Saturday, 19 November 2011

Yoga for Today, Teacher Training Assignment

Practicing the
Yamas and Niyamas

It was great seeing you all this morning at Yoga for Today. 

Thank you for your warm enthusiasm on this snowy day!

Here's your assignment.  Please come to our next meeting with a copy of your summary to discuss.

And for those of you who asked, here is a link to my Navaratri post which gives a little more information about the marigolds.

From the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, please choose one of the Yamas:
  1. Ahimsa (अहिंसा): non-violence.
  2. Satya (सत्य): truth in word and thought, absence of falsehood or giving someone the wrong impression.
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): non-stealing.
  4. Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): celibacy in case of unmarried people and faithfulness in action, words and thoughts in the case of married people.
  5. Aparigraha (अपरिग्रह): absence of avarice, not coveting or hoarding.
OR one of the Niyamas:
  1. Shaucha: cleanliness of body and mind; purity.
  2. Santosha: satisfaction with what one has; contentment.
  3. Tapas: austerity.
  4. Svādhyāya: study of the Vedic scriptures and the Self, which leads to introspection on a greater awakening to the soul and God within.
  5. Ishvarapranidhana: surrender to, or worship of Ishwara (God).
Spend 24 hours consciously practicing your chosen Yama or Niyama or some aspect of it. 
For example:
  • Practice ahimsa by not eating meat for the day. 
  • Practice santosha by not complaining about work, your husband, or the weather.
  • Practice satya by not exaggerating. ("I'm starving!"  or "I hit a million red lights on the way here!")
  • Practice asteya by not making personal calls, surfing the net or texting on business time.
  • Practice tapas by going on a one day "media fast", turning off the tv, radio, and internet gossip.
  • Practice saucha and aparigraha at the same time by finally cleaning out the basement or the back closet and donating the clothes you're not wearing to someone else who can!
Get it?  It's challenging, but really fun!

If you find it helpful, jot notes down during the day about how it's going.  Maybe make a note every few hours about whether or not you were able to keep your committment to yourself during that time. 

Don't get discouraged - keep going! 

At the end of the 24 hours write approximately 1/2 to 1 page summary of the experience. 

Please bring a copy to class with you and be prepared for a group discussion. 

Your best bet is to choose one and begin right now! 

Otherwise, the tendency is to "forget" indefinitely, or to make some small transgression of your committment and give up or start over with the illusion that getting it "right" and doing it "perfectly" is what will make your experiment and your Yoga "successful".

Please recall that this is a practice and each "mistake" helps us to grow in awareness.  In that sense, there is no such thing as a mistake.  Each lapse in awareness allows us to see ourselves more clearly.

Be warned:  Sometimes in the process of cleaning the mind we "kick up some dirt", but it's well worth the effort!
Have fun! 

1 comment:

  1. THANK YOU for today's session. This assignment, in my Yoga zealot opinion, should be fundamental in the lives of all Yogis. It is sad to see how most view Yoga through only one of the 8 limbs - asana. While a little Yoga is better than none, I fear much of the genuine tradition will be lost beneath the Lululemon logos and in the excess of the elite. Keep the faith and the wonderful work!