Over the last week we have been studying the Yamas : The 5 moral restraints.
-Ahimsa- nonharming/nonviolence. bringing no harm to ANY BEING.
-Aparigraha- nonhoarding/letting go/ nonattachment
The Yamas go directly hand in hand with the Niyamas (which we will be going over in our studio classes very shortly) : The 5 Observances.
-Tapas- Zeal, austerity
-Svadhyaya- self study
-Isvara-pranidhana- devotion to a higher power.
(I like to think of the Yamas being represented by the 5 fingers on the left hand and the Niyamas being represented by the 5 fingers on the right hand, so that when you bring your hands together in anjali mudra [prayer hands/namaste hands] the 5 Yamas and 5 Niyamas are joining together to create one perfect and balanced union.)
The Yamas and the Niyamas are the building blocks for not only our yoga practice but our life. They do not promote or demote any ideology, any religion, political affiliation, they’re not #coltsnation and they’re not #TeamPatriots. They are truly just 5 fixed rules and 5 observances that help create better humans.
As we slide over into the express lane and zoom into the New Year (unreal)… ask yourself this- How can I practice all 10 of these things this week to walk around this magical spinning orb a bit lighter, a bit brighter and greet the new year as an illuminated, bad ass, kind, human?
Here is a quick Americanized tool kit on how to bring the Yamas from last week, the Niyamas from this week into your day to day practice and lives–
Ahimsa- Bringing/creating/doing NO HARM to any being, including yourself. If we wanted to get down and dirty and true to the full on meaning of this, we would be eating vegan diets, not wearing ugg boots or carrying leather bags, if a spider was crawling on our bedroom window sill we would carry him outside. We would also think only kind thoughts about ourselves, we wouldn’t glare at the girl across the party that pulled your pants down in front of every one in school in the third grade (too specific?), and we wouldn’t openly talk about how much we hate our boss. That being said I promised to make this a quick, americanized, savvy tool kit on how to use the “10 yoga commandments” (if you will). AHIMSA- be kind to yourself this week. Greet 2016 happy to be you. No matter what. Everyday this week wake up, look in the mirror, and give YOU give YOU a different compliment/words of love everyday. Be kind to someone that drives you absolutely mental; if that is too much just pay them no mind this week instead. Finally– Do something sweet for the animals. Ones you know or ones you don’t. Everyone deserves unconditional love. (Feel free to take this to a new level and cancel your #SeaWorld memberships – yuck.
Satya- truthfulness. Lets keep this simple, worry not about others for this one… Be truthful to YOUrself and in your practice this week. Maybe the truth is you just really need a G.D. week off of yoga. Maybe the truth is you come to your mat every day this week. Maybe the truth is you lay in savasana for a whole practice at least once this week. Maybe your truth is when your friends ask you to come out for a drink, or see a movie you stay in. Listen to yourself. Listen to your body. Your body is talking to you ALWAYS. Listen.
Asteya- nonstealing. Time. This week make an effort to not take too much of someones time. Make an effort to not spend too much of your time on something you don’t need to. And also if you go buy something this week, pay for it.
Brahmacarya- moderation- UGHHHH!!!!!! NO! ITS THE HOLIDAYS! NO. But seriously- think what you’ve been over doing it on… socializing? eating? drinking? too much advilPM? too much netflix (is that possible?)? too much working out? too much working over the holidays? too much over scheduling? Look at your week you have planned, go through every single to do list for every single day and try to take off one thing from your to do list that day.
Aparigraha- letting go. Let go of something that has been weighing heavy on your mind and heart lately. Maybe on top of that you let go of some things that have been taking up space in your home, closet, room, car, etc. No better way to start the New Year then purging all of your old Abercrombie Teen clothes you no longer wear.
Sauca- purity. This sounds so silly but I’m not kidding– drink more water. Double up on it. Shower. Take baths. Spend more time around water. Sweat more. Get it out. Flush it out. Never taken a shower BEFORE a yoga class? Try it this week. It is the best feeling.
Santosa- contentment. Go home at the end of the day. Turn off your phone. Watch a movie, color, draw, write, or read a book. Be content in that exact moment. Don’t worry about the past, the future, what did or did not happen this year. Be fulfilled with the present moment. Maybe you try this every day this week?
Tapas- zeal, austerity. Be joyful and positive in your practice and in your day to day life this week. Find the joy in the little things. The beauty in a cup of coffee. The dramatic colors in a sunrise. Find the happiness in driving in your car alone at rush hour with Elton John playing in the background. Get that zest for life back. Be adventurous as you greet the New Year!
Svadyaya- self study. For me there is no better place to do this than in the studio. Learn more about the self. What makes you shine. The practice of the Yamas and the Niyamas help us to better understand the self anyway. Be more in tune to that.
Isvara-pranidhana- a devotion to a higher power. Whatever this means for you. God, Allah, Buddha, Mohammad, Jesus, Angels, a lost loved one…. we all know that for me my devotion to a higher power is my devotion to Beyoncé.
2015 was rad. You were all epic humans in 2015. Finish it off with a bang! Feel good about you and the work you do on this planet as you say hey, whatsup, hello to 2016. It’s here, and we ready.