Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ahimsa


As a group (yoga teachers at City Center Lifetime), we've chosen to reinforce in our classes the yamas and niyamas which are the first 2 limbs of yoga in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. To take us through the 5 yamas and 5 niyamas, we will weave the concepts through our classes, one each month through December.

Eight limbs (Yoga Sutra 2.29):

1. yama (abstinence)
2. niyama (observance)
3. asana (posture)
4. pranayama (breath control)
5. pratyahara (sense withdrawal)
6. dharana (concentration)
7. dhyana (meditation)
8. samadhi (contemplation)

The first yama is ahimsa (see blog post: Yoga Sutra 2.35).

For me today, it speaks volumes. I tend to set limits or on the other extreme set unrealistic expectations for myself and my body (one too many hand stands last week caused some crazy SI pain). In class, I ask my students to go beyond what their body tells them (our minds tell us to quit long before our bodies do) and yet, I urge them to practice ahimsa (safe and non-toxic asana).

Destructive or unsafe practice takes me out of that state of union and awareness that I desire to cultivate in the first place. "I will step onto my mat today with the intention to love myself and my practice, and to try something difficult with courage and gusto"-- J Lasater


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