WELLBEING – the Path of yoga
Only if you support
can you function
at a high level
The word¬†yoga¬†means¬†union¬†‚Äď of the atma with paramatma, jiva with Shiva, a drop with the ocean.
On the path of yoga, the¬†first goal is Self-realization, leading to the¬†second goal of union¬†with the all-permeating, ever-being source of consciousness and life. Centuries ago, the great Hindu sage¬†Patanjali¬†laid out a kind of map‚ÄĒone that suggests not just asana and dhyana but also attitudes and behaviors‚ÄĒto help you¬†chart your own course¬†to contentment. Patanjali‚Äôs Yoga Sutras include an eightfold path of classical yoga (or hatha yoga), which suggests a program of ethical restraints or abstentions (yamas, 5), lifestyle observances (niyamas, 5), postures (asanas), breath control (pranayama), withdrawal of the senses (pratyahara ), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and absorption into the Divine (Samadhi ). They are designed to lead you, step-by-step, toward everlasting contentment.
The first two steps of the path the five yamas and five niyamas are about avoiding behaviors that produce suffering
and difficulty, and embracing those that lead to states of happiness. They are invitations to act in ways that promote
inner and outer peace and bliss.
The five yamas:
- Ahimsa- nonharming: look at all the attitudes you have that might be keeping you from feeling at peace. Write down your five most negative thoughts and hold your negativity in your consciousness while stepping back from it a bit. Just creating some space for these thoughts and feelings, noticing the negativity will help you stop feeding the thoughts and will lead you toward peace. When you incorporate the understanding of karma, then you learn to be careful about the seeds that you are about to saw for times to come.
- Satya ‚Äď truthfulness: Am I speaking the truth? Am I just giving my opinion, filtered through my mind and all my prejudices?. Satya requires that you consider both the spoken and unspoken aspects of your words, being honest to yourself. Use your words wisely, examine them at the root level and learn to express yourself so, that your words elevate.
- Asteya ‚Äď nonstealing: this is not just about money, clothes, food, and other tangible stuff. You can steal someone’s time if you are late. You can steal someone’s energy. You can steal someone’s happiness. You can steal someone else’s ideas if you represent them as your own. Also focus on what you consume and what you pay back to nature. Consider what you truly need and refrain from letting your desires persuade you to take more than that.
- Brahmacharya ‚Äď energy moderation: Brahmacharya asks you to consider how you spend your energy. It is not just about sexual behavior, but preventing the dissipation of one’s energy through the misuse of the senses. Too much talking, overeating, violent movies – all drain your energy.
- Apigraha ‚Äď nongrasping: Do I really need this or am I just accumulating stuff? When you bond of attachment with material possessions, you begin to identify yourself with it. Apigraha goes for nonmaterial ideas and attitudes as well – If you are hanging on to old beliefs about yourself or your relationships, or clinging to a career that no longer serves you. When you fill yourself up, then there is no space left for new anymore, the flow of life and energy will stop.
The five niyamas:
- Saucha- purity: involves keeping things clean, inside and out, both physical and mental hygiene. You want to keep your thoughts uncluttered, keep your body and environment in order. As physical orderliness can also affect the mind, get rid of clutter, clean your surroundings & simplify your life. Dhyana is a practice to clean the mind of confronting beliefs, create more complexity and orderliness.
- Santosha ‚Äď Contentment: is really about accepting life as it is. Life will throw all sorts of things at you, be welcoming of what you get and learn to make the most of it. Contentment is not something you can just turn on ‚Äď you can invite it by having the right attitude. If you release your mind from constantly wanting your situation to be different, you’ll stop the never-ending comparison between what you have and what you want to have, ultimately finding more ease.
- Tapas ‚Äď right effort: translated also as “self-discipline,” “effort,” or “internal fire,” and the Yoga Sutra suggests that when tapas is in action, the heat it generates will burn away the impurities. Tapas is the willingness to do the work, which means developing discipline, enthusiasm, and a burning desire to learn. You can apply tapas to anything you want to see happen in your life: playing an instrument, changing your diet, cultivating an attitude of loving kindness, contentment, or non-judgment. The effort you use when you engage tapas is directed toward cultivating healthful habits and breaking unhealthful ones, thus freeing yourself from suffering.
- Svadhaya ‚Äďself-study: begins with asking the eternal question: Who am I? When you practice self-observation, you begin to uncover and address the unconscious patterns governing your life. When you realize that you are not your body nor your senses, disidentify, you can get in touch with your essence‚ÄĒthe part of you that’s pure and free from aging, disease, and decay. It also means the study of sacred texts to develop the wisdom.
- Ishvara Pranidama ‚Äď surrender to the Highest. Yoga Sutra says that the highest happiness comes only from a love of, communion with, and surrender to, God. ‚ÄúIf I were to set aside my ordinary worldview of Me & Them and look from the perspective of Me & God, what would I see then?‚ÄĚ Then everything and everyone becomes a teacher ‚Äď ‚ÄúWhat is the guidance in this for me?