New to it All: the Yamas of Yoga pt. 4


Happy Sunday you beautiful people! I hope you have all had the weekend that you needed.

On this fine day we will look into Brahmacharya: Moderation and Use of Energy, the fourth principle in the Yamas. But lets check back first to what we already know.
Review:

-The Yamas are 5 basic ethical principles to live by. Things we can do everyday to improve our happiness and the happiness of the people around us.

-The first principle, Ahimsa, is Non-Violence. It means more than just not being cruel to those around us. It means we should always be considerate of those around us. Those around us and actually every little thing on this earth including ourselves!

-The second principle, Satya, is Truthfulness. Speak your truth with good intentions. Be honest with yourself about how you feel, you are allowed to feel however it is that you do. When we are first honest with ourselves it becomes easier to speak our truth to the world.

-The third principle, Asteya, is Non-Stealing. This means of course to never take something that doesn’t belong to you. But that “something” does not just mean a physical possession. That “something” also means time, moments, energy etc.
Brahmacharya: Proper use of Energy and Moderation seem like completely different things but really work hand-in-hand.

Brahmacharya is literally translated from Sanskrit to English as celibacy. Way back in the day, Yogis were encouraged to save their sexual energy and use it as a tool to become closer to the Divine. Honestly in our day and age this concept is simply unrealistic, but there is still a way to use our energy constructively on our paths to enlightenment. Moderation! By moderating our intake of pleasurable substances, experiences etc., we can harvest the energy that remains and use it to become closer to your Divine Power. As my sweet dear Grandmother used to say “Everything in moderation”. She was so wise!

I’m sure you’ve noticed how too much of something you enjoy can turn bad. For example how too much fun in the sun will make your skin burn like hell fire or how too many drinky poos on Friday night can ruin your entire weekend. The aftermath of these over consumptions uses up our good energy to heal our bodies. Which is actually a good thing BUT it’s heal our bodies from something bad that could have been easily prevented if only we would have sat in the shade or gone home at a reasonable hour. When we practice moderation we can store up that good energy and use it to our advantage, as we choose and not just to try and sooth out aches and pains!

It happens too often that we become victims to our senses. We smell something good and we have to eat it, we see something pretty and we have to have it. By living life this way we become greedy and unhappy. If we always want something we will never truly be satisfied with what we already have, and for most of us what we already have is more than enough!

Try to live the purist life possible for you. I’m not saying don’t indulge sometimes; enjoy the small things! But try to keep your senses in check but appreciating all the great things you already have by living in the moment. Be present and mindful!

Hope you stop by tomorrow for the last for the 5 Yamas. Have a beautiful day! 
Namaste, Katy

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New to it All: the Yamas of Yoga pt. 3 

Hi everyone! I’m glad you’re back!
 
Today I’ll talk a little bit about the third Yama, which is Asteya: Non-Stealing. But first a look back at what we’ve already learnt!
 
Review:
The Yamas are 5 basic ethical principles to live by. Things we can do everyday to improve our happiness and the happiness of the people around us.
-The first principle, Ahimsa, is Non-Violence. It means more than just not being cruel to those around us. It means we should always be considerate of those around us. Those around us and actually every little thing on this earth including ourselves!
-The second principle, Satya, is Truthfulness. Speak your truth with good intentions. Be honest with yourself about how you feel, you are allowed to feel however it is that you do. When we are first honest with ourselves it becomes easier to speak our truth to the world.
 
Now a little bit about the third principle Asteya: Non-Stealing.
 
Asteya
seems simple right? Don’t break into someone’s home and steal his or her possessions. Done. Oh but wait there’s more!


Asteya
holds the belief that not listening to someone as they confide in you is theft; you are stealing their time.

Making someone run around after you is theft; you are stealing their energy.

Butting in when someone else receives praise for a job well done is theft; you are stealing their moment.

There are so many ways that we steal from each other everyday that I had personally never thought about before. The one that struck me in a particularly sensitive spot was stealing moments. I find that when others are complimented for something I can do just as well I become jealous. This happens often and I despise it. Over my time at Marina Yoga I believe I discovered why this happens to me. It starts with me needing some sort of validation from others, that’s obvious. But why? Because I never ever gave myself the validation that I needed. I have never once accomplished something and honestly told myself that I did a good job, or that I am proud of myself. I just move on and hope that maybe someone else will tell me I’ve done well. 

What I was doing all this time was actually stealing from myself! By just brushing things off and never appreciating myself and my hard work I stole my own ability to feel accomplished and proud. Since I’ve come to this realization I’ve been making a conscious effort to acknowledge my accomplishments on a daily basis. I’ve been allowing myself to feel proud of myself about the little things and I’ll tell you it feels great!
 Some ways to practice Asteya on a daily basis are just as I mentioned above. Tell yourself that you’ve done well, don’t wait for someone else to notice. Allow yourself to be proud! And when it comes to not stealing from others, think more about how you can give back, instead of how you can profit the most. Selflessness and key.

Next stop principle 4…until then I wish you all a fantastic day full of true love and kindness!

Namaste, Katy.
 
 

New to it All: the Yamas of Yoga pt. 2

Good day everyone, I hope the sun is shining on you wherever you are and that your heart is full of love!

Yesterday I started talking about the Yamas, or step 1 of Patanjalis 8 Limbed Path to Yoga, which are ethical guidelines of how to live everyday purely! By applying these 5 disciplines to our every day lives we can begin to cultivate compassion for others, we become honest and we feel gratitude. And when we are compassionate, honest and grateful we are simply happier! And why not be happier?

Review: Characteristic 1 of the Yamas is Ahimsa (Non-Violence). Ahimsa tells us not to harm or be cruel to any living thing, including ourselves. Not even that annoying mosquito that is about to bite you, or that scary spider in the corner of your bedroom. We show compassion to everything no matter if we particularly like it or not. We must always be considerate of the feelings of others.

Moving on to characteristic 2. Satya: Truthfulness! How exciting 🙂

Satya simply means to speak the truth. But we all know that the truth can hurt sometimes therefore balancing Ahimsa and Satya can be tricky.

We need to first think about what we will say aloud. Consider what, how and when we say things and if we decide that it will unnecessary harm someone we keep it to ourselves. “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” wise words from Disney’s beloved Thumper.

But what if you have something honest to say that could hurt someone’s feelings now but in the long run will help them out? For example telling a girlfriend she is being too needy with her new boyfriend and that she should back off and live her own life. No one likes to be told they’re needy, aka annoying, but if she were to take this advice, take her life back and stop catering to him, she would end up a lot happier! Some say this is going against Ahimsa and therefore you should keep your mouth shut. I think do it, hurt a friend to help them. Just be sure that your intentions are good! It sucks at first but they will thank you later. Remember to always always be considerate of HOW you bring up these problematic issues. Sometimes just how one says something is hurtful, when the message itself is actually not so bad.

Satya is also about finding your own truth. What is important and meaningful to you? What do you believe in? Do you believe what others tell you or do you formulate your own beliefs? What are your morals and priorities? Try your best to find your truth by doing the things that make you happy, for example, spend time with those you truly care about or take time to enjoy your hobbies. Most importantly be honest with yourself without judgment of your thoughts, wants and needs!

What could the third Yama be? Come back tomorrow to find out 😉

Now go out and enjoy this beautiful day and find your truth!

Namaste, Katy

New to it all: the Yamas of Yoga pt. 1

There is so much about yoga that I never knew! Even after attending classes in studios all over the world for the last 3 years I was unaware of mostly everything that yoga is. Of course I knew yoga was spiritual and that’s one the reason why I fell in love with it. To connect your mind, body and spirit through the moving meditation that is the posture practice really feels incredible. To be separate from your thoughts for even a moment can give you so much clarity. You learn that you are not what you think; you are the observer of your thoughts. With this knowledge you can see your thoughts more clearly, objectively and without judgment.

Anyways that is something I already knew about yoga. Something that I didn’t know is that the posture practice that we in North America think is yoga is actually only 1 of 8 steps to achieving the balance and good health that yoga offers. In fact the postures or “asana” in Sanskrit are only step 3 out of 8, not even high up on the list! But that doesn’t matter because in the end all of the steps work together to create the harmony in us that I believe we all long for. These 8 steps are known as The 8 Limbs of Yoga and were written by a person (not sure if they were a man, woman or possibly a whole group of people) known as Patanjali in a sacred text called The Yoga Sutras in around 200 A.D.

The 8 Limbs are really a lifestyle choice. A lifestyle choice that makes the connection between man and God, or man and a higher power, or man and the universe, or whatever you want to call it, possible!

In my teacher training course at Marina Yoga and Reiki in Ao Nang, Krabi, Thailand we dove especially deep into the first 2 Limbs of the 8 Limbed Path known as Yamas and Niyamas which can be explained as basic ethical principles to live by. They are fairly simple concepts that should come to us naturally but that we all struggle with everyday.

In the course we spent a great deal of time taking only about the Yamas, which can be outlines as Virtues of Universal Mortality. I see them as the things we should all strive to do everyday to make the world a better place! There are 5 characteristics of the Yamas, which are Ahimsa (Non-Violence), Satya (Truthfulness), Asteya (Non-Stealing), Brahmacharya (Moderation) and Aparigraha (Non-Possessiveness).

Today we’ll talk a bit about Ahimsa, Non-Violence. Should be obvious right? Don’t be violent, don’t be mean. Easy peasy. No no no my friend it’s a little bit deeper. Ahimsa means more than simply not hurting or being cruel to those around you. It implies that we should consciously be kind and thoughtful of others. In every situation we must adopt a considerate attitude toward every living being.

“Any thought, word, or action that prevents us – or any other living being – from growing or living freely is harmful”. Notice how this quote states “us” before “any other living being”. I think this is the trickiest part of practicing Ahimsa. Non-violence towards ourselves! It is so easy to thing badly about ourselves, unfortunately it is natural and we all do it.

Imagine if instead of putting ourselves down and thinking “you’re so stupid” or “you could have done that better, try harder next time” we replaced these negative thoughts with kind, loving thoughts like “no matter what I AM ENOUGH” or “good try, you’ll get it next time”. If we can stop the violence as it starts in the mind we can move through life as peaceful beings and the world would truly be a better place.

Come back tomorrow as I will dig a little deeper into the rest of the Yamas 🙂

I wish you the best day possible filled with love, compassion and pure joy!

Namaste, Katy