The Eight Limbs (part 2)

I've just released the 6th episode of Coffee & Musings on my Patreon page. In this episode I talk about the eight limbs of yoga, focusing on the final four limbs: Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the senses Dharana: Concentration meditation Dhyana: Absorption meditation Samadhi: Integration meditation I also start to discuss … Continue reading The Eight Limbs (part 2)

The Eight Limbs (part 1)

I've just released the 5th episode of Coffee & Musings on my Patreon page. In this episode I talk about the eight limbs of yoga, focusing on the first four to start with: Yama, Niyama, Asana, and Pranayama. The eight limbs comes from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali which is often used as a guide … Continue reading The Eight Limbs (part 1)

I lost my connection to my practice.

This year has been incredibly challenging for me, and instead of using my practice to help me through it, I neglected it. I’m not just talking about asana (physical practice) here, I’m talking about my yoga practice in its entirety. As we move into this new month, I realise this isn’t a time for regret, … Continue reading I lost my connection to my practice.

Brahmacharya (Nonexcess)

Various watercolour images accompanied by a description of Brahmacharya

The fourth of the Yamas is Brahmacharya, or Nonexcess. Moderation in all our actions. Brahmacharya does roughly translate as abstinence, and some people take this to be celibacy, however many prefer to think of this in terms of nonexcess. So basically, don’t have more than you need, don’t be excessive. Still partake in enjoyable things, … Continue reading Brahmacharya (Nonexcess)

Asteya on your yoga mat

Image description: A person leans against a wall, checking their watch.

On your yoga mat, Asteya might show itself as wishing you could do a posture like the person next to you or wishing you had their figure. It could also mean showing up to class on time and respecting the time the teacher and other students are giving. Activity: Try and practice Asteya in your … Continue reading Asteya on your yoga mat

Asteya (nonstealing)

Various watercolour images accompanied by a description of Asteya

The third of the Yamas is Asteya, or Nonstealing. Not taking what does not belong to you. The obvious message here is ‘don’t steal stuff’. But this can also refer to other things too. You can ‘take’ other’s time and energy by taking advantage of them. You can desire something that someone else has that … Continue reading Asteya (nonstealing)

Satya (truthfulness)

Various watercolour images accompanied by a description of Satya

The second of the Yamas is Satya, or truthfulness. Right communication through speech, writing, gesture and actions. Yes, this means telling the truth, but sometimes the truth can cause hurt which goes against Ahimsa, and Ahimsa always comes first. So, try to be truthful and honest where you can, with your words and actions, but … Continue reading Satya (truthfulness)

Ahimsa (nonviolence)

Various watercolour images accompanied by a description of Ahimsa

The first of the Yamas is Ahimsa, or nonviolence. Nonviolence towards others and ourselves, and a consideration for all living things. There is more to this than just “not getting in fights” – this means being kind and thoughtful when interacting with others, but also yourself. Your words and thoughts can be just as violent … Continue reading Ahimsa (nonviolence)

The Yamas

Various watercolour images accompanied by the names of the yamas

Yamas translates roughly as restraints and covers our attitudes toward our environment. The yamas are: Ahimsa (Nonviolence)Satya (Truthfulness)Asteya (Nonstealing)Brahmacarya (Nonexcess)Aparigraha (Nonposessiveness) I realise that at a first glance, you can see a lot of words starting with 'Non' - however, these guidelines, or restraints, are not about limiting your life, they are about opening up … Continue reading The Yamas

Yamas & Niyamas

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Recently my, physical/asana practice has been very limited - a combination of the house move and shoulder injuries means it's just been more difficult than usual. But this doesn't mean I've not been practicing yoga. I've spent 3 years practicing asana, so now it's really nice to dedicate some time to the other areas of … Continue reading Yamas & Niyamas

Journaling & taking notes

An open notebook on a table and a person sits pen in hand, ready to write.

With the eight limbs, there is a lot of information to take in, especially as there are so many interpretations of them. As I read through various versions I always need a notebook handy to scribble notes, and (sorry for those who hate this) but underline and highlight passages in the book too. Do you … Continue reading Journaling & taking notes

Yoga is primarily a practice intended to make someone wiser…

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As we've been introducing the eight limbs, you can see that there is so much more to yoga than the physical poses. This quote from T. K. V. Desikachar's The Heart of Yoga sums it up really well. "Yoga is primarily a practice intended to make someone wiser, more able to understand things than they … Continue reading Yoga is primarily a practice intended to make someone wiser…

Yoga is more than asana

An individual is sat on a yoga mat, eyes closed and looking calm.

As I'm introducing the eight limbs of yoga, you can probably see why the third limb, Asana (postures), is the limb that's most often portrayed and talked about, especially on social media. First, it is ideal for images as it's purely physical - how do you take photographs of concentration or breath work? Second, it's … Continue reading Yoga is more than asana

Pratyahara

Image description: A watercolour tree with the caption text included.

The fifth of the limbs is Pratyahara which is sense withdrawal or the restraint of senses. From this point on, the limbs are very new concepts to me, so I'll wait to go into more details until I'm more familiar with them myself.

Pranayama

A watercolour tree with the caption text included.

The fourth of the limbs is Pranayama which is breath control and the practice of breathing exercises. I've done a little bit of Pranayama work in my regular yoga class, and we practiced a few techniques in a workshop I attended at the Natural History Museum in London. Some of the practices made me feel … Continue reading Pranayama

Niyama, or the Niyamas

A watercolour tree with the caption text included.

The second of the limbs is Niyama, or the Niyamas. This translates roughly as 'observances' and includes our attitudes toward ourselves. The Niyamas also have 5 elements which I'll be covering later. When discussing the Niyamas here, I'll often be referencing the work of Deborah Adele and the book 'The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's … Continue reading Niyama, or the Niyamas

Yama, or the Yamas

A watercolour tree with the caption text included.

The first of the limbs is Yama, or the Yamas. This translates roughly as 'restraints' and includes our attitudes toward our environment. The Yamas have 5 elements which I'll cover in the future. When discussing the Yamas here, I'll often be referencing the work of Deborah Adele and the book 'The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring … Continue reading Yama, or the Yamas

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

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"In its exported manifestation, yoga has tended to focus on the physical aspect of the system of yoga, the Asanas, or stretching poses and postures, which most Western adherents of yoga practice in order to stay trim, supple and healthy. Patanjali himself, however, pays minimal attention to the Asanas, which are the third stage of … Continue reading The Eight Limbs of Yoga

Eight Limbs of Yoga

Eight watercolour images of trees, with the text 'The eight limbs of yoga' at the top.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are a series of 196 short statements (sutras) concerning yoga. I'll go into the sutras in more detail as I work my way through them in my own learning, but I first of all wanted to introduce the Eight Limbs of Yoga, which form part of the Yoga Sutras. Over … Continue reading Eight Limbs of Yoga