Yoga actually extends far beyond the physical practice. The physical aspect of yoga is actually only an eighth of it! Through exploring this path, you will notice your meditation – and life experience – become richer and more meaningful. These concepts are designed to be explored. Yoga consists of 8 aspects, with the idea being achieving enlightenment. Enlightenment is connecting to your true self, your spirit, and through that, oneness with all, in which we find freedom. A side benefit of this journey – living a healthy and happy life!
These are the 8 Limbs of Yoga:
- Yamas: these are disciplines to observe to guide our interactions with the world
- Ahimsa: non-voilence
- Satya: truthfulness
- Asteya: taking only what is rightfully yours
- Brahmacharya: using energy in healthy ways (often seen as celibacy)
- Aparigraha: only taking what you need
- Niyamas: personal practices for a healthy internal world
- Saucha: purity and cleanliness
- Santosha: contentment
- Tapas: self-discipline
- Svadhyaha: self awareness
- Ishvara Pranidhana: surrendering
The physical practice of yoga. It’s important to keep your body alert, healthy, and strong to enjoy your life and share this experience with others! Moving mindfully is very important to all of our teachers – we even have a class called Mindful Movement! When we move mindfully, we do so with breath, grace & strength. We can heal our bodies, and help prevent injury!
Breathwork. You can see some type of pranayama we have practiced on Instagram. As breath-work has been important to me since I was a child, this is something all our classes focus on.
Sense withdrawal. This is part of the reason I am often quiet in our Yin classes – a rare opportunity for you to be awake and completely alone with your thoughts – this is powerfully cleansing & healing!
Focused concentration. Part of our #meditationchallenge focused on this form of meditation. Picking a theme, thought, vision, feeling to focus on can be very powerful to help you feel and achieve goals. I personally like to focus on a thought, then let it go to allow inspiration to flow as I feel myself stepping away and becoming more objective…which goes into the next limb of yoga!
Meditative absorption. This form of yoga is my favorite and what I have practiced for years, as it’s where inspiration comes from. The mind is freed a this point to allow intuition to guide. Again, much healing can be achieved through this approach, and this is fabulous for considering changes or growth. The trick is to not get attached to the process and details. Trust it will work out – surrender and know it will – we just may not be aware of all the details …but do you need to be? It can be a challenge, but amazing things can happen when you let go!
A state of continual bliss, also known as enlightenment. Enlightenment is wholeness, oneness – which we already are. But being able to recognize and feel it at all times, brings us to a state of bliss as we recognize there is only pure love and energetic connection amongst us all. As James Cisneros put it; “Enlightenment is not a change into something better or more, but a simple recognition of who we truly already are.”