The Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are widely regarded as the authoritative text on yoga. These “threads” (translates from Sanskrit for sutra) of wisdom offer guidelines for living a meaningful and peaceful life.  

Recently Sutra 2.16 has been on my mind:

“Pain that has not yet come is avoidable” (in Sanskrit “Heyam Duhkham Anagatam”).  

By practicing yoga with meditation, postures, breathing exercises, we are practicing a form of preventive medicine for our minds. 

I had already been addicted to yoga by the time I discovered this sutra, but if I had not discovered yoga, this sutra would have drawn me to it.  I had this realization that I actually had control over my thoughts, and in this busy world we live in, anything we can do to help calm the mind and prevent future stress, pain, anxiety is worth looking at. 

Since most chronic illnesses are due to stress, we know that our bodies can hold onto stress and anxiety. According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress can result in serious health conditions including anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system. By practicing yoga postures or asanas, we can help release these from our bodies. 

When negative thoughts come in, I am now able to use my yoga practices to remember that these do not control me. Usually this involves just bringing my awareness to my breath and allowing my mind to quiet. Then with this awareness asking myself, “Why I am having these thoughts?” With this reflection, I can usually diffuse the thoughts. 

A yoga practice can just simply be bringing your awareness to your breath for a few minutes a day. This is a great way to start to quiet the mind and reflect on your thoughts.

Dr. Melanie MacLaren is a naturopathic doctor and registered yoga teacher who is passionate about natural health and the individualized needs of each of her clients.

Call (317) 344-9840 or request an appointment.