THE 8 LIMBS OF YOGA #2: NIYAMAS
The second stage is NIYAMAS.The 5 Yamas create the foundation for the 5 Niyamas. They are constructive tools for cultivating happiness and self-confidence; the opportunity to practice them arises in every moment of the day. The following are brief descriptions of each niyama:
SAUCHA — Purity of body and mind
"Any action done with beauty and purity, and in complete harmony of Body, Mind, and Soul is Art." B.K.S. Iyenger
When practicing saucha we aim to keep our immediate environment clean and tidy so that we
are not distracted by an untidy desk or room. We care for our bodies by taking care of our diet, choosing food that helps the body to function more efficiently. We take care of our minds by reading books that elevate our consciousness, see movies that inspire, and associate with positive people. We are then feeding the mind and spirit in a way that nourishes our own peacefulness.
Light on Life: The Journey to Wholeness, Inner Peace and Ultimate FreedomHere Iyengar explores the yogic goal to integrate the different parts of the self (body, emotions, mind, and soul), the role that the yoga postures and breathing techniques play in our search for wholeness, the external and internal obstacles that keep us from progressing along the path, and how yoga can transform our lives and help us to live in harmony with the world around us. For the first time, Iyengar uses stories from his own life, humor, and examples from modern culture to illustrate the profound gifts that yoga offers. “
SANTOSHA — Contentment
Contentment is often confused with happiness. But we can be in difficult, even painful circumstances and still find some semblance of contentment by allowing things to be as they
are. This certainly doesn’t mean that we tolerate difficult circumstances but we are more able to see our way through them skilfully when the mind is still and focused. Focus on the good things in your life rather than what you want but don’t need.
The Art of Happiness
a highly accessible guide for a western audience, combining the Dalai Lama's eastern spiritual tradition with Dr Howard C. Cutler's western perspective. Covering all key areas of human experience, they apply the principles of Tibetan Buddhism to everyday problems and reveal how one can find balance and complete spiritual and mental freedom.
For the many who wish to understand more about the Dalai Lama's approach to living, there has never been a book which brings his beliefs so vividly into the real world.
TAPAS — Discipline and burning enthusiasm
“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames”
Literally translated as fire or heat, tapas is the disciplined use of our energy. Tapas is a way of
directing our energy, like a focused beam of light cutting through the dark. If we direct this energy then it can cut down on procrastination and putting things off until tomorrow.
The analogy off a fire is fitting for this precept. Once a fire has died out it can take a great deal of energy to start it up again. When you do get a fire to light, the embers must be fanned and paid attention to. The fire requires a strong and disciplined focus to fuel it or it will die. But once the fire is roaring it is easy to sustain.
Discipline is having enough respect for yourself to make choices that truly nourish your wellbeing and provide opportunities for growth. Tapas allows us to direct our energy towards a fulfilled life of meaning and one that is exciting and pleasurable.
RUMI'S LITTLE BOOK OF LIFE
This collection of mystical poetry focuses on one of life's core issues: coming to terms with the inner life. During the course of life, each of us is engaged on an inner journey. RUMI'S LITTLE BOOK OF LIFE is a guidebook for that journey. The poetry is a companion for those who consciously enter the inner world to explore the gardens within - out of the everyday 'world of dust'- through an ascending hierarchy that restores one's soul to the heart; the heart of the spirit; and in finding spirit, transcending all.
SWADHYAYA — Self-study
Self-knowledge involves relationship. To know oneself is to study one self in action with another person. Relationship is a process of self evaluation and self revelation. Relationship is the mirror in which you discover yourself — to be is to be related. Bruce Lee
The form that the self-study takes is not really important. Whatever the practice, as long as there is an intention to know yourself through it, and the commitment to see the process through, almost any activity can become an opportunity to reflect and learn about yourself.
Swadhayaya means staying with our process through thick and thin because it’s usually when the going gets tough that we have the greatest opportunity to learn about ourselves. Practicing yoga is often very pleasurable at first but it can become very challenging. It is at these times that we can learn about ourselves and how we approach difficulties both on and off the mat.
The Warrior Within - Bruce Lee
During his lifetime, legendary martial artist Bruce Lee formulated a complex personal philosophy--a synthesis of Eastern and Western ideals--that extolled the virtues of knowledge and total mastery of one's self. However, most of his philosophical writings could be found only within the personal library of the Bruce Lee estate--until now. The Warrior Within is the most comprehensive volume of these teachings, meant to help you apply Lee's philosophies to your own life.
ISHVARA PRANIDHANA — Celebration of the spiritual
A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping for the comfortable and safe. But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty.” ~ The Pocket Pema Chodron
The word surrender has different connotations and can be viewed as weakness. But the act of surrender to a higher power can be a courageous state of mind in which we let go of our ego and selfish desires, trusting that the path we have chosen will lead us to contentment. It allows us to live fearlessly moment to moment allowing the future take care of itself.
The Pocket Pema Chodron
Here is a treasury of 108 short selections from the best-selling books of Pema Chödrön, the beloved Buddhist nun. Designed for on-the-go inspiration, this collection offers teachings on:
- becoming fearless
- breaking free of destructive patterns
- developing patience, kindness, and joy amid our everyday struggles
- unlocking our natural warmth, intelligence, and goodness