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The Eight Limbs of Yoga

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

In today classes we talked about the 8 limbs of yoga. I like to emphasise that yoga is not a religion, not a should, not a good or bad. Although yoga can become and is a way of life for many and has been dating back through much to ancient India, it doesn't have to be. What people often find though, whether they arrived at yoga for mental health, low back, flexibility, stress relief, to fall pregnant, to prepare for birth, fitness ir something else, the practices of yoga often start to permeate through life. As we develop more self-awareness and recondition our mind/body/breath to stay more sattvic or regulated, we start noticing when stress or tension arises ( or in the buzz words of the day, notice when we are deregulated) and use our acquired yoga tools to reregulate.

If I had a dollar for every person that has said to me over the years something along the lines of "now when I start to feel stress and automatically take some deeper breaths and calm myself down", I wouldn't care about the covid impact of my business.😂😂😂 The 8 limbs of yoga are practices that help to bring us back into a state of yoga. A more balance state of equanimity, where our mind is more still and we are abiding in the present moment. These 8 limbs or practice really weave together and as with limbs on a tree, they don't grow one at a time. If we focus on one, the others will all grow too. 💖Yamas and 💖niyamas are observances ir attitudes toward others, the environment around us and other selves (more to come on these next week). These ways attitudes create behaviour and thought patterns shall we say cognitive behaviours) which lead to more calm and clear states of mind and we feel more present and authentic to ourselves and others. 💖Pranayama is breath work... especially useful is regulating the breath through the nose, (fancy techniques are not required). 💖Asana or postures people most associate with yoga but often misunderstand that asana refers to a steady or stable and comfortable position or movement... not suffering through with effort and strain... (no pain, no gain does not apply to asana) Then we have 💖 pratyhara, withdrawal of the senses, 💖dharana, directing our attention, 💖dhyana, maintaining focus attention and 💖samadhi, absorption into the present moment. Essentially, the last limbs are referring to a meditative present state of mind.

When I teach what seems like an asana based class I try to weave in all the limbs as much as I can. Many people say my classes are "more meditative" than others they have been to. Even strong physical practices can and really should, feel meditative if we are practicing and teaching yoga with the 8 limbs to cultivate a clear and calm state of mind. It is not a choreography or "creative sequence", it is a mind/body/breath/spirit practice. 💖Developing presence of the heart and mastery of our mind. 💖 All with the goal of feeling better. Not a should or shouldn't. Shoulds come from the mind.

💖 "The mind- a beautiful servant, a dangerous master." Osho💖


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