An Introduction to Saucha

sauchaYogic texts are a yogi's guide to peace, freedom and contentment. In the 8 limbed path of yoga, alongside the physical practice, breath practice and meditation there are suggested guides and restraints (non harming, non stealing, being truthful, conserving vital energy and non grasping) called the yamas. There are also some personal observances or 'niyamas' that can help us along the path to peace. The first of these niyamas is called 'saucha' which translates as purity or cleanliness.

As with many of the yogic practices, the words we use to translate from sanskrit to English can affect how we approach the practice:

Read more ...

Aparigraha: Freedom!

When I dig into the yamas it's always quite humbling. I've been studying for years, but the breadth and depth of yoga is such that sometimes some areas slip until you bring them back into focus. This is the case for aparigraha.

When I'm planning yoga classes I brainstorm for a while. This process includes sprawling diagrams of ideas and quotes that are eventually rounded up together in ways that can be woven into our physical practice. Interestingly, a couple of things happened when I dug into aparigraha. Firstly, before I even started to organise the ideas, I was inspired to have a good old closet clean out. Secondly, I couldn't help but write in capital letters in the center of my plan 'FREEDOM'.

Read more ...

Aparigraha: A Real Life Lesson

One of the best things about being a yoga teacher is that I will forever be a student of yoga. I'm always learning, and I'm not immune to the many ways that we can resist the physical and/or internal practices! Today I thought I'd share somewhere that I got stuck;

As we traveled through the yamas together over the last few months I came to a sudden stop with aparigraha. I understand many of the meanings and applications of this yama and I do my best to practice it on and off the mat, but unsure of how to perfectly share the meaning and application of aparigraha I became paralyzed by indecision and perfectionism. I told myself that I couldn't cover all that there is to cover in this subject in the time I had allotted myself, and my impossibly high expectations made me stop rather than making any attempt.

Aparigraha can be translated as non hoarding, non grasping, non attachment or non clinging.
But what was I subconsciously doing? I was attached to what people might think of my personal interpretation of this yama. I was attached to the results of my efforts, and grasping for perfectionism. Don't think I haven't noticed the irony in that situation!

So let's have another go. What we do on the mat is a preparation for what we do off the mat; we practice - imperfections and all. Let's dig into the practice of aparigraha and prepare to let go…

An Introduction to Aparigraha

This month (albeit beginning a little belatedly!) we’re focusing on the next yama - aparigraha. Firstly, let’s explore the translation:

Aparigraha

A - as a prefix in sanskrit negates the word(s) following it i.e ‘non’

Pari - translates as ‘on all sides’ 

Graha - means ‘to take’, ‘to seize’ or ‘to grab’

For the practice of yoga, this yama is translated in many different ways; some of the interpretations include non hoarding, non grasping, non attachment, non greed and non coveting.

When we explore these different translations it’s interesting to note that they have very different connotations - non greed and non coveting relate to wanting and taking more than we need, whereas non attachment and non hoarding may refer to things that we already have and need to let go of.

For that reason we’ll be exploring this yama from two different perspectives. We’ll share some journaling questions and affirmations to help explore this yogic practice both on and off the mat.

Bramacharya: Stress, Fear and Fight or Flight

The fourth yama 'Bramacharya' in yoga refers to the right use of energy, both on the mat and in our daily lives. While it traditionally referred to the sexual energy of young men on the spiritual path, in the modern day householder yoga tradition it is important to look at 'right use of energy' as a broader concept.

This week we're looking at how much energy we spend on stress, and the physical response to stress and fear.

Fight or Flight

Read more ...

5 Ways To Practice Attention and Presence

If your focus on asteya and attention have you aware that you're often distracted or lost in an online world, here are 5 easy ways to start bringing your attention back to the present moment. 

Pause and breathe:
If you get to the end of each day (or week) and wonder where it went, add some breath breaks into your day. Simply stop what you're doing and focus on taking three slow breaths. This will help you relax both body and mind, and allow you to be present and appreciate what's around you.

Do one thing at a time:
We often believe we're getting everything done by multitasking, however the truth may be that we are really just distracted and bouncing around feeling busy but not achieving much! Pay attention to completing one task at a time.

Read more ...

Journal: What's Stealing Your Attention?

Our journal questions this week are on being present and our attention. Pick one or all of them (there are quite a few this week) to write about freely without self-editing. Grab your pen or laptop and dig in!

Asteya Journal

What distracts you the most in life? How? Do you notice or is it subconscious? Write about some of the ways and times you get distracted.

Read more ...

Asteya: What's Stealing Your Attention?

Last week we began our exploration of the third yama, asteya/non-stealing. We started the practice by thinking about ways that we steal time and energy from ourselves and from others. In my post, I said that our most valuable resource is time. This week I'd like to expand on that; consider for a moment if our most valuable resource is not only our time, but also our attention.

Asteya

Read more ...

Gemstones for Asteya

Not only can we steal time and energy from others, we can also have it stolen from us. If you feel like other people steal your energy - consider wearing onyx.

Onyx Bracelet

Read more ...

Journal: Asteya

Below are this week's journal questions for exploring asteya/non-stealing of time and energy:

As always you do not need to share your journal responses with anyone; grab a notebook or laptop and write freely and honestly without filtering yourself.

Asteya journal

In what ways do you steal time from yourself and from others? What changes can you make to reduce how often this happens?

Read more ...

Subcategories