In July we begin a 10 month study of the Yamas and Niyamas. There are 5 Yamas and 5 Niyamas, so we will spend a month on each.
The Yamas can be defined as touch stones to inform and guide our relationship with ourselves and the external world around us. The Niyamas offer guidance and wisdom to skillfully take care of our more subtle internal world. These teachings come from The Yoga Sutra by the sage Patanjali, written at least 1,7000 years ago.
The Yoga Sutra is a guidebook to classic yoga, laying out 8 limbs. This 8 fold path begins with the Yamas and Niyamas (described above); followed by asana (physical postures), pranayama (breath work), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), samadhi (an ongoing unshakeable state of Pure Awareness).
I'm really excited about sharing these teachings and exploring them together! That the Sutras are over 1,700 years old and still totally relevant and relatable speaks to their power and universality. Getting to know the 8 limbs of yoga, experientially, as we talk about each and apply them in class will help us all evolve our practice, on and off the mat.
The first Yama is ahimsa. Defined as non-violence. This is step one in a skillful yoga practice; being aware of ways that we hurt ourselves and others. In small ways and big ways. In our thoughts, words and actions. As we bring awareness to these harmful habits and patterns, they begin to dissolve. More thoughts on ahimsa later in the month...