Within last week’s blog post: Letting in the New, I wrote about Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the Eight Fold Path. Patanjali offers guidelines to help you cleanse the body and mind in order to lead a more meaningful and purposeful life by following an eight limbed path. One limb of that path is the Yamas.
One of the five Yamas I focused on was Aparigraha: non-covetousness/non-hoarding. By allowing yourself permission to let go of those things that no longer serve you, you lessen the burdens in your life. The less clutter you have in your life the more meaningful life becomes. The more you practice Aparigraha the more you will come to understand that Aparigraha embodies the idea of letting good things come to you.
Not only does this apply to actual physical things, but also to our own thinking. Getting stuck in old patterns of belief can become very harmful. As we age it is necessary to continually re-evaluate old thought patterns based on the new knowledge we have gained; although sometimes thought patterns are so ingrained in our sub-conscience that we hardly question them. Thus it is necessary to always be in a state of awareness; to live in a state of acting not re-acting. Allowing yourself a moment to breathe, step back and look at the situation with new eyes. Ask yourself why you are feeling the way you are, is it because of something in the past or are you truly in the moment. Allowing yourself to let go of old patterns opens you up to new ways of relating.
I also mentioned that Sophie Legrand discussed Brahmacharya in her post titled “Browse with Moderation”. She discusses the concept of Brahmacharya: sensory control; not giving into the ego’s excessive demands & striving to live a balanced life, without squandering precious energy.
Further to the above two Yamas there is Ahimsa: nonviolence.
Ahimsa refers to not only the abstention of physical violence but also discouraging violent words or thoughts. It is necessary to be actively aware of our thoughts and interactions with ourselves and others in order to eliminate these destructive behaviours. Remember that thoughts become actions and actions eventually become behaviours.
To truly practice Ahimsa one needs to participate in the practices of compassion, love, understanding, patience, self-love and worthiness. First and foremost it is necessary to begin with oneself. You cannot be patient or understanding or compassionate with others if you haven’t first started with yourself. It begins from within. It is only from the love of oneself that you understand that ultimately there is no separation between you and me. To do violence to you is to do violence to me.
Starting with little baby steps, such as on your mat, be kind to yourself. The body is always changing; what you were able to do one day you might not be able to do the next. Just try to believe that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Practice forgiveness within yourself so that you can give that to others. This patience and understand that you give to yourself on your mat will naturally flow into other aspects of your life given time.