newest entry 2003-01-14 11:28 a.m.

Well, whether you want it or not, we are going to discuss the yamas and niyamas, one at a time.

First, a very brief explanation of what they are.

In the classical system of yoga, popularly conceptualized as a tree, there are eight branches or methods of achieving purification. Who sez? Well, yoga's been around for thousands of years, but Patanjali is the fellow who codified all these ideas, in his Sutras. If you're looking for an intellectually rigorous and yet highly readable translation of the Sutras, I highly recommend the beautiful Christopher Isherwood version.

Anyway, all these methods of purification are meant to be engaged simultaneously, but there may be some aspects of the "tree" that are more challenging for one's particular constitution, and so those are the ones you may neeed to really work on.

The first two limbs of this yogic tree are yamas (social aspects) and the niyamas (personal observances).

There are five yamas. The first one is "ahimsa" or non-violence.

It's not just denying your own violent impulses, but actively honoring the life force in others and building connections to other creatures.

There are myriad opportunities during a typical day to practice ahimsa. For many people not eating meat is a potent form of ahimsa. Not participating in gossip, but rather focussing your conversation on something upbeat, is a really energizing form of ahimsa. Refraining from self-criticism, going to bed when you're actually tired rather than pushing yourself to stay up partying, tipping your waitress well, offering someone your seat on the subway, tithing, turning the channel when "Cops" comes on...Ahimsa.

Tune in tomorrow for "Satya"....

One more library book to finish before I start the Tartt book: Josephone Tey's A Shilling for Candles. I just started it on the train this morning, and it is really well written. This reads more like a regular ol' novel than a "mystery"...

previous entry

next entry

latest entry


write to me

hosted by

powered by