3 Children, 5 Mats and 8 Limbs?!?

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The study and practice of yoga, encompass a series of teachings that I touched on in my post, 'A Year of Yoga', called The Eight Limbs. To review, The Eight Limbs are:
  1. Yama- the guidelines regarding ones morality towards others.
  2. Niyama- the guidelines regarding ones moral behavior toward ones self.
  3. Asana- the postures practiced in yoga to achieve healthy and fulfillment in life.
  4. Pranayama- the practice of yogic breathing.
  5. Pratyhara- the practice of controlling of ones senses.
  6. Dharana- the practice of concentration to cultivate an inner awareness.
  7. Dhyana- the practice of meditation, specifically that of the divine.
  8. Samadhi- the union of, or joining, with the divine.
In the coming weeks I will touch on each of these individually as they pertain to the goings on in my life.  (It's amazing that centuries old teachings can be so relevant, but that is yet another reason that I truly enjoy my practice.)  But today I'd like to briefly touch on The First Leg, or 'The Yamas'.  In a nut shell, The Yama's are the attitudes what one has towards others... Or better yet, the way we treat those around us.  'The Yama's' are further broken down into 5 subcategories that are as follows:
  • Ahimsa- Practicing a path of non-violence or harm to other living beings (or, more simply, be kind).
  • Satya- Expressing that which is true (or, be truthful).
  • Asetya- Not taking that which does not belong to you (pretty clear, I think).
  • Branmacharya- Practicing Moderation (or, don't overindulge in all areas of your life).
  • Aparigraha- Take only what you can use (again, pretty clear)...
It is believed that to reach enlightenment, that one must successfully pass through all eight limbs.  Well... Needless to say, I'm going to need far more than this lifetime to achieve that... So, I'm taking baby steps... Teeny, tiny little baby steps.
I can honestly say that my attitude towards others is tested right out of the gate in the mornings... If it's not a screaming child, a barking dog, or a melt down over the contents of a packed lunch, its the trip to and from school.  I can't speak to the drivers in your neck of the woods, but the drivers around here in the mornings are akin to Maniacal Clowns...  Were the children not in the car, I'd be more than happy to truly tell said drivers what I think of their antics, but six little ears hear EVERYTHING, ergo my momentous restraint (I'm talking HERCULEAN... but I digress). Yesterday morning, like many other mornings, I was late... Herding everyone out the door, with a wild look in my eye, we hit the road 7 minutes before school started...  Yep, we are 15 minutes away... Needless to say, I was hoping for an abbreviated commute (NOPE). After hitting, every-single-light (and I'm not exaggerating), we got stuck in some random construction traffic that caused a school bus to block 3 lanes of traffic (joy...).  And once we emerged from that mess, we fell in behind a car that should seat five, but that was full of no less than 7 people, all of whom were eating and passing around a fork...  Ewwww.....  The driver (I cringe to admit she was a women) was weaving all over the road awhile driving with her knees (remember she was eating) and almost side swiped two other cars, before everyone fell back to give her ample room. As I creeped along behind her, I realized that in times like these, I should truly learn from my circumstances...  I was in some form or another practicing non-violence (I promise :)... I was being utterly truthful by simply stating to my children, 'That women is a bad driver' (Although, the dialogue in my head was much more colorful, and I would have LOVED to have indulged in a mind-blowing blue streak... But, I refrained).  What I really wanted to do was take the bloody fork and chuck it out the ruddy window, but in light of the fact they were all SHARING a fork, I mentally gave myself a head slap and moved past it...  I was clearly being taught patience... I am not a patient person, by nature or nurture. On the way home I practiced even more restraint and moderation by driving past Starbucks and not stopping (that was painful) and there's no Friday morning practice that fits my schedule, so I was out of luck...  Bummer.  The most important part of these lessons beyond my time on the mat, is that my children are watching my every move.  How I speak, what I say, and what I do, are all filed away in their little brains to be resurrected at some point in the future, for better or for worse. I try very hard to be a good person, but I simply must try harder now that I am a parent...  So, my first step down the yogic path may be fraught with peril and the morning commute, but I'm taking small steps to better myself, and in turn to be a better parent.  And, I may not be the typical yogi, or even a typical mother, but I'm taking my teachings to heart and hope that they surface in my life and in practice. Namaste everyone!  Have a great weekend!! *The information here in, was drawn directly from my Yava Yoga Manual, and the teachings of Yava Yoga!  Thanks Cynthia!


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