Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yama - self-restraint


I stumbled upon the eight limbs in the book by Matthew Sweeney a few days ago and I wondered in what extent they might help in my yoga practice.

Yama is the first limb and is translate as self-restraint.
(Yoga has something to do with controlling for sure.)

1. Ahimsa - non-violence shall be practiced in speech, thought and action. For the asana practice it can mean not to practice too aggressively which protects from injuries. Not to talk and think badly about oneself and others surely also improves life (including the asana practice). A positive approach to people and poses is supportive.
Non-violence for me here also means to follow a vegan diet. Decades ago when I discovered yoga this belonged together, practicing yoga and eating vegetarian. It got lost this combination. Good to be reminded. Having light meals and a slim body makes the asana practice easier.

2. Satya - truth: Not to confuse our dream-like life with the truth might also help to see everything a bit lighter.

3. Asteya - non-stealing: Yep, what can be added here, nothing.

4. Brahmacharya - chastity: This might be a bit old-fashioned and a rule for the old yogis in the caves.Hahaha.  Even though I wonder, they might not have had so many opportunities. But I don't know. However: Yoga is controlling and it fits to the system. When yogis/yoginis want to control the body, the breath, they also want to control the sex drive. If it shall be controlled or oppressed needs to be discussed.

5. Aparigraha - non-greediness: Here it stands: to run each week to the teacher to ask for a new pose is not wished, hahahahaha. Just a joke. To be greedy for more than we need and can digest is a burden. To have too much stuff at home steals all the time, because it needs to be cleaned and organised. To be greedy for food and beverages is also not supportive. It makes the body heavy and the asana practice difficult. Too many asanas too quickly can be overwhelming.....hahahaha.

The yamas give room for interpretation. They are formulated rather general.
I think they are not rules that make life more difficult, but easier.
It's like with the asanas: It needs to be practiced. Giving it attention might also point in the right direction.

(.....and I wanted to write about kapotasana........next pose.......today or tomorrow)

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