“Do you know what astonished me most in the world? The inability of force to create anything. In the long run, the sword is always beaten by the spirit.”
Yoga has so much more to offer us beyond the commercialized version of an exercise class for a hot body. This is a quick exploration of the eightfold path of yoga as outlined by Patanjali sometime between the 2nd and 4th century in his yoga sutras with an inclusion of modern interpretation for your everyday life.
This second installment explores the 5 niyamas which are personal disciplines.
There are multiple facets here: hygiene, unclouded thinking, thoughtful and true speech, deep and clear listening, etc. From a place of purity we are able to be truly present and approach our purpose on point. I think that Don Miguel Ruiz’s 4 agreements tie in well here: be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best.
Choosing to be okay in the here and now exactly as we are. This has nothing to do with lacking motivation for change or self improvement. It has everything to do with recognizing that we are lead to each moment through our choices and lessons we have to learn. We are exactly where we are meant to be.
The practice here is gratitude such as a gratitude journal and the even bigger picture is gratitude for everything that has lead you to this present moment, even the hardships we have each endured.
Tapas: Self Discipline
The internal fire, drive and passion. This is where we commit ourselves to our calling, our desires, our purpose and nothing sways us from the path. Here we dedicate our time, thoughts, effort, resources to achieve our desired outcome. Having a sankalpa (statement of your hearts deepest desires) that we work with helps keep our tapas and focus highly attuned.
Svadyaya: Self Study
Know thyself and share that with the world. Long to know ourselves better. Take a deep dive into who we are and what our potential is, what our limitations are, and what makes us tick. The more we know ourselves the better we can show up for others and the world around us. The better we know ourselves the clearer we can be about our place of service for all. Spend some time on our own learning our intricacies. Let’s get quiet and listen to that innate intelligence within, that true guiding voice.
Ishvara Pranidhana: Surrender
Knowing that there is something bigger than us at play, we allow for the ebb and flow of life to be our guide. We do our best, we do our work, we embody and live our purpose, and release the outcome.