra II.26, Patanjali describes Viveka as “clear, distinct, unimpaired discriminative knowledge” – viveka khyatih aviplava hana upayah.

Does your teaching and yoga practice help you develop Viveka?
How do you experience Viveka as a teacher?
And as a student?
Personal Practice:
  • Choose a simple exercise to remind yourself of Viveka
  • Notice what happens when you don’t
  • Use this idea as a life tool, to share your personal experience on or off the mat