Most of us who practice yoga are familiar with yoga asana, which are the poses we do in yoga. But what some people don’t know is that asana is just one of 8 Limbs of Yoga defined by Patanjali, who is attributed to be the creator of yoga. Patanjali’s eight limbs describe categories or steps that together create the whole system called yoga. No one element is more important than another. They work together to create a union between body, mind, and spirit.
For the next eight weeks, we will be explaining and exploring one limb from Patanjali’s eight-fold path through links to helpful articles around the web. Each article will be chosen to give the ancient practice of yoga relevance in our modern live. We hope these round-ups will help inform and expand your yoga practice to embrace all eight limbs and perhaps bring a more integrative experience to your current yoga practice.
The Yamas are the first limb, and they are made up of five characteristics. The yamas ask us to take a look at our attitudes towards things and people outside of ourselves and to review our moral virtues. The yamas remind us that our true nature is compassionate, generous, honest, and peaceful. Practicing the yamas contribute to the health and happiness of ourselves and society.
- AHIMSA. Ahimsa translates as “nonviolence.” It also implies that we should bring kindness and thoughtful consideration to every situation.
- SATYA. Satya means “to speak the truth.” Truthfulness must be balanced with kindness, however. In other words, it must not ever conflict with Ahimsa. This concept discourages deliberate deception, exaggerations, and untruths that harm others.
Honesty: The Word Keeps Getting Lonelier (Elephant Journal)
- ASTEYA. Often referred to as “nonstealing,” Asteya also implies not taking advantage of what does not belong to us. This can be others’ time, attention, or information. Becoming conscious of how we pull at other people’s time or energy when it’s not freely given is part of the practice of cultivating Asteya.
In Relationships Are You A Giver or a Taker? (MindBodyGreen)
- BRAHMACHARYA. Brahmacharya suggests responsible behavior in regards to our sexual energy, not only because it affects how we connect with our spiritual self, but also because it has potential to harm others.
Sex vs. Character: What Do We Teach Our Girls? (Huffington Post)
- APARIGRAHA. Aparigraha speaks to the ability to let go of our attachment to things, to find contentment with what we have, and only taking what we have earned. It encourages us to sit with impermanence and change and realize they are the only constants in this life.
Happiness vs. Contentment (Yahoo Shine)