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The Yamas & Niyamas

Yoga's Ethical Practices

· Yoga

In 2021, I've decided to theme each class for the month after one of the 10 Ethical Practices of yoga called the Yamas and Niyamas.  I'm listening to and reading a book about it by Deborah Adele.  

The schedule is:

The Yamas include 5 jewels of wisdom to help guide us on the ethical way to interact with the world around us.  

1- January - Ahimsa:  Nonviolence

2- February - Satya:  Truthfulness

3- March - Asteya:  Nonstealing

4- April - Brahmacharya:  Nonexcess

5- May - Aparigraha: Nonpossessiveness

The Niyamas include 5 jewels of wisdom to help guide us on the ethical way to interact with ourselves.

6- June - Saucha:  Purity

7- July - Santosha: Contentment

8- August - Tapas:  Self-Discipline

9- September - Svadhyaya:  Self-Study

10- October - Ishvara Pranidhana: Surrender

For January 2021 I learned so much about :

Ahimsa: Nonviolence

= Nonviolence asks us to develop courage to release fears

=Create balance and listen to our inner wisdom

=Shift feelings of powerlessness by expressing gratitude, presence in the moment, and concern for others

=Find self-love by forgiving ourselves, finding humor, and developing self-acceptance

=Notice the difference between helping and supporting others

=Develop compassion and kindness

"Ultimately we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others.  And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world."  - Etty Hillesum, holocaust victim, quoted from the book The Yamas & Niyamas, Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice by Deborah Adele.  

Satya:  Truthfulness

*Truth is being real rather than nice

*Truth ask us to uniquely self-express rather than mask our ourselves in self-indulgence

*Truth can challenge our sense of belonging and ask us to grow

*Truth might mean making hard choices

*Truth allows us to save time and energy 

*Truth is fluid and can change over time

*Truth allows us to trust ourselves and others

*Truth has weight and substance

Asteya: Nonstealing

= Avoiding comparing ourselves to others so we aren't stealing from ourselves

= Uplift other people by listening when they are talking to avoid stealing from them

= Developing our own "adikara," our abilities through practice so we can have the things we want in our lives

= Not taking more than we really need so we aren't stealing from others or the earth or our own health through excess

= Finding balance between giving and receiving from others

= Theologian Walter Brueggemann writes that that the bounty of the earth is for the community, not the individual. 

"A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other people, living and dead.  And that I must exert myself in order to give in full measure [what] I have received and am still receiving." - Albert Einstein

Here are the 3 yoga classes I taught using many of the quotes from Deborah Adele's book The Yamas & Niyamas:

Brahmacharya:  Nonexcess

+ When we fall into excess it's likely because of an emotion that as tied us to food or an activity

+ Allowing our selves times of rest can allow us to come back into the wonder of world 

+ Learning to recognize how much is enough

+ Enjoying all the pleasures of life but not allowing our selves to overindulge to the point of discomfort, pain, and disease

+ Lightening our loads by only taking as much as we need and parting with things we don't need anymore:  this means it's a good time for Spring Cleaning!

Santosha: Contentment

Saucha: Purity

Aparigraha: Nonpossessiveness

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