On the Mat, Off the Mat

Off the mat / Philosophy

An Introduction to the Yamas in thought and pose – Part 5

The final yama is aparigraha which is translated as non-coveting what doesn’t belong to us, was introduced in the fifth week. This can also be interpreted as non-grasping or being happy for other people’s success in spite of your own circumstance. Nothing illustrates this better, in my opinion, than backbends.

Firstly, how many of us see a beautiful Urdhva Dhanurasana (upward-facing bow) and are a little envious if we are unable to do it as elegantly? Or even within our own backbend pose – tense and grip our shoulders or gluteus muscles so tightly that we restrict our pose? Also, backbends open our hearts and prepare the chest for deeper breathing – and when we open our hearts, we create the capacity to give more and receive more. We optimise the flow of energy and we create self reliance by boosting our courage and confidence – which are other awesome side effects of backbends.

My intention is to continue through all the niyamas and in fact, all the 8 limbs of yoga and connect them to the poses I will teach and the theme of the class. I hoped that by separating them into weeks and spreading them out, the knowledge and lesson of each is easier to understand and more importantly, hopefully more memorable than listing them all at once.
These are lessons we need to be reminded to return to again and again. It’s so easy to think harsh thoughts about ourselves or others. Sometimes we become less than honest with ourselves and people around us, in either our personal lives or in business. By bringing awareness to the possibility of a different approach or reaction to our usual responses as well as exploring different ways of seeing things, maybe just maybe, we can learn to love ourselves and those around us a little more. Perhaps these guidelines and awareness will help us to find a way to speak and live our truth as well as being grateful for all that we have and content with who we are.

I’ll post the lessons of the five niyamas soon.