Staying Neutral…

In Yoga Philosophy by lillianjyoga2 Comments

Sutra 4.7 Influence of Karma: The Actions of yogis are nether white nor black; of others they are threefold.

Neutrality isn’t my strong suit. I’m passionate about just about everything and upon learning about the attitudes of a Yogi according to the Yoga Sutras I quickly brushed off the idea of neutrality as something that just didn’t work for me.  I don’t think I actually understood it, or this sutra, until this past week… and it all started with an extremely bad experience at a salon.  I’ll spare you the details of said encounter out of respect for the lessons I’ve learned. I will tell you that when all was said and done I beelined to my computer and started ferociously typing up a nasty yelp review (I have never written a review before this day). I wrote the review, decided it wasn’t harsh enough, deleted and rewrote it to make it a bit nastier. At some point during rewrite #2 I received a call from a fellow yoga teacher/dharma sister…

Insert signs from the universe bluntly reminding me: this isn’t you.

I answered the phone with “I’m so glad you’ll called, you’ll never believe what happened to me today.” And I promptly launched into a detailed play by play of my evening and finished with “so now I’m writing a Yelp, Facebook and Google review.” Her reply was simply:

“Do you really want that karma? Your job as a yogini is to stay neutral.”

Pause…. delete.

According to Four Chapter on Freedom’s interpretation of Sutra 4.7, “The Yogi acts in such a way that his actions cannot be classified as good or bad…. this is because the mind of the yogi is clarified through sadhana {practice} and thus he has no selfish motive underlying his actions.”

Enter “aha” moment. What does dwelling on the past with a negative review gain me? Nothing other than a my own selfish motive to feel like I came out on top.

Yogi or not, not everything in life is fine and dandy, the real yoga is in learning how to react to those experiences with neutrality. Sometimes the glass isn’t half full or half empty, sometimes it’s just a glass with water in it, and that’s ok.


  1. so true. Just add an “i” to the word “neither.”

    Carroll – from class today. My friend Rachel is looking forward to meeting you.

    Great class!

    1. Author

      Good catch on the word neither – thank you!! It was great to meet you today, please do connect me with your friend Rachel! Looking forward to hearing about what she is up to.

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