There are five niyamas, or personal observances, in yoga philosophy which govern how we treat ourselves. They are not just a list of rules, but rather a belief system and an attitude that we take towards ourselves. The five niyamas are:
The yamas are broken down into five “wise characteristics.” The yamas are not a list of rules but rather a code by which yogis adhere to and adopt into their own personal moral system.
Patanjali describes how the nature of human beings can become purified by applying these five yamas and health and contentment can be increased.
As we approach the ending of 2016 and embark on 2017, my focus has shifted from a physical practice to a more well-rounded practice that includes all 8 limbs of yoga. After spending hours going over my 200 hour training notes and studying excerpts from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, I feel inspired to share. So often we (myself included) think of yoga as an asana practice. The poses are certainly part of yoga, but yoga is so much broader than the body postures its best known for.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras explains the concept of an eight limbed path that forms the blueprint for practicing yoga. These eight different elements are equal, none rising above the other in terms of importance. They are all equal components of the overall holistic effort towards finding wholeness for each person as they find connection with their source, the divine. Everyone is different, and we all experience our own unique life events in a self-paced way. Accordingly, every person can focus on any one of the eight limbs at any given time, working towards a personal comprehension, and moving on to another of the eight elements at their leisure.
The eight limbs (elements) of practicing yoga are:
Lately, I have placed a greater emphasis on meditation in my practice. I am beginning to find my way down this path of enlightenment, and I have to tell you that I like it. Increasing my knowledge on Buddhism, I am always hungry for more. Today I came across fourteen great rules that Buddha has taught and I want to share them with you.
1. The greatest enemy in life is the self.
2. The greatest ignorance in life is deceit.
3. The greatest failure in life is vanity.
4. The greatest tragedy in life is jealousy.
5. The greatest error in life is to lose oneself.
6. The greatest crime in life is disloyalty to parents.
7. The greatest pity in life is self-belittlement.
8. The greatest pride in life is recovering from failures.
9. The greatest bankrptcy in life is hopelessness.
10. The greatest wealth in life is health and wisdom.
11. The greatest debt in life is affection and love.
12. The greatest gift in life is acceptance and forgiveness.
13. The greatest weakness in life is lack of awareness.
14. The greatest consolation in life is charity.
May you have a peaceful week, my friends. Namaste.
Dr. Joe Dispenza has written about, "The Placebo Effect," and how we can apply it to our meditations. Simply put, the placebo effect uses the analogy of a doctor giving his patients water in their medicine syringe and allowing them to think it is medicine. The patients believed they were receiving powerful medication and became healthier than ever. The moral of the story was that they believed they were growing healthier, and so they did.
In other words, the mind is stronger than any issue one might face. Whatever you tell yourself is what you will believe, and what you believe will be.
Let's take that powerful thought with us this week as we grow mindful of our thoughts and increase our self-awareness. We have the power to be the change in our own lives.
By: Ron Mitchell
This is a public letter to all the people who have offended someone I love in the past two weeks and three days.
Dear well-intending but highly offensive friends & family,
My best friend lost her child. Can any of us really comprehend that? She lost her child! No, she is not okay. This is not okay. It's not going to be okay. Time will not heal this wound. This is an open wound and it will always be an open wound. Part of my dear, beloved friend is gone with her child. That part of her will never be back, and that's okay. She and her daughter belong together. When her daughter left, the part of her that belonged to her daughter also left. She is not the same person anymore. She is not complete in the same way. Let's get the elephant out of the room -- IT'S NOT OKAY!!
Many of you have said many things. And, although you mean well, some of the things are offensive in a way you don't understand.
"She will be okay. It just takes time." Seriously? What is wrong with you? Why would it be okay that her child has passed away in two months or two years or two decades? Why would it be okay that her child did not get to experience life and that she was robbed of the opportunity to raise her daughter? It won't be okay in two years. In two years, she will be grieving that she isn't able to take her daughter trick or treating for the first time or hear her begin to put sentences together. In ten years, she will be remembering that she should be helping her daughter with her fifth grade project. In eighteen years, she will think about the college she should be driving her daughter to. It won't be okay in time.
"She will have another baby." And? Yeah, okay. She might. She might not. That's her business. Either way, nothing will bring back the daughter she just lost. What if the person you love most passes away? Will the birth of another person compensate for the loss of your loved ones life?
"God doesn't make mistakes. He knows what he's doing." While this is meant to be comforting, I think it has the opposite effect. You cannot and should not tell a mother that her child was not supposed to live. And who are you to make that decision and shove it down her throat during the worst time of her life? What would make you think that God wants all these other children to live and be loved by their parents, but not her daughter? This is actually a very insensitive comment to make. Stop saying it.
"God calls his best ones home." This comment is not nearly as offensive as some I have heard, but it feels a little like sweeping the death of her child under the rug. This is especially true when you're on the receiving end of the comment.
"Now she has a guardian angel." There's a lot to be said for the art of positive thinking and speaking. It's true -- she does have a guardian angel now. Still, it's a little bit like telling the guy who just lost both legs in a tragedy to be grateful he now has a wheelchair. She didn't want a guardian angel. She wanted to raise and love her child.
"Have faith and trust God. Don't be sad. This was for the best." I would like to think this one doesn't need an explanation. Whether or not she trusts God or has faith in God has nothing to do with her emotional state of sadness. And how dare anyone be so full of themselves that they feel like they have the authority to decide what is best for someone else? This comment is almost like the Christian's way of saying, "shut the fuck up, I don't want to hear it." If you don't want to hear about someone's sadness, don't contact them when they are sad. But, for the love of all things good, don't contact a sad person and scold them for being sad.
So what should you say? It doesn't matter because it isn't about you. Just be present. Be concerned. It isn't what you say, it's who you are. Your genuine and heartfelt concern will show.
Please try not to judge how she grieves. Don't judge how she feels. Maybe she wants to talk. Maybe she doesn't. Maybe she wants to eat. Maybe not. Maybe she wants to pray. Maybe she doesn't. Whatever she needs, only she knows. As her support group, we all owe it to her to allow her the space to decide what she needs and to put those things into action in her life.
She might want to walk around in her favorite sweatpants for two days straight, with the blinds closed, in the dark, with no contact with the outside world. Maybe she is rubbing her scar, the only proof that she has that her daughter existed, other than the beautiful urn with her ashes. Maybe she isn't talking to you because she doesn't care what you have to say right now. Maybe for the first time in her life, she is focused on herself and how she will take her next breath. Maybe it isn't about you today.
I am certainly not promoting depression. Obviously, if she (or anyone) was withdrawn for extremely long periods of time, there would be a need for some type of intervention. This isn't that time. She just lost her child.
It's okay to be sad. Sad is not bad, y'all. Sad is an emotion, just like happiness is an emotion. Our culture has taught us that being sad is not acceptable. We live in a society that says sad people have bad attitudes, have a victim mentality and lack faith. That's simply untrue. Sadness is part of life, just as joy is. She experienced the highest peak of joy she's ever known when she was with her daughter, and she dipped to the lowest dungeon of grief and despair she has ever known when she lost her daughter.
She will be in this dungeon for awhile. This is what she needs. She misses her child. She is grieving not only the loss of her daughter's company, but also the loss of all the memories they were supposed to create in the future. She is watching her partner grieve the loss of his daughter. A beautiful soul who represented unity and joy and who looked like a porcelain doll is gone forever. It is sad. It's very sad. And that is acceptable.
Being authentic is more important than being happy. Being present in the moment, mindful of your thoughts, your emotions and your actions is more healing than sweeping it under the rug and labeling it "God's Will." She is being present. She is allowing herself to feel the pain. I am proud of her, watching her as she walks through this fire.
She will eventually come out on the other side of the fire. And, when she does, this still will not be okay. She will be forever changed. That doesn't have to be a bad thing. Her life has been touched in a way she never could have imagined before. She will learn how to function again with the pain she will forever carry, although she will be different and probably feel incomplete. Different doesn't mean bad. Incomplete doesn't have to be negative. I bet she would rather feel incomplete, armed with the knowledge that her missing part is with her daughter in heaven than she would feel totally complete and have her baby live on in the afterlife without a piece of her mother. I asked her if it was better for her to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all. What do you think she said?
Yum! I got this recipe from my Clean Eating Magazine. It was delicious. I recommend.
Prep Time: 40 min
2 ears corn, husked
1 ruby red grapefruit
1/4 English cucumber, diced
1/2 white onion, diced
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
Zest and juice of 2 limes, divided
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp ground cumin, divided
1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
8 small corn tortillas
1/4 cup brown rice flour
4 egg whites
1 cup brown rice crisp cereal
8 oz boneless, skinless halibut, patted dry and cut into 1-oz strips
Olive oil cooking spray
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (TRY: Voskos Original Plain Greek Yogurt)
1/3 cup crumbled feta or cotija cheese
Prepare salsa: Arrange oven racks in center and top half of oven, and preheat oven to broil. Place corn on a baking sheet and transfer to top oven rack. Broil, turning once, until kernels are brown and blistered, about 18 minutes. When cool enough to handle, carefully slice kernels from cob. Transfer kernels to a medium bowl. Cut peel and white skin from grapefruit. Working over bowl of corn, use a paring knife to segment grapefruit, adding segments to bowl and allowing juice to drip over kernels. Add cucumber, onion, tomatoes, serrano pepper, zest and juice of 1 lime, oil, cilantro, ¼ tsp cumin and ¼ tsp salt to bowl. Mix well, cover and refrigerate until needed.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Stack tortillas on top of each other and wrap in foil. Place packet on 1 side of a parchment-lined baking sheet.
To a shallow bowl, add flour. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk egg whites, remaining 1/4 tsp cumin and 1/4 tsp salt. In a food processor, pulse rice crisp cereal into a fine powder; transfer to a third shallow bowl. Working 1 at a time, coat each halibut strip in flour, then egg mixture and, finally, cereal. Arrange strips in a single layer on empty side of baking sheet. Mist strips with cooking spray and bake in center of oven for 6 minutes, until coating is golden and fish is cooked through.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine yogurt, feta and remaining zest and juice of 1 lime. Set aside.
To assemble, carefully open foil packet of tortillas. Spoon salsa into center of each tortilla, dividing evenly. Top with halibut and yogurt-feta sauce.
Who doesn't want the perfect yoga booty? Yoga is the best way to build hardcore strength, healthy muscles and a sculpted booty. Quiet as its kept, many popular methods for toning the glutes (or even worse, not toning them at all) cause tight, stiff, and shortened gluteal muscles. This can cause sciatic nerve problems, back pain, and sometimes knee trouble.
Not to worry, we're all in luck. By practicing specific yoga poses, we can stretch and strengthen the glutes for the perfect sculpted, healthy booty.
The following sequence is perfect for creating the highly coveted yoga booty:
Warrior 1 - Work on squaring your hips toward the front of the room, while grounding the knife edge of your left foot into the mat. Breathe in Warrior 1 for 5 to 10 breaths, and then release your palms down to the mat; return to a low lunge before moving back into downward facing dog. Repeat on the left side.
Co-Founder of Yoga Factory with my husband, Ronzell, I am a lover of life. I love the feeling of a calm mind with an active body. I hope to share any good information I come across with you through this blog so we can all enjoy healthy living. XO