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8 Limbs Of Yoga - What Are Yamas?

Last week I announced I'm doing a mini-series on the 8 limbs of yoga to help you understand why yoga is sooooo much more than bending yourself into a pretzel!

So here is Part 1 - THE YAMAS!

The Yamas are the first of the eight limbs according to the ancient text, 'Yoga Sutras of Patanjali'. Yama means 'restraint' in Sanskrit therefore you can think of the Yamas as the 'don't's' of yoga, as opposed to the 'do's' of the Niyamas!

  1. Ahimsa (non-violence) - not only to avoid physically harming others, ourselves or nature; but to be kind, avoid gossip or thinking negative thoughts about yourself and others and to respect all living things.
  2. Satya (truthfulness) - but more than just telling the truth! It's being honest with yourself, your practice and who you are, to yourself and others.
  3. Asteya (non-stealing) - so much more than just physically stealing stuff, but to also avoid taking from yourself and your environment e.g. ‘I’m not good enough’ or 'I don't have enough'.
  4. Brahmacharya (celibacy) - calm down, it's not literal! ? Remember, this text is almost 2000 years old! Yes, it talks about fidelity, however also about restraining from impulses and conserving energy e.g. relaxing when you need to (and not wasting your sexual energy on a whim!).
  5. Aparigraha (non-greed) - also non-possessiveness of people and materials. Aparigraha teaches us to take only what we need and to let go of what no longer serves us.

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