Our hope in providing a studio theme at Kula each month is to deepen your understanding of the philosophy behind yoga, so you can start living yoga both on and off the mat. The practice of yoga is an art and science dedicated to creating union between the body, mind and spirit. Our October focus is Yamas, or ethical rules.
What are Yamas?
At the beginning of classical yoga, Patanjali has 8 different “limbs”, creating a structural framework for yoga practice. The first limb is the 5 Yamas, ethical rules or social contracts. Yamas are suggestions given on how we should deal with people around us and our attitude towards ourselves.
The yamas are broken into 5 “characteristics” rather than dos and don’ts.
The Yamas tell us that our fundamental nature is compassionate, generous, honest and peaceful. ~ Donna Farhi
The 5 Yamas are:
- Ahimsa ~ non-violence, compassion for all living things
- Satya ~ commitment to truthfulness
- Asteya ~ non-stealing
- Brahmacharya ~ non-excess
- Aparigraha ~ non-hoarding
Yamas on the mat
Think of Yamas as a moral compass. Whilst they may be dense in information, they are in fact simplistic by nature and can benefit us both on and off the mat.
If you think truth, you speak truth, you live truth. ~ B.K.S. Iyengar
On the mat the Yamas are an internal exploration of ourselves, learning to be kind to our own being. We can learn from these tools by applying them to our daily practice of yoga.
To practice Ahimsa be conscious of your inner negative thoughts, choosing to give yourself love and kindness. Remain true to yourself by practicing Satya, not rushing the process but honouring the level you’re at, whether that be a particular pose or your practice in general. Honour Asteya by focusing on you and only you, don’t allow someone else’s practice to be your guide. Practice Brahmacharya or honouring your body, listening to your body and practicing what it needs rather than what the ego desires. To practice Aparigraha, let go and trust the process.
Yamas in life
The practice of Yamas is just as important off the mat as it is on.
Being kind to yourself in life not just in your vinyasa practice. Honour your body not just through yoga but through the way you treat yourself in every day life, through diet, exercise, balance and self-care. All the qualities that you apply to your time on the mat can be applied to how you treat yourself and others in daily life.
For more tips on how to explore the yamas on and off the mat, read our past blogs on each ~ Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya, Aparigraha.
About the author: Andy Broadbear is a qualified yoga teacher & therapist, who specialises in pre + postnatal yoga, and studio assistant at Kula. She is also a mum of two, health & wellness blogger and hobby photographer.
Kula Yoga has a beautiful hot yoga studio on Camberwell Rd, Hawthorn, Melbourne. Kula offers ‘Hot Yoga’ classes for detoxification, dynamic poweryoga ‘Flow Yoga’ as well as a gentle ‘Light Yin Yoga’ option. Beginners through to advanced students are welcome to all classes. Kula also provides prenatal & postnatal yoga classes, and provides Melbourne workplaces with group corporate yoga programs to build employee health, fitness and wellbeing, and school yoga programs. Kula also runs an annual ‘Kula Cruise’ yoga retreat sailing from Bali to Lombok & the Gili Islands. Find out more on our website www.kulayoga.com.au. Or follow us:
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