Yamas – Practising Yoga From The Heart

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In Patanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga he gives 5 Yama’s which are a practising yogi’s guide lines to how we behave with others. Focusing on acting from a place of integrity and, as I interpret, it from the heart.

Yoga Journal explains that “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 – in action, thought and deed.
Satya: truthfulness
Asteya: nonstealing – including taking credit for something you didn’t do!
Brahmacharya: celibacy, or at least moderation of sensual pleasures
Aparigraha: Non possessiveness – being aware of jealousy.

On this Valentines where the focus is on love, as each and every day should be, how could we put these into practice?

Ahimsa

Ever catch yourself thinking badly of someone? Quick to criticise? To Judge? Or maybe you are more self critical, always comparing yourself to others. Notice this today and switch it around to words of love, support and encouragement. See what a different it makes to your day.

A practice I have found useful over the years is when I catch myself judging others, getting annoyed with them over something, I ask myself “where have I done this before?”. You can guarantee the very thing that is annoying me about them is something I have done too and don’t really like myself for it. It’s shining a light on my imperfections and in that moment I can accept that part of me, warts and all.  Simply switching this around is a great way of awakening compassion and understanding towards others, also towards your self.

Satya

Live your truth. Walk the talk. Speak from the heart. Sometimes it can feel hard knowing what your truth is and sometimes even hard expressing it. Taking time to sit still and really listen to your heart, that quiet soft voice that gives you words of encouragement, helps to connect with it.

If someone hurts or upsets you share this with them, with love, from your heart. Take away any sense of blame or judgement and simply explain your experience of their actions.

Are you great at giving advice to others but not taking it on board your self. Practise what you preach. You know what is good for you.

Act with integrity, which simply put is doing what you said you are going to do. As they say at Landmark Education “without integrity nothing works”. It’s true.

When you speak your truth and act with integrity you will inspire others to do the same. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable opens the minds and hearts of others.

Asteya

When we are always wanting what others have it takes us away from being who we truly are. It’s a distraction. We are all on our own unique path, there is no need to take from others when we already have so much ourselves.

You have an unlimited amount of wisdom and insight with in you. Yes get inspired by those around you but then express it in your own unique way. Your voice will resonate with the people who are right for you.

Taking from others comes from a mindset of lack, that there is something missing in our own lives. Any sense of lack; money, love, material possessions, keeps us playing small. What we focus on we create more of in our lives, by focusing on lack you will just get more of the same.

Love what those around you have, celebrate that with them and in return celebrate all you have too.  There is no need to take; it is in the giving that you receive the most.

Brahmacharya

If celibacy isn’t your thing (am sure that’s most of us, right?!) then treat your sexual life with honour, love, respect, as a sacred union between two people. Make it special. Practice it with love. Be open to give, receive and join together in love. I don’t think I need to say much more do I?

Aparigraha

This is quite similar to non stealing but is more about looking at what others have and feeling jealous. Rather than stealing what they have it’s that upset around wanting what they have.

Feeling jealous of someone you love takes you away from being fully present with them, fully treating them with the love and respect they deserve. For example if a friend comes to you excitedly to share something like a new purchase or a new relationship they have found, feeling jealous may impact your reaction to their news. Rather than celebrating it you may find yourself diminishing it a little to make yourself feel better. Simply that energy of jealousy within you will have an effect on your behaviour towards then, consciously or unconsciously.

Trust that there is enough to go around.

Trust we all have out own individual journeys and the things that are best for you will come your way.

Everyday be grateful for all you have in your life.

Everyday be grateful for the people you have in your life, and what they bring to you.

Celebrate from the heart your loved ones successes just as they will do for you.

In case you have missed my previous posts, tomorrow I am running a yoga workshop all around connecting with our heart centre. it’s at Revitalise Brighton, 2-5pm, and there are still a couple of places left. £20 if you book today, tomorrow it will go up to £25.

Happy Valentines Day!

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