Yoga Philosophy: The Eight Limbs of Yoga : The Yamas

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Yoga Philosophy: The Eight Limbs of Yoga : The Yamas

In our month of Grace, taking a look at how we begin to take a look inward, and reflect on the beauty within, on way of connecting with another definition of Grace, aside from the refinement of movement we discussed last week, is “the bestowal of blessings,” and through a connection with a higher power.

Yoga breaks down the path to this connection through the spiritual journey of the eight limbs of yoga.

Though we will go through the limbs in the order they are presented in the Yoga Sutras, these are touchstones that have various meanings to us at different points in our own journeys through life, and through our yoga experience.

Last year, we broke down the Yamas over 5 months, so if you are interested in a deeper exploration of the following, take a look at our archives, and you will see that further exploration.

The Yamas are, simply put, the Don’ts of life. The Yamas and Niyamas (come back next month for the Niyamas) and are seen as the basis of morality for the Yogic way of life.

Though each is phrased as something NOT to do, we have beautiful ways of interpreting these don’ts as ways to live our lives more fully.

Rather than looking at areas of the world to avoid, we can look at the balance and see where the growth and learning can come from.

Spring is such a beautiful time for exploration, and the Yamas are a wonderful way to take a look at where we may wish to devote more time, and what may need more of our attention.

Perhaps we are feeling balanced and ready to take on a challenge, or perhaps we are looking to nurture and restore.

See what fits, and find your space… see if your on the mat practice can meet this “bestowal of blessings.”

  • Ahimsa – Non-violence: At its most basic, not harming or killing any living being. Diving deeper, being kind to your body, understanding yourself and your limits. Inviting compassion over judgement.
  • Satya – non-lying: Being truthful in all interactions, both with others, and with ourselves. Seeing if we can refrain from speech that may bring harm to others, in a way to tie Satya to Ahimsa.
  • Asteya – non-stealing: Not taking what does not rightly belong to us. This goes beyond physical items, and asks us to take into consideration forms of oppression and social injustice as well.
  • Brahmacharya – celibacy: Quite literally is controlling sexual energies (to be focused on channelling that energy to spiritual growth). In modern yogic practices is more in terms of energy conservation, and making certain that we are careful and caring with how we use our bodies.
  • Aparigraha – non-coveting: Holding only that which is necessary, and surrendering the rest. Letting go of what is not essential to our day to day, and seeing if we can get in touch with those true needs.

Take a look to how we can look at some of these concepts with mindfulness and grace this coming month and beyond to add to our own journey. Enjoy 🙂