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Category: Yoga Philosophy

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Yoga Philosophy

Notes on Purification (Saucha, the First Niyama)

This month, the Gentle Yogis community-time conversation made a transition. In The Yamas and Niyamas, Debra Adele describes the shift from the Yamas to the Niyamas as being similar to a shift from creating an adult relationship with others to creating an adult relationship with ourselves. We began this past month to explore the Niyamas. The Niyamas are considered guidance for how to approach personal practice. There are two ways to approach the sequence of the five Niyamas. There is a genius to the sequence as listed in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra; we studied Saucha/Purification in November and will proceed with Santosha/Contentment in December.

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Yoga Philosophy

Aparigraha: Releasing My Grip

What an incredible journey! These past few months have been an immense process of self-study and self-discovery. With each new yama I wonder which unseen or long forgotten part of myself I will encounter next.

First, we began with ahimsa, do no harm in thought, word or deed. Ahimsa invites me to ask, may my thoughts, words and deeds be kind to others and most importantly to myself. May this study of the yamas and niyamas be a kind journey, shining the light of awareness as guided by this ancient text, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. We have been taking these steps with compassionate self-observation as Swami Kripalu has suggested as best we can.

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woman feeling peaceful and content in anjali mudra
Yoga Philosophy

What do I need? How much is enough? (Brahmacharya – Moderation)

For community time after the Breath Practice each day, we are in month four of a fascinating journey into the exploration of the Yamas and Niyamas. This month we have opened the treasure chest of Brahmacharya. It has not disappointed. We’ve been surprised and challenged. Brahmacharya’s meaning includes moderation, non-excess, energy management and its translation is “walking towards creation.” I think of it as gathering energy, avoiding wasting energy, to serve my vitality and the highest good.

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puppy not practicing asteya non-stealing
Yoga Philosophy

Asteya, What Do You Have to Teach Me?

Our exploration of Asteya began with stories of childhood and adolescent petty larceny. Shoplifting. Stealing from Dad’s wallet. Taking money from that pumping gas job. The blurred boundaries of the college years when sharing drifted into rationalized taking, “he doesn’t need that as much as I do.” One person shared that “we used to call it ‘stealing from the man,’ reflecting a common attitude that a corporation takes more than it gives.
And, don’t forget tax loopholes, pay phone coin returns and illegal parking.

We acknowledged some regret, remorse, humility, a bit of shame. Yet, we were unaware that we hadn’t really begun the deep exploration of non-stealing that was about to evolve.

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trees over river
Yoga Philosophy

Exploring Satya…Truth

Is there anything to be learned from the thousands-of-years-old Yamas and Niyamas? Last month we began with Ahimsa,  do no harm in thought word or

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Science of Yoga & Breath

What is Pranayama?

In The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, one of the essential texts for serious yoga students, the Eight-Limb path is prescribed as an approach to relieve

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