December 4th, 2013
By Manduka Ambassador Brian Hyman
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali were compiled thousands of years ago as a collection of 196 teachings about yoga. The Sutras are divided into four sections: Contemplation, Practice, Accomplishments, and Absoluteness. Within the Practice portion of this revered yogic text, the yamas and niyamas are discussed.
Yamas are moral instructions; niyamas are self-disciplines. When these 10 timeless lessons are combined and observed, a path toward inner and outer transformation is forged. When the yamas and niyamas are practiced with sincerity, illumination is the reward.
The following interpretations of the yamas and niyamas are drawn from my personal experience as a yoga teacher and student. I have practiced them to the best of my ability in all areas of my life for many years. This has been a path of spiritual progress, rather than spiritual perfection. Fortunately, there is no right or wrong way to practice these ethical precepts and personal observances.
Let us look now at these ancient guidelines as a present-day roadmap to joy, happiness, and freedom. Let us pick up these spiritual tools laid out at our feet and use them to create a gateway to peace. And let us practice these principles in all of our affairs to find balance, serenity, and overall well-being in the present moment, and especially during the upcoming holiday season.
1) Ahimsa – non-violence or non-harm toward all beings, animals, and nature. Ahimsa is to replace violent states of mind with contrary thoughts and actions.
2) Satya – truthfulness or authenticity. Satya is to consider how we speak to others; it is to strive for honest communication at all times. Satya is to no longer keep secrets or tell half-truths.
3) Asteya – non-stealing. Asteya is to not take what is not given, hoard objects, misappropriate affections, or misuse others’ time. It is to not borrow items for prolonged periods, use objects for divergent purposes, or enter into debt.
4) Brahmacharya – proper use of sexual energy. Brahmacharya is to be responsible within intimate relationships; to respect oneself and others. Brahmacharya is to avoid depletion of vital energy, which results in fatigue and inability to focus.
5) Aparigraha – non-greed or non-hoarding. Aparigraha is to not amass goods that are inessential for survival. Aparigraha teaches trust for the abundant nature of the universe. Aparigrahareleases attachments and encourages preservation.
1) Saucha – purity or cleanliness. Saucha is to purify the inner and outer body. Yoga and meditation are means to accomplish this objective.
2) Santosha – contentment. Santosha is to abide in a peaceful state, no longer attached to people, places, or things as sources of happiness or disillusionment. Neither success nor failure harms a contented person.
3) Tapas – inner fire. Tapas is disciplined use of energy. Tapas rids impurities from the mind and body. Tapas develops restraint and moderates craving and attachment.
4) Svadhyaya – self-study. Svadhyaya is to cultivate self-awareness. Svadhyaya is to examine individual purpose and discover the Atman, or Inner Self.
5) Isvarapranidhana – surrender to God (or the Divine in infinite forms). Isvarapranidhana is to devote time and energy toward contemplation of God (or the Divine). It is to surrender Egoic thoughts and self-will. When we become one with our Creator, fear no longer exists.
What is your experience with the yamas and niyamas? Please feel free to share your thoughts below.
Sending blessings of health, love, and light from my heart to yours. Happy holidays!
November 1st, 2013
Over the past 8 weeks, we’ve asked you to Go There with us. To that place a little outside our comfort zone, where we boldly dare to let ourselves come out to play, explore and grow. To Go There is a powerful thing, and nearly 1,900 of you did through photos shared on Instagram and Facebook.
In this last theme, we explored Going There through self-care: INDULGE. An indulgence is a gift. It restores, uplifts and allows us the peace to play. Here are some of your indulgent moments:
Here is the photo from our winner, @annlevine who won a decadent PRO Squared Mat, blocks, and towels.
@annlevine - Winner!
And here are some of our other favorites!
It’s an honor to be part of your practice.
October 18th, 2013
This Fall is about returning to YOU, allowing yourself to indulge and provide that self care that you so greatly deserve. It’s about giving yourself permission to receive, taking in a quite moment and welcoming delicious and decadent goodness into your life, body and practice.
Over the past two weeks we’ve been lucky enough to receive a glimpse of how our yoga community embraces the moment, welcomes life with open arms and proudly accepts and embraces their uniqueness.
Thank you to all who opened their hearts and shared your inspiring stories with us.
Here is a photo of our winner, @Kaysqui embracing herself as a US soldier and yogi and a few of our other favorite #LetsGoThere Instagrams:
@Kaysqui - Winner!
Over the next two weeks, we’d love to see how you pamper yourself and give into your indulgent dreams and wishes. Tag your Instagram photos with #LetsGoThere and @MandukaYoga so we can see your journey. We will be selecting a winner to receive a luxurious home yoga sanctuary of their own – The PRO Squared, two unBLOKs, and two eQua hand yoga towels.
#LetsGoThere and Practice On,
October 4th, 2013
This Fall, we’re asking the yoga community to Go There. And Go There, you have! We have seen you thrive, and we have seen your verve. Now it’s time to change the pace and embrace the moment.
Two weeks ago we asked you to Go There by showing us how you life a life full of enthusiasm, and how you go beyond your barriers. Here are a few of our favorite photos from our theme, VERVE, including the photo from our winner, @mars_adventure, who will take home our PRO Black Verve, the eQua Towel in Verve, and 2 unBLOKs.
Here is the photo from our winner, @mars_adventure, plus a few of our other favorite #LetsGoThere Instagrams:
By @mars_adventure, who won last week's #LetsGoThere contest.
Here are some of our other favorites!
Over the next two weeks, we’d love to see you go where your emotions flow and embrace your greatness. Show us the things that help you be your truest self, and how you embrace the now. In two weeks, we’ll select one winner to receive a PROlite in Embrace, an eQua Towel in Embrace, and a Recycled Wool Blanket.
September 24th, 2013
There are places that specifically set us up to unblock. Freeing our bodies, energies and intentions. That neighborhood yoga studio that helps you clear your mind and make room for breakthroughs. Stellar Yoga in Vancouver, WA is one such studio says Amy Clayburn. Amy nominated Stellar Yoga to win the Manduka unBLOK Party Contest because not only is it her home studio, it’s a place where she can be herself, build her strength, relieve stress, and laugh.
We have visited Stellar Yoga and can now see exactly where Amy was coming from. Stellar Yoga is a progressive and dynamic vinyasa yoga studio whose mission is Reach over Revenue - they aim to enrich as many lives possible with all the benefits a yoga practice has to offer. The goal in each class at Stellar Yoga is to improve your flexibility, strength, balance and endurance while simultaneously allowing you to embark on the journey within - to help you find and tap into where your inner peace dwells.
On September 6th, Ma’i, the studio owner, hosted a packed house for an unBLOK party where her students gathered to celebrate her and the community that they’ve created in short time the studio has been open. Ma’i taught an hour-long class focused on heart opening postures and the students all shared how yoga helps them unBLOK.
One of the prizes that Stellar Yoga won in the contest was a Seva Scholarship to use in whatever way worked best for their studio. They have chosen to use that scholarship to provide a free class for the community on the first Friday of each month. The First Fridays unBLOK Party class will be a 75 minute vinyasa class followed by music, refreshments, fun, and laughter. The class is free as a service to those who are financially in need.
We are so grateful to have gotten to know Ma’i and everyone at Stellar Yoga, and are so excited to watch First Fridays unfold as a community class. If you would like to learn more about Stellar Yoga, or if you live in the Vancouver, WA area and would like to check out the studio, please visit: stellaryogastudio.com.
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