03/22/2011 World Water Day!

Celebrate Water! How can we be more mindful of our precious resource and protect ourselves and others from oppressive privatization?

http://canadians.org/water/issues/World_Water_Day/

To live our yoga we must look at how we effect our world. A holistic view of yoga incorporates moral and ethical conduct. This, I feel arises out of a deep sense of interconnection and respect for ourselves and all of life. The Yamas and Niyamas, or internal and external attitudes and observances, are the foundations for the yogic practice. Before we even practice asana (postures), pranayama (breath work), or dhyana (meditation) we are asked to familiarize oursleves with the Yamas and Niyamas.

A nice idea. Here is a reminder from Donna Farhi about The eight limbs of yoga as given by Patanjali, the historical teacher and compiler of the Yoga Sutras, the main traditional text of classical Yoga.

LIMBS ONE AND TWO:

“Yamas and Niyamas: Ten ethical precepts that allow us to be at peace withourselves, our family, and our community.

Yamas:

Ahimsa–Compassion for All Living Things

Ahimsa is usually translated as nonviolence, but this precept goes far and beyond the limited penal sense of not killing others. First and foremost we have to learn how to be nonviolent toward ourselves.

Satya–Commitment to the Truth
This precept is based on the understanding that honest communication and action form the bedrock of any healthy relationship, community, or government, and that deliberate deception, exaggerations, and mistruths harm others.

Asteya–Not Stealing. Asteya arises out of the understanding that all misappropriation is an expression of a feeling of lack. And this feeling of lack usually comes from a belief that our happiness is contingent on external circumstances and material possessions.

Brahmacharya–Merging with the One. Practicing brahmacharya means that we use our sexual energy to regenerate our connection to our spiritual self. It also means that we don’t use this energy in any way that might harm another

Aparigraha–Not Grasping. Holding on to things and being free are two mutually exclusive states. The ordinary mind is constantly manipulating reality to get ground underneath it, building more and more concretized images of how things are and how others are, as a way of generating confidence and security.

Niyamas:

Shaucha–Purity. Shaucha, or living purely, involves maintaining a cleanliness in body, mind, and environment.

Santosha–Contentment. Santosha, or the practice of contentment, is the ability to feel satisfied within the container of one’s immediate experience.

Tapas–Burning Enthusiasm
Literally translated as “fire” or “heat,” tapas is the disciplined use of our energy.

Swadhyaya–Self-Study
Any activity that cultivates self-reflective consciousness can be considered swadhyaya.

Ishvarapranidhana–Celebration of the Spiritual.Life is not inherently meaningful. We make meaning happen through the attention and care we express through our actions

LIMB THREE:

Asanas: Dynarmic internal dances in the form of postures. These help to keep the body strong, flexible, and relaxed. Their practice strengthens the nervous system and refines our process of inner perception.

LIMB FOUR:

Pranayama: Roughly defined as breathing practices, and more specifically defined as practices that help us to develop constancy in the movement of prana, or life force.

LIMB FIVE:

Pratyahara: The drawing of one’s attention toward silence rather than toward things.

LIMB SIX:

Dharana: Focusing attention and cultivating inner perceptual awareness.

LIMB SEVEN:

Dhyana: Sustaining awareness under all conditions.

LIMB EIGHT:

Samadhi: The return of the mind into original silence.”

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