Practicing the poses is an excellent way to connect the mind, body, and spirit, but it’s just the beginning! To experience the full range of benefits yoga has to offer, you also need to take your practice off your mat. If you want to explore deeper dimensions of the mind, body, and spirit, learn about the universal vows known as the Yamas.
Get More Benefits Of Yoga with Practicing Yamas
The daily practice of aligning our thoughts, behaviors, and actions with the five Yamas can be challenging. However, by merely contemplating the Yamas, we begin to practice them.
There are many different ways to experience the Yamas both on and off the mat. Do so methodically by following the steps outlined below.
Pick only one of the Yamas to focus on at a time. Begin by reading more about each Yama to gain a better understanding of how it impacts your life. Chances are as you learn more about the Yamas, you will be drawn to a particular one. This is where you should start.
When on your mat, focus on your chosen Yama and let it be the guiding force to how you engage with the breath and the body as you flow from pose to pose.
Off the mat, find a way to document the insights you discover. This can be through journaling, poetry, drawing, etc. The goal is to reflect and contemplate what you are learning.
Spend some time in meditation to contemplate negative patterns. Try to discover where they originate from. These patterns will most likely be deeply rooted, but the Yamas are a powerful tool to shine the light on awareness and healing.
Once you feel you’ve successfully mastered one Yama, you can move on to another. As you grow stronger, you can practice more than one at a time at your own pace. As you change and grow, you will discover different layers of the Yamas and how they can apply to your daily life.
Tap Into Your Resources
For more insight into Living your Yoga Beyond the Poses, I’ve created a resource list for you.
Books: - The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice by Deborah Adele - Yoga’s Yamas and Niyamas: 10 Principles for Peace & Purpose by Courtney Seiberling - The Eight Limbs of Yoga: A Handbook for Living Yoga Philosophy Paperback by Sarbacker and Kimple - Living the Sutras: A Guide to Yoga Wisdom beyond the Mat by DiNardo and Pearce-Hayden - True Yoga: Practicing With the Yoga Sutras for Happiness & Spiritual Fulfillment by Jennie Lee - Inside the Yoga Sutras: A Comprehensive Sourcebook by Jaganath Carrera - The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Sri Swami Satchidananda
Mantras - "I Am Enough." - "I'm Here for a Purpose." - "Om Namah Shivaya" - "I Open My Heart to the Universe." - "I Change My Thoughts; I Change My World." - "Let Go."
Inspiration - Meditation explained: https://www.headspace.com/meditation-101/what-is-meditation - Learn from others: https://tinybuddha.com/
- How Practicing Yoga Off the Mat Can Transform Your Life: www.sustainabrain.com/post/practicing-yoga
- How to Embrace the Philosophy of Yoga in Your Daily Life: www.sustainabrain.com/post/philosophy-of-yoga
When we practice the Yamas, we are striving towards living a healthier and more peaceful life.
What was commonly considered yoga in the West is in actuality just one of the many paths of Yoga. Learning to live yoga away from your mat will help you balance the mind, body, and spirit.