Saturday, November 26, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
How often have we heard it suggested that we work with some posture at home and inwardly thought ‘where will I find the time’? In a busy lifestyle it can be difficult to make time for these things with so many other things clamouring for our attention.
We can however, incorporate yoga into our everyday life in another way - by working with the first two limbs of the eight-fold path of yoga, Yama & Niyama.
The eight limbs as written in Pantanjali’s yoga sutras are as follows :
1. Yama – abstinence
2. Niyama – observance
3. Asana – postures
4. Pranayama – breath control
5. Pratyahara – sense withdrawal
6. Dharana – concentration
7. Dhyana – meditation
8. Samadhi – contemplation.
These first two limbs are the prerequisite to hatha yoga. In a Miyoga class, we practice all three simultaneously. They form the ethical path of yoga and can be practised anywhere, anytime, without interfering in our daily activities but rather enhancing them.
Yamas are described as abstinences or healthy behaviours. They deal with our interaction with our environment, our relationships with others and society as a whole.
There are 5 Yama (abstentions) and they are:
Ahimsa – Non- violence/Kindness
Satya – Truth/Honesty
Asteya – Non-stealing/Responsibility
Brahmacarya – Moderation of Sexuality/Unity
Aparigraha – Non-greed/Simplicity
Niyamas are healthy practices, personal observances, that create an environment that is healthy and supports our growth. They allow us to experience deeper states of meditation because of their effect on our nervous system and our influence on our environment becomes more positive.
There are also 5 Niyama (observances) and they are:
Shaoca – Purity /Clarity
Santosa – Contentment/Acceptance
Tapah – Austerity/Sacrifice
Svadhyaya – Self Study/Understanding
Ishvara Pranidhara – Surrender/Spirituality
The Yamas & Niyamas are you could say a recipe for living well. All of us are born with these inherent qualities and over time and through experience we are pulled away from them. This means that we do not need to acquire or manufacture them, just simply rediscover them in ourselves. We do this through observing our whole life; thoughts, feelings, speech, action in light of each of the Yamas and Niyamas. By becoming more aware of them, we become aware of all that keeps us from experiencing wholeness. Awareness brings healing with it, as we discover our ability to make choices.
‘Yamas & Niyamas deal with the fundamental things which tend to cloud the mirror of personality which reflects the Self.’ - K & V Kingsland (Complete Hatha Yoga)
I encourage you to join me on this journey of discovery as in future issues we explore each Yama and Niyama in turn. You will be able to ponder the relevance of each to you personally and to our society and I will include things you can do to bring them into your day to day life and so be practising yoga wherever you go!
Friday, October 28, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
After returning from traveling around Australia for 4 months. I found that my traditional yoga practice was constantly interrupted either by the weather - being too hot, (even at 6 in the morning!) or we were on the move or some other very reasonable excuse! Rather than give up, I found that I could do ‘yoga’ wherever I was if I just remembered that that yoga is more than just the asanas(postures). Not that I’m suggesting that a regular practice isn’t important but that when it’s not possible, not to give up. Yoga can easily be a part of your every day life. Most often I did car yoga. Because of the part of Australia we were exploring, some of our days were spent solely in the car. And of course the body appreciated stretching and moving - I discovered you can do so much while sitting in such a confined space; neck stretches, facial exercises, shoulder rolls, stretches, rotations (while being mindful of not disturbing the driver!), spine flexing and twisting, ankle rotations, toe stretching and even some careful hip flexing; working through the whole body and feeling refreshed and less irritable. And of course, meditations were easy - so long as not driving! This then inspired me (and continues to) to practice some form of yoga whenever I think about it during the day. Waiting in the doctors surgery, surreptitiously rotating my ankles or simply being with my breath. In line at the checkout - any situation really. It’s become a challenge to see ‘what can I do here, now?!!
Practice of yoga involves many things, movements yes, meditation, pranayama, mantra but also the philosophies, the yamas and niyamas. So that even if you are just being content in the Dr’s waiting room, you can be practicing yoga! What yoga you do will depend on your situation. Yoga is union - between body and mind. Even just dropping down into the breath brings the awareness into the body. Quietening the mind. THAT you can do anywhere.....