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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Yamas & Niyamas

As most of you have often heard me state during centering, that your practice should embrace ahimsa (non-violence) and satya (truthfulness). Of the yamas (simplified: how we conduct oursleves) and niyamas (our spiritual observances), these two resonant with me the most.

I've always been in a competitive environment, whether academically or professionally, this eventually transcended into everything I did. Basically, operating almost every waking moment on overdrive, like alot of us today. When I first started actively practicing yoga, I headed for Bikram, power, dabbled in kickboxing combined with yoga (how is that for conflict of ideologies!). If it didn't make me ache, sweat, left bruises, it just wasn't worth the effort.

Through contact with some pretty profound yogis, it slowly dawned on me that playing tug of war with myself to assume an asana, was feeding my ego, but wasn't feeding my spirit. So, I started to slowly embrace ahimsa, now it's part of who I am. Some days my personal practice is pretty gentle-I am not tryng to prove anything to myself. As for satya, we are all different in how our bodies move. So, some asanas for me are a work in progress-I have my favourites, but accept those asanas, which I must keep working towards.

I am always thrilled when I see students assume an asana they've been working towards, knowing that they have achieved this by listening to what their body is or has been telling them-practicing ahimsa and satya.

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