Our theme for our May-June class session here at The Yoga Room is the 8 Limbs of Yoga. Taken from the Yoga Sutras, the 8 Limbs basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. They serve as a prescription for moral and ethical conduct and self-discipline; they direct attention toward one’s health; and they help us to acknowledge the spiritual aspects of our nature. As we’ll see as we move through this session, yoga isn’t just about physical exercise!
The first limb, the Yamas, deal with our ethical standards and sense of integrity, focusing on our behavior and how we conduct ourselves in life. Yamas are universal practices that relate best to what we know as the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
The five yamas are:
Ahimsa: nonviolence or kindness, toward ourselves and others. On our yoga mat, this might mean making sure that we’re not forcing postures to the point where we might injure ourselves.
Satya: truthfulness. In our yoga practice, this means really being honest with ourselves about where our body is at each day, and making sure to honor it, resting when we need to.
Asteya: non-stealing, based on our subconscious beliefs of lack or scarcity. We can work with this yama in our yoga practice by noticing those postures that we tend to hold back in because we have a negative belief in our ability to be able to do them.
Brahmacharya: self control; responsible behavior; moderation. We can work with this yama on our yoga mat by making sure we are using our energy efficiently and conserving it where we can.
Aparigraha: non-possessiveness; not being jealous. We have ample opportunities in our yoga class to make sure we’re not trying to compare, compete or keep up with the students next to us.
I encourage you all to now take these yamas and practice them off the mat as well!