Friday, May 10, 2013

Day 130 Intention ~ Practice Yoga Off the Mat

Day 130 Intention ~ Practice Yoga Off the Mat

I've been thinking about my yoga practice a lot lately. Although, I do some practice off the mat, when I really think about the eight limbs of yoga in Patanjali's yoga sutras, I try to think about adapting them to my daily life. 

How much are we all really practicing? 

For review, the eight limbs taken straight from my Yoga Sutra book translated by Sri Swami Satchidananda:

  • yama (abstinence)
  • niyama (observance)
  • asana (posture)
  • pranayama (breath control)
  • pratyahara (sense withdrawal)
  • dharana (concentration)
  • dhyana (meditation)
  • samadhi (contemplation, absorption, or superconscious state)

To really bring consciousness to my practice off the mat (most of us already get the third limb asana), I will start with the yamas today. This first limb has five parts to it and these are all things that we should abstain from in our behavior. 

The five parts of the yamas: 

  • ahimsa: non-harming
  • satya: truthfulness
  • asteya: non-stealing
  • brahmacharya: continence
  • aparigraha: non-greed
As far as ahimsa goes, I eat a vegan diet so as not to harm animals and be a little less harmful to the environment. I try to be environmentally responsible when possible. And I also try not to harm others with my words, thoughts and actions.

Satya, that is easy. I try to tell the truth at all myself also! Don't get me wrong, if the truth is a mean statement, I most likely don't say anything at all. 

Asteya, or non-stealing. This one seems pretty straight forward and easy. Don't steal! Even if it's a pen from work or stealing time from others. 

Brahmacharya: continence. Well, in the Western world we translate this into moderation. Live in moderation. I try to do this, although, sometimes when there's a bag of Terra sweet potato chips in front of me, forget about it! :)

Lastly, aparigraha, non-greed: just take what you need. (see last paragraph, I try!) Whether it's shoes, food, time, love, whatever it is, don't hoard it. If you have enough, save some for the rest. The less "stuff" you have, the clearer your mind can be. Less clutter.

So, there's my list to start working on! Just becoming more conscious of these things (we'll go through some of the other eight limbs in future days), can help us actually live our yoga. 

Til tomorrow...



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