To listen to Sadhguru’s message about the difference between our thoughts and emotions, click the link above. Some good information to consider while we liberate ourselves during our sadhana, on and off the mat. Namaste
For so many living and following yoga in the west Ashtanga can mean so many things. It can be a name of a restaurant, a line of clothing or beauty product, a record label or a yoga style made famous by Madonna. Not sure if Madonna would want to steal Shri Patanjali’s thunder, but it is in fact our most famous sacred Father of Indian Classical Yoga who penned the list. The eight-fold path or Ashtanga encompasses the entire evolutionary process for this spiritual path. At the base of these guidelines are the Yama and Niyama, (listed in the two previous posts). Yama and Niyama comprise the basic, timeless, universal code for behavior and some important guidelines for daily living. The Yama and Niyama may lead one towards a balanced regimen for individual discipline. The first six practices are merely preparatory for the first goal of spiritual quest- Meditation. Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are purely mental and spiritual practices concerned with transformation.
Ashtanga, the eight-fold path, is a practical, workable system of self development that helps to control body and mind, and to live a balanced lifestyle: mentally, physically and emotionally. Through understanding the intricate connection between body and mind, what causes distractions and obstacles in life, comes a willingness to use these guidelines to achieve the balance of body and mind, eventually leading to self-realization. Success is measured by practicing each step orderly and do know the Isha Kriya will allow you embody 4-8, when completing 108 mandalas. We can use consciousness and awareness as terms in alignment with self-realization. Without further ado here are the infamous 8:
1. Yama– ethical practices
2. Niyama – conscious observances
3. Asana – physical postures designed to release mental tensions and stresses lodged in the physical body
4. Pranayama – the science of breath control to balance prana (life force) in the body, mind and emotions
5. Pratyhara – sensory practices, aims for the withdrawal of the mind from the senses.
6. Dharana – concentration practices
7. Dhyana – meditation
8. Samadhi – liberation
The practice of Yama and Niyama creates a strong fortress of physical, mental and emotional purity for the seeker/practitioner. If this purity is not created as a foundation, many complications can manifest later to obstruct one in their practice. For example, as one progresses on the path and more power is accumulated, diversions/temptations may arise that can distract a seeker from a genuine experience, causing the loss of valuable time and energy, as well as getting lost. Here are the five Niyama– Conscious Observances:
Saucha – Purity. An impurity is anything on the physical, mental or emotional level that obstructs our optimal functioning. It is our impurities that stand between us and our highest realization All the practices of Yoga are designed to remove these very impurities. Some simple examples are the various cleansing regimens of hatha yoga that help purify the physical body and mantras that help cleanse the mind and emotions. The more work a practitioner has put into willful cleansing disciplines, the easier, swifter and more successful towards spontaneous development.
Santosha – Contentment. Santosha is the art of being happy with whatever life brings. It is learning not to expect or desire more than one needs.
Tapas – Transformative Spiritual Practices. Tapas creates the heat that purifies and strengthens our bodies and minds to make them fit vehicles for self-realization.
Svadhyaya – Spiritual study. This is not merely study in the usual sense, but a deep contemplation, digestion and integration of the deeper and often hidden essences contained in the Yogic scriptures. It refers to an intensity of contemplation in which this deeper knowledge is revealed to the seeker from within themselves.
Ishvara Pranidhan – a dedication to Divine Energy. Actual practices can include any type of devotional worship, singing of bhajans, repetition of mantras, etc. These practices purify the heart and mind. There is a deeper impact when using the original sanskrit for these chants, mantras, bhajans/songs. The Yogi Scientists of long ago took the time to develop the sounds for the actual idea so that when uttered that same idea is created inside the cells, and this is why Sanskrit is today still so very valuable as a benefit.
This now completes the ten tenets for Yama and Niyama. These are the first two rungs on the Ladder for Self-Realization on the Path of Classical Indian Hatha Yoga/Ashtanga. Oftentimes we can see many who are accomplished at doing asana but have not come close towards compassion for their own spirit. To not get lost in the physical body and to rise beyond via higher consciousness these ten steps must be explored and fully understood. When we are on the path to Self -Realization it is a different and thorough process above and beyond mere exercise. Do find a way to keep these Yama and Niyama close to you in your practice via Journal, or any other format that works best for you to re-visit important concepts for your personal development. Shri Patanjali designed a complete course for us in Personal Development and Self-Realization that is a very Holistic psychology. Namaste
Just wanted to share this beautiful Vegan blog:
Sweet Potato Soul.com
Great recipes, video cooking show and wonderful commentary!! Namaste
The first Yogic Scholar to document the Tenets for the science of Hatha Yoga was Shri Patanjali in his text Hatha Yoga Pradipika, written at least 3,000 years ago in India. Hatha Yoga science is not a religion, it is a philosophy for the Art of conscious living. Hatha Yoga science embraces all faiths, creeds and religions. The original text was written in Sanskrit and the following is a transliteration that approximates the original context. Do know Classical Indian Hatha Yoga was scientifically developed as a “101” course to allow people to be strong enough in mind and physical body to be able to sit still for extended periods of time for Raja Yoga: Kriya Yoga/meditation to develop the highest state of Conscious Living.
There are ten tenets: five Yama known as the ethical practices and five Niyama or conscious observances. In today’s post I will share the five Yama/Ethical Practices:
Ahisma– Non-violence. Ahisma means causing no harm to any living being, including oneself, in thought, word or deed. Non-violence is the basis of all the other Yama and Niyama. True non-violence is love.
Satya – Truth. Satya means not only abstaining from falsehood, but also seeing the inherent good in everyone. Whenever possible, practicing periods of silence will greatly support one in this Yama. A suggestion: try to be silent one morning or even one day in the week. If that is not possible , create times where social interaction is minimized, (including FaceBook and internet!), in which you only speak when necessary with truth and sweetness.
Asetya – Non-stealing. Asetya also means releasing the desire to possess that which belongs to another.
Aparigraha – Non-possessiveness. We all need certain possessions. However, many of us not only accumulate more than we need, but continually desire even further luxuries. Thus engaged, we disturb our peace of mind. The more simply we live, the more energy can be devoted to our spiritual practice.
Brahmacharya – moderation. Through Brahmacharya in all areas of our lives, the seeker saves, and thus accumulates great energy that can be channeled into his/her spiritual experience. This practice is imperative for those wishing to embark upon the spiritual path.
Please do look for part two: Niyama in the next post. Perhaps take some time to reflect on what the above Yama signifies for you. For those who keep a journal the Yama and Niyama give us much to think and weave into our daily thoughts and actions. Best wishes for deep Reflection, Namaste.
“Joy will not happen if you change the Content of your life, it will only happen if you change the Context of your life.” Sadhguru
Namaste, Please do click the link above to listen to what Sadhguru has to share with us about Joy (I am reading from Sadhguru’s writings in this audio clip). For so much our lives we spend time waiting to acquire what we think will give us Joy: a degree, a job, a spouse, a car, a home, etc. However, we are using so much energy that will be futile as what we need is within us. All we have to do is to cultivate a garden filled with Joyfulness that streams from our insides outwards. The seeds of this Joy Garden are strewn each time we practice yoga, kriya meditation and all mindful activities. If we do create such a life filled with Joyfulness we can roll easy over the bumps in the road that are always going to show up from time to time. Instead of only being happy when things are positive, we can be the positive constant spark. As we mature we get a sense of this life that is full of dualities:old and young, male and female, negative and positive, and we learn that this is just the nature of our existence. We can choose to not associate our outlook on the roll of the dice but to be constantly filled with positive energy and Joy!! This will be our refuge – for ourselves and others will seek this oasis of Joy we cultivate. Feel free to share about the ways in which you choose to cultivate Joy in your daily life here. Keep the seeds of Joy aplenty!!!! OM Shanti OM
I found this and had to share it—too cute!!! Just click the link above to see this picture and scroll to the middle of page and see yoga addendum. OM
The link above takes you to the audio podcast by Sadhguru and below is my commentary on the value of teachers of Indian classical hatha yoga. Whenever we begin to practice yoga it is always a good time. Many follow the “newly re-invented” versions that have popped up in the west. These western forms are more about aerobic activity and exercise. True Indian classical hatha yoga is a gateway to human consciousness. When one finds hatha yoga in a gym or spa and has a positive experience this is a good beginning. Many who are teaching yoga are not certified. Some who are leading classes have taken so many classes and can expertly perform the asanas/yoga poses therefore they feel they can teach yoga. Some take a certification class that may be a weekend long, month-long and feel this is enough to start teaching. Yoga is an ancient science for the highest of all human searches – for evolution in one’s lifetime. People are very careful about the backgrounds of their doctors and lawyers but not their yoga teachers. This says much about how precious their consciousness is to them. Ashtanga is the basis for the curriculum and many in the west think it is the name of yoga that stars like Madonna practice. Ashtanga is the stepping stone route to higher consciousness. So many who do yoga are just satisfied with feeling good in their physical body, with looking good, etc. This is only the first part to make the physical body steady and able. This stability is necessary to be able to withstand the processes necessary for the deep purifications that will take place via kriyas and higher forms of yoga. In the west we find many who are physically strong and beautiful and this seems to be the goal of yoga in the west. This is the bargain store variety of yoga. It is perhaps a beginning that so many know about and are doing what they consider yoga in the west, hopefully this will be a platform for people to search for authentic classical hatha yoga. It will only be known if we share with others about the source. Teachers of classical Indian yoga will always give reference to their teachers and lineage and will always try to share with students how to tap into the vast treasure trove. I am grateful to all of my teachers including: Dr. K. M. Tripathi, the Late Sri Radha Kant Jha, the Late Sri Aurobindo and now Sadhguru. We always begin our sadhana with this invocation that we should respect each other in the process, there should be no envy as the practice comes from teachers of the past and continues as we practice here and now. Asato Maa Sadagamaya, Tamso Maa Jyotir gamaya, Mrityor Maa Amitam Gamaya, Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti-OM.