The weekend of the 26th I attended a lecture by Edwin Bryant as well as two asana classes by Joan White at Amrita Yoga and Wellness Center here in Philadelphia, PA. I've been practicing the Iyengar yoga method for about 2 years now with an introductory understanding about the philosophy behind the practice. On friday night, Edwin Bryant broke down the first several verses of the yoga sutras as put forth by Patanjali, further defining what the meaning and practice of yoga can be.
Yoga, as defined by Patanjali, is the stillness, cessation, surpression, blocking, and or quieting of the mind, or the internal world.
When the mind is still, the seer can abide in its own nature.
In this way when we are able to quiet the mind, we can then become absorbed in our true nature.
So we are either
absorbed in vrittes (thoughts, mind stuff)
we are consciousness to be absorbed in its own pure nature
(This is an excerpt from some of my notes from the lecture component of the workshop).
What I find myself thinking about after this discussion is how interacting with animals can reveal our own proximity towards enlightenment and pure consciousness. If we are to share quiet peaceful moments with an animal, we need to let go of much of the chatter and fear and noise of the mind.