8-Limbs of Yoga: Yamas

Wow!  What a gift to listen to Deborah Adele as she shared her wisdom and teachings of the 8-limbs of Yoga according to Patanjali and the Yoga Sutras.  I attended her workshop in Omaha the weekend of April 22 & 23.  I sat in awe and reverence as she openly shared her understanding of these ancient teachings and how we can apply them to our daily practice.

She shared the rich history of yoga and I was reminded once again of the historical texts including the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras and Patanjali’s 8-limbs of yoga. The yoga philosophy and texts are tools for us to use as we deepen our practice on and off the mat.

I had a few “aha moments”.  These were statements and concepts I had heard before from other teachers, but Deborah put them into a context I could easily understand and apply.These included:

  • Difference between Eastern and Western minds:
  • Our mistakes create opportunities to learn and does not mean we failed
  • We can “witness and allow” Instead of “analyze and fix”
  • Value experience not just knowledge
  • Both/And instead of Right/Wrong
  • 5 Kleshas = mental states that cloud the mind and manifest in unwholesome actions.  They live deep in the mind and are the cause of our suffering.  Attachments and aversions are what sit on our hearts.  This is the suffering within us.
  • Ignorance
  • Identity (too much “I”-ness)
  • Pleasure
  • Pain
  • Clinging or fixations
  • Practicing the 8-limbs of yoga will help us move toward enlightenment and joy with less suffering in the mind.
Throughout the month of May we will discuss the Yamas (1st limb of yoga) and how we can apply these restrictions to our yoga practice and life.