Furthering our discussion on the #8limbsofyoga, the first of the niyamas as described by Pantanjali is saucha meaning cleanliness or purity in not only in hygiene or the state of our environment, but also refers to clarity of the mind. There are a multitude of directions we can spin this niyamas from the food we eat, to the thoughts and intentions running through our minds, to condition of our back seat of our vehicles. Saucha should not however be turned into the obsessive, endless persuit of attaining purity (as it will never happen) nor does it mean to deprive the body of sustenance (as no food can ultimately be ‘clean’- we just choose the best option available) instead just that- living with best intention to free the body and mind and our environment from excess clutter (chatter or fluctuations of the mind- chitta vritti nirodha) disease and toxins. Taking care of and appreciating what we have now for longevity in self as well as future generations to come.
The second #niyamas in the #8limbsofyoga as described by Pantanjali is #santosha (#santosa). This observance means contentment or appriciation. Not desiring more than what is required to sustain, and expressing gratitute for everything we have today. Santosha can be reflected in our asana practice when are truthful to ourselves (#satya) and when we do not intentionally inflict harm to ourselves (#ahimsa). I often quote in yoga class that “the present is the only place life exists”- there is no benefit on preoccupying the mind on the past or obsessing over what we were “once” capable of. The past gives us perspective, and provides valueble lessons for the future, however the past can also be a source of tension, stress and fear that distract, or occupy your time in the present. Instead of focusing on the “can not do”, shift your attention into the present and focus on all the things we CAN do. Change the conversation within and find contentment and acceptance for where, who and what we are today. Creating a postive impression within our lives today will lay the path to a bountiful and successful path for tomorrow 🌱☺#namaste .
#8limbsdaily ⬅ for my other posts on the 8 limbs of yoga
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The third niyama in the #8limbsofyoga is #tapas which literally means to heat 🔥🔥🔥
Perhaps you have heard your yoga teacher speak of tapas is class. Perhaps you have heard the term when the body warms up and the atmosphere of the class becomes little fatigued or perhaps even self doubt begins to arise. Engaging our tapas will allow us to persevere when things get tough. Tapas means self discipline, perseverance and austerity, not only in a physical yoga practice, but in all aspect of our lives. Stoking the fire (agni) within will allow us to find the passion and motivation that will allow us persevere until the end. 🔥🔥🔥 A simple metaphor explains tapas to that of a Momma bird sitting on her eggs. The consistent heat generated will allow the baby birds to grow and eventually be “born” attaining spiritual enlightenment.
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Today I reflect on the 4th #niyama #svadhyaya which I feel is of great importance wither one is a practitioner of yoga or not – #svadhyaya simply put means “self study”. Taking our time to study, observe and read to absorb knowledge to attain personal growth. It is (too!)easy to become preoccupied with the mass amount of useless and superficial “entertainment”, and petty nuances that literally steal our time. Instead invest the small amount of time we have in this lifetime discovering, learning and ultimately inspiring those around us to hopefully reach their own potential. We all have “questions”, not one source will have all the answers, but those who invest the time and seek towards self improvement will attain liberation from many of the common aliments that burden day to day life. If you are asking your self, WHAT should I be studying? The answer lies with introspection.
Note that #svadhyaya also refers to the study of ancient scripts and sacred texts such as the Vedas, I am by no means an expert on this topic, (or anything really) but I believe through learning by all channels and perspectives our own reality will become less clouded.
“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness, and for the bulk of mankind happiness is better” G. Orwell 1984 .
➡#8limbsdaily for my other posts on the 8 limbs of yoga .
The next limb in Raja yoga is niyamas . In my previous posts I discussed the 5 major yamas as outlined by Pantanjali (there are other yamas present in other texts I may come back to them) but for today we will discuss the niyamas The niyamas consist of personal observances that ensure the body and mind remain void of contamination once they have been purified by practicing the yamas. Like the yamas, there are 5 main niyamas. They serve as a guideline of “dos”- put these things into daily practice until they become habitual. They help to build a positive and healthy relationship with the self. Together the yamas and the niyamas form a solid foundation in which a yoga practice can be built. Click on the links below to learn about each!
The Five Niyamas are:
Tapas: heat; spiritual austerities
Svadhyaya: study of the sacred scriptures and of one’s self
Isvara pranidhana: surrender to God (Coming soon)
The paragraph above is a portion of on on going exploration about the 8 Limbs of Yoga. The original can be found on instagram by searching the tag #8limbsdaily
The next #yama in my posts about the #8limbsofyoga is the 5th Yama #aparigraha. Aparigraha means non possessiveness or non greediness. Detaching yourself from the accumulation of non essential possessions and practicing self restraint in food, addictive behaviours and materialism. Money is the ultimate possession that can be used to sustain our needs, but also can be enslaving – all our time and energy and life in the persuit of accumulating wealth, or the appearance of. Parigraha means to accumulate at any cost without consideration or at the expense of others, whereas Aparigraha is the opposite. In our lives we can practice #aparigraha when we learn to not only detach ourselves from accumulation and excess, but using what we do have to sustain, enhance or help the lives of others who are in need. 🌱
Our next discussion in my mini series about the #8limbsofyoga is the 4th #yama #brahmacharya This limb broken down into its sanskirt name “Brahma(n)” meaning the absolute reality, the single binding entity that exists within the universe and “Charya” meaning behaviour, conduct, engaging, living a virtuous life. Summing it up living a moral lifestyle to understand and devote to Brahman (the supreme being). This virtuous lifestyle can mean various paths depending on who you are. It can mean practicing celibacy (ie if you are devoted to your God, or following the path of a Monk etc) being faithful to your partner if in a relationship or married, and obstaining from casual sexual relations with others. Basically in today’s context obtaining from any destructive behaviours that have a damaging or negative effect on the self or others. Respecting the self through the first three of the yamas ahimsa (non violence), satya (truthfullness) asteya(non stealing) we would by default be practicing brahmacharya. ☺ 💕
Search #8limbsdaily ⬅⬅ for previous posts on the 8 limbs of yoga
Exploring the #8limbsofyoga. Today I meditate on the 1st #yama #ahimsa (Ahh-him-sah) Which can be loosely translated into non-violence, or inflict no harm towards yourself or others. This includes any thoughts or actions that result in a negative impact. Observing a clean wholesome and sustainable diet (void from the suffering of others- people, animals, ecosystem and self) is one small example, but also taking part in thoughts, habits or activities that are ultimately self destructive. We have all heard the cliché saying “treat others how you would like to be treated” Treat yourself with the utmost respect, communicate thoughts of positivity to yourself and allow your actions to set a positive example to those around you. #namaste 🌞 #morethanasana 🌱
The third #yama in my posts about the #8limbsofyoga is #asteya As recap I find thinking of the yamas as a general moral guide of “do nots” one that will begin to guide us on our path. They seem to be things you may consider “common sense”, but worth meditating on these topics to see if a new perspective is achieved and how they may apply to your lives in the past, present and future. Asteya means non-stealing. Quite literally do no take what is not yours to take. This includes possessions, credit when not deserved (ties back into the Yama #satya or truthfulness) thoughts or words (plagiarism). Other examples taking or occupying someone’s time or exploiting others for personal gain. On the opposite end of the spectrum, how can we turn stealing into giving? Stay tuned we’ll get there as we explore the niyamas shortly! #morethanasana #yogapractice #practicedaily #namaste
Day 3 of my personal challenge is to write about one aspect of the #8limbsofyoga daily. Today I contemplate the 2nd #yama #satya . Satya means truthfulness, truth and honesty- Not only in speech, but in thought, words and action. Keeping in mind the first Yama #ahmisa as often the spoken truth can cause pain or suffering to others. We must also learn to decipher the difference between opinion, societal norms and the “sheep” mentality that may cloud our preception. Satya does not imply we have all the answers, or always know what is true. Satya taken in context of the yamas as a personal observance that we can apply to our daily lives. It’s about being true to oneself and knowing that “Yes I can do anything” but being honest and realize ” I cannot do everything all the time or all at once”. We can apply satya in every aspect of our lives, from our physical yoga practice to our interactions with those around us. Create balance and be true to yourself!