Lately I’ve had this gnawing, punch me in the gut kind of feeling to study more yoga, the written kind. The kind that reminds me that I’ve read the same 30 pages of the Bhagavad Gita over and over, much like when i attempted to read the bible, but the kind that tells me that this time I should persevere and dive deeper than my physical practice. So, this morning when I had an email letting me know that one of my favorite yoga blogs (Y is for Yogini) had a new post about Brahmacharya (one of the 8 limbs of yoga) it seemed like divine intervention.
I started thinking about where the next 11 weeks of our yoga session would go, and what are some of the ways and the things that we would explore each week and it occurred to me that although I have shared a physical practice with you (asana – another of the 8 limbs) I have not really shared the deeper spiritual limbs of yoga.
So, today begins our exploration of those 8 limbs. We’re starting with one of my favorites – the Yamas, they include 5 things (which we will explore individually over the next few weeks): Ahimsa, Satya, Brahmacharya, Asteya, Aprigraha.
The Yamas – a lot of people describe the yamas as the ‘don’t’ list. Don’t hurt people, don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t have sex etc. But I see them more positively. Lets take our theme Yama for tonights class for instance- Ahimsa.
“Entire abstinence from causing any pain or harm whatsoever to any living creature, either by thought, word, or deed. Ahimsa is not mere negative non-injuring. It is positive, cosmic love!” ~Swami Sivananda.
See the positive? It’s like the okay to go ahead and be kind to yourself! Seriously, sometimes this is exactly what I need, someone to tell me not only is it okay to stop beating myself up, and to stop talking badly about myself , but it’s like a rule. A real rule. There’s no caveat that says it’s only for thin, fit people or smart people or whatever the tapes say in our brain. It’s for EVERYBODY. How cool is that?
Anyway, take some deep breaths and think about it for a bit. We are going to tonight in our physical practice.