Yoga off the mat
Updated: Jun 28, 2022
While we all enjoy the physical practice of yoga, it is important for us to connect with the other aspects of yoga and honour the traditional teaching. In doing so we will feel the true benefits of yoga in both our practice and our lives.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra - one of the foundational texts of yoga - describes the eight limbs of yoga as the eightfold path to enlightenment.
Our regular group classes do contain elements of the eight limbs of yoga however, we are keen to share all eight of these limbs with you in a more in depth way.
The eight limbs are:
1. The Yamas - moral disciplines, codes to enable us to become more authentic
Ahimsa - non-violence, towards others, ourselves, and nature. Choosing kindness in our thoughts and actions towards ourselves and others.
Satya - truthfulness, being honest with ourselves and others.
Asteya - non-stealing, the craving for artificial needs and addressing the root cause of that.
Brahmacharya - the right use of energy, directing away from external desires and instead towards happiness within ourselves.
Aparigraha - non-greed/attachment, to take only what serves us, and to let go of what does not.
2. The Niyamas - observances, recommended habits
Saucha - cleanliness, in your body, your mind, and your diet.
Santosha - contentment, appreciation of what we have and what we are, now.
Tapas - discipline, creating time for our practice.
Svadhyaya - self study, becoming more aware of our thoughts, our body and our breath.
Isvara Pranidhara - surrendering, trusting in the universe.
3. Asana - the physical postures
This is what most people recognise as "yoga", that is the poses we see. They were created to enable us to sit comfortably in meditation.
We move in the physical practice as both a moving meditation but also a way to release our bodies so that we can sit in meditation without aches or pains.
4. Pranayama - the life force
This is our breath. The restriction and control, along with the freedom and expansion. Working with the breath has a real impact on our bodies and our minds. There are so many breath work practices to be explored.
5. Pratyahara - sense withdrawal
This is a practice of changing our state of mind so that we are completely absorbed in our meditation without outside distractions, enabling us to become completely present.
6. Dharana - concentration
This is the art of focusing, for instance when using visualisation or breathing techniques while meditating - concentrating intently.
7. Dhyana - meditation
To become completely absorbed in our meditation, rather than relying on techniques offered to assist with the focus.
8. Samadhi - enlightenment
The state of bliss. To see without disturbance from our minds. To experience without labels and attachments.