Listen to Part Two: readings from “The Secret of the Yamas”


209 responses »

  1. The principles delineated by the Yama are idealistic and admirable. I do believe that people can adhere to these concepts. However, there is one great wall that many people will not be able to get over: discipline. The importance of discipline cannot be overstated. Sure, everyone should be a more caring and understanding human being. But actually becoming one is truly difficult. This is why many take the emotional easy routes. It is much more immediately satisfying to be a selfish, arrogant person. But like junk food, even though it is easier to act this why in the moment, it does not have healthy long term effects.

    It takes a truly committed person to achieve the aspects of Yama. Imagine ascending to such a point where you can be as good of a person as you can possibly be. While it may sound impossible to most, I can imagine that being in tune with these principles is quite enriching to say the least.

  2. I enjoyed this reading and its use of the asanas in correlation to finding the deeper meaning within ourselves as individuals. Dating back to as far as humans go, we’ve always had natural instincts such love, hate, greed, envy, and so forth. Which is why I thought the expression of the yamas such as, non violence, non-stealing, chastity absence, of greed and truthfulness were key and so relatable to me. All of these qualities mentioned are traits that really make up the personality and characteristics of a person, and it is through these characteristics that we reflect onto others. We reflect these traits in order to become a better version of ourselves and for those around us. Commonly, we find ourselves balancing these traits,which is why I appreciated the listening where it stated, “Love flowers truly when the heart and mind are in perfect union.” Through the teachings of the Yamasan its asanas, we can find rhythm and melody within ourselves, through it far more than physical discipline that we achieve a true mental state of awareness. It is through the discipline of our psyche that “arrogance can be transformed into humility.” Furthermore, as stated in the reading, “we strive to become something greater.” I feel that through the practice of our Isha Kriya and the Yamas, we can find the interchangeable peace in which we all strive for.

  3. I don’t think surprising our desires is what he is hinting to in this passage. I think he’s hinting at the middle path, finding balance in what we want and not letting our desires overcome us. Aristotle talks about living within our means. He describes it loosely as having what you need and then being able to get a little bit of what you want. I think this is a great reminder for all of us in this day and age where we are so keen on having the next best thing, or what our friends have. I think this reading is so helpful and relevant in today’s world.

    I also think it is important to mention that seeking out the solution will never fully help us get there. Once our minds are fixated on that, we’ve yet again distracted ourselves from the path of consciousness. As the example of working weekends to please your boss and wanting to stay home to please your spouse illustrates, desire leads to more desire, and thus we are trapped in the endless cycle of suffering ( and rebirth to adhere to buddhist teachings). If we can recognize the things we want, work to attain them, but not work so hard as to loose track of other aspects of life, then we can begin out journey towards the middle path.

  4. The yamas seem to be a specific set of rules and guidelines for a person or societal entity to follow to potentially achieve a sense of balance and completeness. The thoughts and opinions surrounding the practices of yoga are always believed to be a mostly physical but the mental and spiritual aspect is often neglected and left out of conversation. I was once ignorant to the nuances that encompass the full complete practice of yoga. As my background and upbringing didn’t allow me to see the benefits. I am now fully invested in becoming a balanced individual and productive member of society. Though i may not be able to practice full meditation everyday i can at least focus on breathing in my down time and moments of stress.
    This is where the saying “i am not the body, i am not even the mind” comes into play. We often place strains on ourself to be what society wants us to be. But you should feel free and comfortable in your own body and mind space. The confines of religion, sexuality, and social norms restrict individuals from achieving their full potential. Namaste

  5. I really enjoyed that you called them “logical guidelines”, it is a consciousness that is necessary while following them. Knowing that these disciplines will come together with when you become one. Using your example of imitating rather than following your own path will not create success. Your desires are not yours, they are others wants that you think are yours. These approaches are showing us to take different routes and following our path which is what I truly enjoy.

    It is often seen that there are no original thoughts but we are backpacking off of one another. This practice is a need for many seeing how often people tend to follow one another. It is a great task and it also is trialing but it is worth it.

  6. The post struck pretty close to home for me as lately I have been struggling with not allowing myself to stay focused on the negative aspects of my life. Recently, I have been struggling with mood swings and being unable to see the positive in many things. Namely, I can’t even get myself to say “I’m doing well” when someone asks. However, I will say that after leaving class I always find myself in a better mood as well as when I practice the Isha Kryia and am hoping to bump up the amount of practice I do outside of class as it is so beneficial for me. I also would like to work on my empathy for others as I do struggle with emotion and would like to be more reachable for my friends and family.

  7. Tyler Schrader

    Yammas is something i will now look into more in depth. The practice of self discipline to avoid negative actions such as selfishness. I always strive to create a non violence, absence of greed, non stealing, and truthfulness way of life into my day to day practices. I believe these personal logical guidelines are achievable through the use of self discipline.

    Self positive output is very powerful. Law of attraction as i know it can allow you to construct your life that way you want it and carve your personal desires and figure. You will attract what you put out. It is really quite amazing what one can do, not only can we shape ourselves but the world around us. Brahmacharya, Ahimas, Aparigraha, and Asteya are all very powerful tools and have the power to change the world. I will thrive to further my teaching in this and also change myself into a better more genuine being.

  8. In regards to the given listening, I feel this weeks content strongly expresses and furthers the previous materials in which we have been given. Traditionally, re-introducing the important aspects of our asinas and the five conditions of behavior in correlation to our everyday lives and mental strength. The overpowerment of the physical body and form is something that consumes humans such as ourselves from maintaining balance and structure within our physical and nonphysical mind. Becoming something greater is what is considered so essential to the Yamas and our asinas. Striving to be something greater is normal, and is something that all humans in my personal opinion aim for.

    Personally, the concept of Love was something that illuminated brightly to me throughout this section. The idea of love through the concept of others was rathe important. I feel we always do our best to gain acceptance from others, and contort ourselves from our original shape in order to be fit the mold of other standards. As expressed in the reading, “We can not learn to love our neighbor through discipline. Lover flowers when our heart and mind are in union.” I thought this quote was essential to the realities we create for ourselves. It’s important to stay true to the narratives we establish for ourselves, not the narratives of others. The way in which we operate is “different different than the principles of engineering.” So I believe it is crucial to keep that in mind throughout our daily tasks and future endeavors.

  9. I had a hard time relating to and understanding this part of the Yamas reading until the analogy to eating healthy and the desire for fatty foods. I think it’s interesting to think of abstract desires in the same way as something so tangible. It makes sense why it’s so hard for us to change important parts of ourselves for the better when thinking of it in this tangible way- if we have issues just changing our diets, because we naturally have desires for fatty foods, why would changing more abstract parts of ourselves be any easier?
    “All desires are looking to control or eradicate another. Thus, we have desire attempting to discipline itself to eradicate itself- but this process merely strengthens desire.” I think the same is to be said about fear, for fear has a similar process disciplining itself. It’s an endless cycle, and makes me curious what the exact process is that one must take to conquer both. As the reading states, “the desire is a part of you regardless of discipline”, so what is the process one must learn in order to push themselves through it?- for both fear and desire are both somehow essential yet unnecessary to each of us as human beings. We all have them naturally; they’re a part of who we are, and regulate what we do and how we live our lives, yet they hold us down. (See also: the Enneagram Institute and its RHETI personality tests, which are constructed on the basis of each person having a basic fear and a basic desire, which define the way each of us lives our lives, pushing us to do most anything within its scope. For example- a “Type 2″‘s basic desire is to feel loved, while its basic fear is being unwanted and unworthy of love. Thus, people who are “Type 2″‘s key motivation is “want[ing] to be loved, to express their feelings for others, to be needed and appreciated, to get others to respond to them, to vindicate their claims about themselves”(1), and they project themselves forward in life based on this concept.) Based on this reading and these ideas, are we supposed to look to rid ourselves of fear and desire? What would this do within the scope of the Enneagram’s basis? I don’t necessarily believe in personality tests such as the Enneagram, but I do think that it’s interesting juxtaposing these concepts together.


    • I think it helps to have a belief in human development and a realistic model as a framework. We all start out with our parents and family, teachers, and then we have free will to choose our Path. I find Classical Indian Hatha Yoga and the lineage to serve as my models. I follow Sadhguru, Sri Aurobindo, Amma, and others serve to remind and motivate me to continue to work on my own progress on and off the mat. I have been fortunate to have traveled to the ashrams, met fellow people on the Path, met the living teachers. Like everyone I have dark days, slow down but I know this is only one small dimension and the other parts are always available and I have the tools to make the necessary shifts with my personal practice. I hope this helps with your questions. If not we can talk in class, OM

  10. For me the Yamas are best realized without having to think about them. If we spend too much time worrying about the very things we wish these particular paths to cure, then we miss out on the experiences in our journey that fulfill these paths. The same can be said for discipline and desire. If we are constantly thinking about our desires and how we seek to realize these desires then we run the risk of exhausting ourselves mentally and losing the focus required to stay on these virtuous paths. By losing sight of what we believe our desires to be, we begin to be dishonest with ourselves. When we become dishonest with ourselves, we lose the motivation to maintain the discipline required to achieve inner harmony and balance on one’s journey. When we lack discipline we lack a timeline, and when we lack a timeline we wander aimlessly with no real perceived purpose. When we are disciplined our body and mind can express and receive energy most effectively, giving us the clarity and focus we need to be successful. These small successes that we achieve as a result of moderating our desires, and maintaining our discipline, give us the positive experiences on our journey through which we can draw happiness and inner harmony from.

    To add. I’ve done the IK several times with my mother, and have enjoyed it a lot. My chants are often much louder than hers, but other than that it’s nice to have someone to practice with. Of course I’ve recommended the IK to several friends, and one has actually agreed to try it with me at some point.

  11. The practice of yoga is all about learning to nurture our psyches, not merely our physical forms. As humans we struggle with many negative thoughts and emotions, such as greed, jealousy, anger, and hate. These emotions can be all-consuming if left to their own devices, but through strong spiritual practice it is possible to take the upper hand over these demons. We can feel a fleeting moment of anger without letting it ruin our days. We can learn to truly be happy for others when they’ve accomplished something, instead of wishing it was us that had something good happen. The most powerful force in this world is love. As stated in the reading, “Love truly flowers when our heart and mind are in union.” Love is not a fleeting feeling, as many of those negative emotions can be. Love is something that can grow within ourselves and spread to others. It must be a conscious decision to nurture the love in our hearts and minds, otherwise it can be forgotten or neglected. If this was an easy task, our world would be full of love and without hate. However, learning to love ourselves and others can be too difficult a task for many. That is why it is a discipline that must be learned, fostered, nurtured, and maintained. Love can be lost if not nurtured. Through the practice of yoga we can strengthen our discipline in this regard.

    Catherine Halstead

  12. The reading was a great expansion on the 8 Limbs post. “You cannot learn to love your neighbor through discipline or effort”. I found this part of the reading very powerful. I think often what causes us to feel as though we must struggle to be kind to others is because of our own closed off nature. The reason why it is so hard for us to give love to others in a genuine way, is because we allow our physical thoughts to block us from seeing a person’s true self. This isn’t to say we can only love what we know, but instead that acceptance is a pathway for love. If we regarded ourselves and others without strong judgement, with an an openness that is able to respect all. It is impossible to understand everything, but to respect that one’s journey or lifestyle or personality is different from yours.
    I believe there is immense power in the mastering allowance and attention. What we pay attention to will manifest, but it is a two sided coin. It will also come with the negative or opposite outcome of what we put out. If we could place our intentions into the universe, pay attention to something else, and then allow it to form, I feel our manifestations would be more true to our intentions. I felt that the analogy to the desire to be slim and craving fatty foods was very reminiscent of this personal belief of mine and I felt the need to share.

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