When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds, mind transcends limitations, your conscious expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a great, new and wonderful world.
I’ve practised yoga properly for around 7 years now (on and off) and since my first class it just connected with me instantly. Whilst I continue to preach Pilates (and always will!), maintain a strength training and cardio workout regime, I’ve also been constantly drawn to yoga too. Read my previous post of Pilates or Yoga? It just fulfils me in a way I can’t explain fully. The dynamic flow, the breath work, the corrective alignment, and the strength benefit combined with the spiritual enlightenment. This mindful awareness has been slowly intertwining with my physical exercise over recent years and collectively it compliments my Pilates practise in a way I wanted to share with others. This week I completed my Therapeutic Yoga course to allow me to do just that. I am also currently studying a Yoga Philosophy course (through YogabyVarrie) to expand my knowledge of the theoretical/history of yoga and how we can improve our everyday lives.
This has been fascinating and what feels like the real start of a much bigger journey. There is a huge amount of simplicity in the things I have been learning, and yet implementing them in to every day life takes effort, patience, and discipline. Here is a short taster of what I am talking about and the beginnings of learning yoga beyond the mat:
The 8 Limbs of Yoga: The Yamas
The theory of yoga relates to the 8 Limbs of Yoga. A path of progression from the external to the internal aspects of life that help us approach, learn and respond appropriately, and to find acceptance within yourself.
The “first” limb represents the Yamas. This is our social restraints and actions aligned to who we are. Almost like an ethical code and a guide to how we interact with the world, and with ourselves. The Yamas are often described as the foundation of yoga. They are a way to resolve conflict and live in a way that follows our true values and live with more ease than being drained of energy, emotion, and stress. By following the Yamas you can bring a sense of kindness, honesty, and spiritual development to form a more congruent way of living.
The 5 Yamas are:
Ahimsa (non-violence): Creating an aura of peace & calm. Do no harm, to others or yourself. Find the courage, balance, self-love, and compassion for others.
Satya (truthfulness): Being authentic and aligning intentions and actions. Act with integrity and honesty, listen to your inner voice.
Asteya (non-stealing): Only using what you need, when you need. Be content with what you have. Avoid stealing from others, whether physically, or with their ideas, time, or reputation.
Bramacharya (non-excess): Listen to your body and focus your mind on the task at hand. Appreciate that you don’t need too much of anything, just enough.
Aparigraha (non-hoarding): Lead to an insight into the nature of life. Reduce attachment and let go of things that don’t serve us. Let go of negative thoughts and free yourself up to be immersed in appreciation for life rather than carrying excess attachment.
We often live in the past, or in the future, rather than enjoy the present. We fixate on things we cannot fix. But by following the Yamas we can learn to follow what we can change and let go of what we can’t. Acknowledge this and let it go, move on.
I hope that provides a little food for thought for you and an enlightenment into the way we can use yoga (and other mind body exercise to enhance our way of living). Let me know if you’re interested in learning more as I continue to learn too! (Drop me a comment below or reach out on social media!).