Patanjali is an ancient Indian philosopher who authored a number of classical texts - conjecture of whether it was one person, a group of people or a number of different persons is really here nor there from where I stand. The Yoga Sutras is among the most famous and within them, Patanjali writes about the Eightfold Path (to liberation or "moksha"). This was briefly touched on in the post about Aparigraha.
The Eightfold Path is interchangeable with the "8 limbs of yoga"or the "ashtanga yoga system" (ashta - eight, anga - limb) (1). You may have heard "ashtanga" before, as it is a relatively popular version of yoga that is physically grueling but spiritually uplifting. I don't like to call yoga "hard" because all yoga is hard to someone, but ashtanga is *whispers* hard.
I digress, within the 8 limbs of yoga are the yamas (what not to do/restraints) and the niyamas (what to do/observances). Together, they create an ethical guideline (2). Provided are several translations of the yamas and niyamas, as the translation varies between texts and sources.
Yamas: 5 social ethics.
Shisma - kindness, nonviolence
Satya - truthfulness
Asteya - non-stealing
Brahmacharya - moderation, non-excess
Aparigraha - generosity, non-greed, non-possessiveness
The understanding of, and more importantly, incorporation of them, changes the entire texture of our physical practice (3).
Niyamas: 5 personal practices
Suacha - purity
Santosha - contentment
Tapas - austerity, self discipline
Svadyaya - self study, inner exploration
Isvara-Pranidhana - surrender, devotion to divine
Niyamas can be understood as the cultivation of the self.
I touched briefly on my considerations of the "purity" in the last post - if we followed these exactly to a t, we'd be well on our way to enlightenment. What I want to bring to my shared-practice is the opportunity to sprinkle these into your life. In my personal practice, I'd like to focus on each of these and learn about them in a way that supports my modern lifestyle.
Thanks for reading... With Gratitude,
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Kaylee, PT, DPT Kaylee is a Doctor of Physical Therapy based in the Bay Area of California. She received her degree in 2020 from The University of Miami and is currently practicing in Sub-Acute Rehab. Kaylee is passionate about all things yoga, neuro-rehab, and limb loss and limb difference rehabilitation demonstrated through practice, student education and advocacy.