Welcome to my blog, So You Think You Can Yoga?® First, a bit about myself. I am a professional ballet dancer and registered yoga instructor from Los Angeles, CA. Now a bit about this blog. So You Think You Can Yoga?® is a unique potpourri of yoga, philosophy, anatomy, movement, dance and seemingly everyday experiences derived from my life as a movement professional. So You Think You Can Yoga?® is an evolution of one yogic thought, event or experience into the next. I hope you will join me as I embark on this yogic journey...who knows where we might end up!
|The Eight Limbed Path, Try It|
|Written by Susy Vishmid|
|Wednesday, 06 October 2010 05:23|
Human nature is such that if we desire something, we will find a way to obtain that special something. Usually, this entails vinyasa krama or a logical progression of events . “Vi” means “to arrange” and “nysasa” means “in a particular manner.” Krama translates into “steps” we take in order to usefully execute a vinyasa. So it isn’t surprising that yoga offers us the Eightfold Path towards physical and spiritual enlightenment. The yoga sutras of the sage Patanjali dates back to around 200AD and is perhaps the savviest psychology I’ve tried on. Intellectually combing through the eight-limbed path is almost like peeling off the layers of an onion as it moves from simple, gross and tangible towards complex, subtle and intangible. The Eight Limbs of yoga emphasize that despite our human desires to obtain this or that, we learn the most not from attaining the desired end but from the voyage we took to arrive at our goal.
Without further adieu, here are the Eight Limbs of Yoga (my commentary included):
1) Yamas- Abstentions. Our attitudes and relationships with others. There are five
a) ahimsa- non-harm/violence towards self or others.
b) satya- truthfulness
c) asteya- non-stealing
d) bramacarya- abstinence. A movement towards the “essential.” (most commonly understood in the context of sexuality. Applicable to other areas of life also)
e)aparigraha-take only what’s necessary and exercise non-greed.
2) Niyamas- Observances. Our internal relationship with self. There are five.
a) sauca-inner/outer cleanliness. Asana and pranayama are modalities for maintaining sauca.
b) santosha-contentment with and acceptance of whatever arises; modesty.
c) tapas-keeping the body fit via asana, breath and food. Invokes a physical purging or burning of the unclean and unnecessary. (not to be confused with Tapas, the aperitif in Spanish and other Mediterranean cuisine)
d) svadhyaya-self-study. A closer awareness of self.
e) isvarapranidhana-Laying your actions at the foot of the Divine. Detach from the outcome or “fruits of your labor” and perform your duties for the sake of the Divine.
3) Asana-Postures (as in the physical yoga postures)
4) Pranayama-Breath control/retention.
5) Pratyahara-Sense Withdrawal (try closing your eyes or plugging your ears. Try both at the same time!)
6) Dharana-Concentration of attention on one point or one thing.
7) Dhyana-Meditation. Meditate on whatever you’ve chosen to place your focus on.
8) Samadhi-Contemplation; a transcendental state of consciousness. (Note that Samadhi isn’t enlightenment in and of itself. It’s a temporary state of mind ascertained by thorough self-observation. It’s not uncommon to experience “mini samadhis” as your capacity for self-observation improves.