The Yamas (we didn’t get to the Niyamas! That’s another day). The Yamas are the first limb of the eight limbs of yoga. The eight limbs are kind of ethical guidelines from which to live. They appear in Patanjalis Sutras. They offer ways in which to be, behave and think not only with ourselves but with one another. The first two limbs (the Yamas and Niyamas do in particular).
The other 6 limbs look at our physical and energetic conduct in terms of keeping physically well and strong via Asanas, controlling and enlivening our breath through Pranayama, drawing our senses within, holding attention, practicing mediation through Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and experiencing because of all this, the 8th limb, Samadhi, a sense of peace, integration, union or as one yoga teacher (Donna Farhi, author of Bringing Yoga to Life, The Breathing Book and more) puts it, ‘original silence’.
There are 5 Yamas:
Ahmisa – Practicing non-violence, or non-hurting. It is the root of all the yamas. If our intention is fundamentally good with another person, we can’t hurt (as such). Also the effect of something lies within our own emotional ability to feel or hurt of not. Our bodies, our words and our expression all play a part in ahimsa.
Satya – relates to our grasp of ‘reality’ – we strive to be real in words, in action and in our intention. We need to respect the reality (the truth) of ourselves in the moment. In other words satya is honesty, the truth shall prevail.
Asteya – means simply ‘non-stealing’ though we could look at it as taking away the freedom of the individual. Dominating all of a conversation. Taking what belongs to others. Non stealing in behavior, time and material things.
Bramacharyha – literally, ‘searching for the highest’. Deal with yourself in action – does this thing lower me down or elevate me? The same applies when dealing with others. It’s a value system. It also tends to have a sexual conduct connotation. And this sits with a value system: weighing up whether a casual or unhealthy or destructive (to you and others) relationship is really justifiable. Does this give you energy, positivity or does it deplete you? Is it honest or does it hurt you or anyone else?
Aparigraha – attachment and detachment. Not letting go. Grasping. Don’t grasp everything! Let life come to you. (Let that foot in lotus position come to you because the hip is starting to open, not you yanking it into place!). Give also, you give, you receive. Receiving and letting go – is the process of letting go. We hold so deeply issues that manifest in the body. This can change – just by our attitudes. Let go that which you hold so very tightly (this is often fear). Surrender to the truth.
For those of you who attended either the intensive or the Saturday talk, please feel free to report on your findings in any way. Or to put your opinion forward on our Facebook site. It would be great!
The next Theory/talk session will be in 5 weeks on Saturday 06 July at 11am. Everyone is welcome.