For her second contribution with Breakfast With Audrey, AnandaI pulls from some of the ancient texts of yoga. Ananda’s next few contributions will be based around the texts of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
In today’s fast moving world, where the majority of our attention is moved by the latest and greatest quick fixes, trends, events, and devices- the yoga practice continues, and these ancient texts offer relevant advice on how to live a life of fulfilment today.
The Yoga Sutras were written in approximately 200 BC. The author of these texts, Patanjali, is thought to have been a physician, sanskrit scholar and yogi. Each scripture is an aphorism coming from an oral tradition, perfect for memorizing and repeating the teachings, so you can access them anywhere, embedded ‘in the cloud’ within. These phrases and sutras are guidelines and disciplines that welcome the benefits of health and self-awareness that come from the practice of yoga. In the second chapter, he provides the ethical guidelines of practicing yoga- the Yamas. Very roughly translated, this means the practice of restraint. This practice gives us the fundamental skill in leading a fulfilling life.
There are 8 limbs of Yoga, and the first is the Yamas. Yama comes to mean how we interact relate with the external world, this may surprise some, as many of us think of yoga as the physical practice. This highlights that yoga is about the whole experience of our living. I think it is important to say that the teachings of the sutras are in not intended to simply control our behavior. Instead, they suggest that through the choices we make within our efforts, we are rewarded with the fruits of those actions and behaviors. It is a principle of universal morality.
Beginning with the first limb, Yama, we will talk about Ahimsa. Ahimsa is translated as ‘non-violence’.
Many of you will be familiar with this idea from the teachings of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, and in those examples you can clearly see what a powerful theory this is, when put into practice. The theory and practice are intricately bound.
Ahimsa is a very practical way of bringing our attention to our thoughts, words, and actions. These three levels of being are a manifestation of the world we live in and create, every time we awake and go about our day. When we bring our attention to our thoughts, look to see if any are negative or harmful. These thoughts lead to how we feel; those feelings predispose us to communicate and receive words in a certain way, which effect how we make sense of our life. In turn, we live out our lives and make decisions according to the way in which we make sense of our relationships.
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