2.43 Cultivating enthusiasm through removing inefficient patterns in body, mind, and emotion (tapas) heightens all senses and abilities.
Being aware of your patterns is one of the main skills in yoga. All your ways of being are filters that color your experiences. All of them influence the quality of your participation in your life. Some of those tendencies contribute to enhance your participation, while others may preclude your conscious and deliberate participation in the present moment. Noticing the difference between helpful and unhelpful ways of being empowers you to make intelligent decisions. Because the pull of well-established patterns is quite strong, bringing your awareness to the moment you are in is already an act that requires energy, commitment, and enthusiasm (tapas). In fact, most of us get distracted constantly. Exercising your skill of returning to the present moment with no struggle, no strain and no judgment also demands enthusiasm, especially when frustration arises as you notice how frequently you get distracted. This process of self-regulation of personal propensities offers several benefits. First, you develop the habit of presence by redirecting physical, mental, and emotional energy from distractions to conscious participation in the moment you are in. The more you turn an unhelpful pattern around, the more sensitive you become to its symptoms so that you can catch it before it distracts you fully. Besides, that sensitivity enhances the quality of your awareness. As a result, you are already present and receptive to noticing what is happening in your life. Being awake to your life enables you to discern the difference between discarding an unhelpful pattern and taking the pattern into a different area of your life. For example, if my tendency is to exaggerate in some behavior, like overeating, when I try to stop that tendency it may happen that I shift that tendency to a different area, like over-exercising or over-working. Awareness of that tendency can help me keep it in check. Something else you may find is that the ways of being that were useful before may stop being useful. This is like training wheels in a bicycle helping you learn to ride by providing stability. Once you know how to ride, the same training wheels will get in your way. At that point, it makes sense to discard them.
For this sutra, the Sanskrit word used to indicate the results of bringing enthusiasm into life is siddhis. This word, like with so many other words in Sanskrit, has a variety of meanings including, accomplishment, performance, fulfillment, complete attainment (of any object), success, solution of a problem, readiness, prosperity, personal success, fortune, good luck, advantage, bliss, perfection, and the acquisition of supernatural powers by magical means. This last meaning has been historically one of the trademarks of a true yogi. However, supernatural powers may not crystallize for every practitioner. It may be a good option to withhold judgment and be open to observe what happens. At a more practical level for most of us, it may be more useful to consider that attending to life and its always arising newness can become a source of energy that sparks your enthusiasm enabling you to participate in the dance of life with sensitivity and exquisite responsiveness.
Taking responsibility for your life despite distractions, interference, and disruptions also requires enthusiasm. Moreover, commitment to the goal of being present for every moment of your life demands passion as well. It is that enthusiasm, balanced by intelligence and humility (sutra 2.1), that can make the difference between seeing a project to completion and giving up along the way. Although, as you will find in Chapter Three of the Yoga Sutra, the idea of siddhis is traditionally interpreted as being able to perform extraordinary feats and magic, it may be helpful to start by thinking about how exceptional it is to meet people committed to being fully present in their own lives. In fact, it is remarkable to find people participating in life with commitment and enthusiasm, particularly in the face of obstacles and challenges. The etymological meaning of the word enthusiasm in Greek is to be in the essence of God. Another way of understanding enthusiasm is to gather inspiration and support from life.
What are your sources of enthusiasm?
Are you aware of your patterns in movement, posture, breathing, thought, and emotions?
Which patterns contribute to enliven your outlook and the overall tone of your feelings?
How does it feel when you bring enthusiasm into your attitude, actions, and duties?
Do you notice any changes in your sensitivity and level of energy when you act with inspiration?
How do you invigorate yourself?
As usual, one more way of exploring the meaning of this sutra is by chanting it.
You can choose to chant it in its traditional form with some of the words coming together:
2.43 kāyendriyasiddhiraśuddhikṣayāt tapasaḥ
कायेन्द्रियसिद्धिरशुद्धिक्षयात् तपसः ॥४३॥
Another option is to chant each word in the sutra individually:
If you prefer, you may listen to the podcast: