On weekend one of my yoga teacher training course, we looked a lot at the 8 limbs of yoga. After some research, I’ve decided this is something I’d like to try to incorporate into my life starting with the first limb. I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learnt and how I’m going to use it in my life. Now, I’m no expert in this, so if you have your own interpretation or ways of understanding the limbs of yoga – please get in touch!
Limb 1 – The Yamas.
This limb is all about preparing yourself for the following stages of living a yogic life. This is where we have been advised to start; trying to follow the principles for a better life. The Yamas give the moral and ethical guidelines for a yogic life. Below I have given a taster of the 5 Yamas and what they mean to me. It may be that it means something different to you – I’d love to hear your thoughts!
- Ahimsa – Non-Violence
Aside from the obvious – not harming others – this Yama has made me think about what I eat specifically. I am already a vegetarian but I am moving towards a more plant based life where I can. I’ve started using plant milks as a starter but I’m looking into more plant-based living. Something else I’ve started looking into more is cruelty-free beauty products. My friend Toni has introduced me to lots of cruelty free brands and products that aren’t tested on animals is something that’s really important to me.
- Satya – Truthfulness
Everyone has their own truth. This was my biggest lesson from learning about this Yama. You may believe you are telling the truth but everything in life is subjective. Whilst it is important to be honest, sometimes it’s also important to keep quiet. It is also key to be honest with yourself – tell yourself and truth and believe in your truth.
- Asteya – Non-Stealing
Similar to non-violence, this Yama has meaning beyond the obvious. It is also important to be mindful of taking from others – their time, their space, their talking time. Being late, spreading out your things or being messy and talking over people are all examples of ‘stealing’ from others. I know that I’m guilty of some of these things but since learning about Asteya, I’ve tried to think on this more and more.
- Brahmacharya – Control
This, to me, is all about being in control of your actions, your energy and the things you do. It’s also about moderation. Not over-indulging or under-doing anything. Keeping everything in balance!
- Aparigraha – Detachment
This is probably the hardest for me. It’s all about not forming attachments to things, people, places. This means letting go of jealousy and envy because you shouldn’t covet what others have. It also means living in less fear of losing your things or the people in your life because you shouldn’t feel attachment to them. I feel it is almost impossible not to feel attached to your things and the people in your life so I’m not entirely sure how this one will go….
So there you have it, a very simplified version of the Yamas and what they mean to me. I’d love to hear your thoughts and your interpretation and I’ll be adding to my 8 limbs series soon!