Let's start with the basics:
The first steps on the traditional path to creating a yogic lifestyle, are a set of 10 principals that create moral guidelines to living a good life. You could literally spend the rest of your life working on anyone of the following concepts... or you could dedicate a day or a week to any of them on a regular basis and see how they impact your being.
The first 5 are called the Yamas. They refer to set of social ethical rules for right living. The Yamas are guidelines to achieve moral integrity and harmony in relationships with others. They are:
Non-harming, non-maliciousness, non-violence, loving kindness to self & others, compassion, kindness, mercy.
Truthfulness, being genuine and authentic, having integrity, honesty, being honourable, not lying, not concealing the truth, neither downplaying or exaggerating.
Non-stealing, not taking what is not yours - money, goods or credit; not robbing people of their own experiences and freedom; non-desire for another's possessions, qualities or status.
Moderation. Less is more. Relating to others with unconditional love and integrity, without selfishness or manipulation.
Non-attachment, greedlessness, non-grasping, non-receiving, non-possessiveness, voluntary simplicity, non-covetousness.
The next 5 moral restraints are the Niyamas. They exist to create harmony with Life and the Universe on the whole. The Niyamas deal with our way of being, how we present ourselves, our speech, thoughts and actions. The are:
Purity, cleanliness, orderliness, precision, clariy, balance; internal & external purification.
Contentment, equanimity, peace, tranquility acceptanceof the way things are.
Dedication, commitment, heat, self-discipline, willpower, austerity, patience.
Self-study, self-inquiry, mindfulness.
Belief in something bigger than yourself (the Universe, Nature, God), surrender to the Universe, open-hardheartedness, love, devotion.
Together, the Yamas & the Niyamas provide guiding principles to help establish an ethical & spiritual framework for asana practice. They are about setting and maintaining an intention to remember and to honour the higher purpose of practice.
Choose an intention for your day or for your practice that aligns with one of the 5 Yamas or 5 Niyamas. Do this regularly. Go through all 10, slowly. Let me know how they impact your practice... on & off you mat.
We all know there's more to Yoga than the poses. But how much more? And what more? And where do we get it? Do we really need more? Why?