Sometimes I Wish I Had 8 Arms

I get busy and have a lot to do. However, if I do my meditation and yoga routine in the morning I usually have an organized mind focused on love, compassion, and healing.

Ironically, the picture most people think of when they hear the word “yoga” is the asanas, (those crazy twisted pretzel positions), but yoga is so much more than an exercise class: it is a way to greater physical and mental health, a journey into finding who you really are, and a map to how to live a meaningful, purposeful life, and have more satisfying and fulfilling relationships with all living things, including parents, children, pets, and husbands.

The asanas are only the first of many things you will learn: there are eight kinds of yoga that are the centerpiece of how to live your life better. They are called the eight arms of yoga: there are the Yamas, Niyamas, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadi, and Asana arms that can help you become the person you would like to be…helping you become an organic whole with all your emotions, thoughts, and prejudices in their place. You don’t tune out with yoga, as much as you tune in.

In an age where more and more people feel isolated, afraid, and alone, yoga brings things together slowly and deliberately into harmony. The word yoga itself means “yoke” as you would yoke oxen to a plow to stir up the ground to grow food to eat. As a gardener, I guarantee you that you will have to wait for your carrots to grow before you pull them out of the ground. That is the pace of life growing and healing, even in this time of speedy internet and smartphones.

Over the years, my mind and body have been learning to work together to produce something remarkable and beautiful, a more harmonious human being. However, it often feels like herding cats and other ridiculous adventures trying to master yoga. So don’t, just enjoy the journey.

Let’s start with the Yamas. There are actually five parts to Yamas, starting with Ahimsa, or non-violence.

Many years ago, I took an oath to be non-violent, helpful, and harmless. I have not always met my goal: I have kicked furniture, gotten mad at my pets, and shouted and stomped my feet a lot in this lifetime, but I know life is a learning process. We are all born weak and helpless and get stronger inside as we grow, and then we grow weak again as we age. This is all about the struggle to be human, but in my case, when I started yoga it helped me to treat my relationships better.

An excerpt from Art of Living Retreat Center blog Jan 28 2018

The five Yamas are as follows: Ahimsa, or non-violence, Satya, or truth, Asteya, or non-stealing, Brahmacharya, or moving with infinity, and Aparigraha, or non-accumulation. These five principles are universal in nature, without exception. An intrinsic part of human values and an ethical code of conduct. The understanding of, and more importantly, incorporation of them, changes the entire texture of our physical practice.

Published by Jane Dance

Health Educator, Massage Therapist, Yoga Teacher

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