The Eight Limbs of Yoga- Yama the First Limb

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IMG_0194The study and practice of Yoga, encompass a series of teachings called The Eight Limbs. The Eight Limbs are a road map to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual understanding and awareness.   They help those who study them achieve a universal understanding through intentional action and a subtle shift in the way they view themselves, and the world. The eight limbs begin with Yama. Yama is a guideline regarding one morality towards others, or more simply, the way a person should treat those around him or her.  This first limb is further broken down into five subcategories that give the practitioner a clear understanding of how to shift their conscious behavior. The first Yama is Ahimsa, or the notion that one should strive to live life in such a way that it brings harmony and accord to those around them. This includes consciously choosing a path of kindness and non-violence. The second Yama is, Satya, or more plainly, truthfulness. Satya encourages the practitioner to be in the moment and to value those around them. This can be achieved through honestly appreciating the expressions of life each and every day. The third Yama is Asetya or the notion that all one needs to achieve happiness is within ones self.   We should not expect or take from others that which does not belong to us, fore it will never truly satisfy us. The fourth Yama or Brahmacharya encourages the practitioner to focus on a balanced, energetic and healthy lifestyle. This Yama can be achieved by practicing moderation in all things.   The Fifth and final Yama is Aparigraha, which encourages an expanded awareness of the abundance in which we find ourselves. One should only take what they can use and be generous with what is not essential to our health, wellbeing and happiness. When all eight limbs work together, they culminate in the achievement of Samadhi and absolute mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.   The first five limbs: yama, niyama, asana, pranayama and pratyahara build the foundation of the journey through yoga and ones body. The final three limbs, which are predicated upon the success of the first five, condition the mind to help attain enlightenment. The eight limbs are a beautiful synergy of mind, body and spirit… I am truly excited to be undertaking the journey!!!


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