I love swimming through the timeless wisdom of YOGA, and I really like to take it further by integrating this ancient body of knowledge into my daily life.
Another to consider is The Eight Limbs! These are the paths to merging with the divine that the yogic sage Patanjali outlined 2,000 years ago. They are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. If these sound like a lot of gibberish to you – do not despair – it’s all Sanskrit and you can learn the meaning of each using this online dictionary. Let’s just look at the first two limbs of YOGA – the Yamas and the Niyamas.
The Yamas are the social codes of behavior that an enlightened BEing would live by. The Niyamas are the personal codes an enlightened BEing lives by. The original definitions of the 5 Yamas are:
1. Ahimsa – non-violence
2. Satya – truth and absence of falsehood
3. Asteya – non-stealing
4. Brahmacharya – conscious choice making in our relationships
5. Aparigraha – non-hoarding – abundance consciousness
The modern day guidance based on my translation is to walk through the world with a silent intention to be peaceful; truthful; non-coveting; mindful with our relationships; and filled with abundance consciousness. If we do this, we will float through each day with grace and ease.
The original definitions of the 5 Niyamas are:
1. Shaucha – physically and emotionally clean
2. Santosha – contentment
3. Tapas – austerity
4. Svādhyāya – self study
5. Ishvarapranidhana – surrender to god
The modern day guidance based on my interpretation is to conduct yourself in each moment with purity of thought, word, and deed; seeing the miracles around you; being authentic in how you express yourself; being open to the teachers and the lessons in our interactions with others; and trusting in the divine plan.
These are ten beautiful principles originally designed to describe how enlightened ones see life. But here we are in 2014 with a reality that didn’t exist when Patanjali first wrote The Yoga Sutras. Our life is filled with many more moving parts – a swirl that seems to build up steam with each year we spend on this planet. Car payments, home payments, kids, pets, technology, travel, staying healthy, keeping appointments, showing up at work, living our dharma … and so much more.
So here’s how we integrate: each week, pick a yama or niyama and see if you can weave it into every word, thought, and action throughout the day. Don’t beat yourself up when you find yourself in conflict. That’s the moment to congratulate yourself that you have the awareness that you drifted from your intention. That’s true enlightenment – pure present moment awareness. And that’s how we change… by slowly flowing our intentions into our behaviors – our inner dialog into our outer dialog … our thoughts into our actions.
This week, I’m going to pick bramacharya – originally described by Patanjali as celibacy – but that was 2,000 years ago. My modern interpretation is to be fully present when you are with someone. To not take your human or personal or intimate interactions with others casually or for granted. Be more conscious in your communications and exchanges with everyone you encounter. What will you pick?
davidji is a certified Vedic Master and a teacher of stress management, emotional healing, and conscious choice-making. He is the author of the best-selling Secrets of Meditation: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace & Personal Transformation and the creator of the award-winning guided meditation CD Fill What is Empty; Empty What is Full. Visit davidji.com for free tools, tips, and techniques to take your practice to the next level and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
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Image courtesy of Jaganatha.