OK, what are we talking about here? Yamas and Niyamas are essentially a philosophical code of conduct for yogis. Fun fact, yoga is more off the mat that on the mat. Yea, that was new for me too – good thing most of these resonated with me so it wasn’t hard to connect with the philosophy. Generally, if you aren’t a dick – most of these can be modernized for you and your life.
- Ahimsa- “do unto others”, non- violent, non harming. I try to live by the “do unto others” regularly, even in my new position at work – I have found a strength in my communication for both being direct yet compassionate. I am pretty good there. I am definitely not a vegan or vegetarian in any sense, and this is where many yogis seems to find that stance. That said, I do my best to get organic and responsible type of meats. I don’t want to support abusive practices in any way, but as any other blind consumer I am sure this happens. My intentions, however, would be in support of this.
- Satya – being truthful, not lying, not sharing an unpleasant truth, and staying true to your word. Yea, I am honest – like for sure. Even when a truth is unpleasant, if it is more unpleasant for the person to NOT know – I deliver it in a positive way. Staying true to my word is great in all aspects of my life, until you get to my track record of saying “Ill be in mysore tomorrow” and not so much. I have some work to do there.
- Asteya- non stealing, not stealing energy/time/objects or being envious. I think my previous blog post displayed how I wasn’t stealing postures from my teacher too early so thats a plus. Recently, I have had some struggles with confidence and self esteem so I have been envious, to the point it has negatively impacted how I interact with others. I am working on this, because I hate it!
- Blahmacyra – sexual responsibility, sometimes understood as abstinence – sometimes understood as control, retention of your energy for practice. Not even going to lie here ,this one is a struggle for me. Let me just rewind a little because I feel like that made me sound like a loose lady. I am sexually responsible in the sense that I am monogamous and treat my boyfriend with respect, but I definitely love sex. A lot of it. We only see each other on the weekends because we live about an hour from each other, so I am somewhat forced to retain my energy for practice, however, if we lived together……..you get it. Its important to note, this particular yama seems to be translated in a million different ways, this is just the way that it was taught in my class.
- Aparigraha- non- attachement, minimalism, not being attached to people/animals/your practice/things.This one is equally hard. I love my dog and my boyfriend. Like a lot. Gryffindor is absolutely the light of my life, everyday I wake up to that face and he just immediately delivers me joy. Same with Al, and they are both so goddamn adorable! I mean I get the philosophy behind this one, we are all mortal so when you die you can’t take your shit or other people with you – so I get it. But this is a tough one for me to consider.
- Saucha- cleanliness. I absolutely shower! If this is measuring the cleanliness of my kitchen then we might have a different conversation because I hate dishes. Saucha also means cleanliness of what you do – like the music, movies, books etc you take in. IT is my opinion that this is how you recieve and understand what you are taking in. For example, I watch a lot of stuff on serial killers, murder, criminal behavior etc. My intention is to learn about the absolutely mind boggling abnormal psychology and human behavior. So – yea I’m all sorts of saucha.
- Santosha – having contentment, even while working to improve just being grateful for what you have. I actually feel really good about this one, I did a whole video on how much I hate perfection and even sometimes don’t like creating goals in a certain sense (primarily because they distract from the journey and small milestones) so I like this one. That said, I have not been practicing this with my practice and training. I have been extremely frustrated and generally upset with where I am at, because its not where I want to be. So this is still one I need to work through.
- Tapas – discipline of practice. Well we’ve discussed this. I have opportunity here.
- Svadhyaya- connection to ones chosen diety, self study. This is where things get a little gray for me. Anytime there is a mention of God, at least one of my eyes roll, however as I learn more about the yogic philosophy God only stands for YOUR chosen diety- it does NOT mean God in the sense of a Christian God or something like that. I even asked if science was an appropriate diety and both teachers I asked independent of each other said “absolutely- in fact without science there is no yoga.” I connect to science, I connect to logic – but I also connect to energy. Law of physics, energy cannot be created or destroyed. I do think that you can feel energy, it can be transferred, and residual energy of people that have passed is still here – after all it cannot be destroyed.
- Isvara pranidhana – surrendering, letting go, just letting things be. It depends on what aspect of my life this is being applied to, some things I can say yea I am good here but other times I am like yea, put me down for a not so much on that one. I have worked through hella control issues – but I still have a general sense of control in my life and would not relinquish that in its entirety. I can however let things be by allowing the universe to play out – that said it is sometimes easier to practice that in retrospect!
There you have it . Yamas. Niyamas. Sorry I didn’t talk about any bears.