There are 8 limbs to a full Yoga practice. Each limb is a complete discipline and a life long journey of learning.
The 8 limbs are; Yama, Niyama, Ãsana, Prãnayãma, Pratyãhãra, Dhãrana, Dhyãna and Samadhi. In this article we’ll look at the Niyamas.
The Niyamas are guide lines for ethical living through Discipline. You are encouraged to cultivate these in your daily life.
The Niyamas are Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishvara Pranidhana.
Saucha – Purity. Taking care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Being aware of your daily habits of thoughts, diet, exercise, life style, environment and social circles.
Doing activities mindfully, with purpose and attention. The act and art of letting go – of judgements, criticism, ego.
Santosha – Contentment. Allow contentment into your life. Don’t force it or be attached to it. Practice self awareness.
Contentment does not some from external things, it is within you.
Don’t allow others to disturb it. It can not be taken from you unless you give it away.
Being grateful for what you have, rather than being frustrated or angry at what you have not. Being conscious, calm and non reactive – not getting involved by allowing our emotions to rule our lives.
Tapas – Discipline. Your practices, your day to day habits and your actions.
Making conscious choices that expand your development, that move you in the direction you want to go in.
Conscious decision making, conscious living. Having the discipline to turn up for yourself day after day and if you waiver, to bring the practice back again.
Svadhyaya – Self study, self awareness, noticing your habits, patterns and projections onto others.
Being aware of your ego, noticing its’ habits and role in your life.
Is your ego driving you or limiting you?
Are you actually aware of your decisions and where they are coming from?
Ishvara Pranidhana –
Devotion and Surrender to something greater than yourself.
Have faith and trust.
Caring deeply about something more than yourself.
Having the courage to be vulnerable. This is the path of Bhakti yoga.
What is the Universe trying to teach you?
Incorporate the Niyamas little by little into your life. You will forget, you will sometimes lack the discipline. This is Being human. This is where the self awareness comes in. This is where you begin again. Practice Ahimsa and start afresh. This is a life long practice not a goal that can be achieved in 10 days. Turn up for yourself again and again. Move your life in the the right direction for you.
When you practice the Niyamas, you build self awareness, you live with integrity, honour and respect. You will shift your life from a reactive one to a proactive one.
Living in a way that brings better decisions for you and your life. Living with purpose moves you towards your balance.
Each limb of Yoga prepares you for the next one.
They are all a lifelong path of learning and practice.
To have a full Yoga practice all 8 limbs will be incorporated into your life.
So what does Going to Yoga mean? Your Yoga is where you are, not just on the mat.
Food for thought…
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