Thursday, November 4, 2010

November Monthly Theme: The Other Yamas

The November theme of the month are the other four Yamas or restraints in Patanjali’s 8 limbed path. These restraints are placed on ourselves willingly in order to focus our efforts in the right direction. It is a disciplined path that allows us to head toward the fulfillment of our dharma, or life purpose. The other four yamas—Satya, Asteya, Brahmacharya, and Aparigraha allow us to coexist harmoniously with others.

1.) SATYA, means "truth," or "not lying." Practicing satya means being truthful in our feelings, thoughts, and words, and deeds. It means being honest with ourselves and with others.

2.) ASTEYA, or "not stealing," means more than not taking things that don’t belong to you. It means also rooting out any subconscious beliefs of lack and scarcity that cause greed and hoarding. We steal because we misperceive the universe as lacking abundance or we think that there is not enough for everyone.

3.) BRAHMACHARYA, or "continence," is when we consciously choose to use our sexual energy or life force to express our dharma, rather than to frivolously dissipate it in an endless pursuit of fleeting pleasures. Brahmacharya reminds us to use use our energy wisely and conservatively.

4.) APARIGRAHA, means "Greedlessness." Aparigraha means not coveting what isn’t ours and not wanting what isn’t ours. It is also the non-accumulation of things. Things take your energy which takes your energy and time away from spiritual practices. If it is collecting dust let go of it, get rid of it. Direct all that extra energy towards sadhana (spiritual practice.).

The yamas and niyamas are given to the yogi as practices. Perfection is impossible, but we must strive for constant and steady practice.