Yoga: the 10 Essential Philosophies
As you might have guessed by now, I love yoga and all that it has to offer. Here are the 10 essential philosophies to adopt if you'd love to lead a beautiful yogic life...
Firstly come the five Yamas, which serve as a kind of moral code of conduct. They provide guidance to the way we conduct not only ourselves, but our interactions and relationships with others. In living with kindness, truthfulness, abundance, continence, and self-reliance, we are able to work towards fulfillment.
- A H I M S A is the yama of non-violence - remaining non-violent in feeling, thinking, speaking and acting. And this includes being non-violent to ourselves; instead, being compassionate and aware to ourselves and those around us, always.
- S A T Y A reminds us of the important of truthfulness - remaining true to both ourselves and to others; conducting ourselves authentically in all that we do, and never lying.
- A S T E Y A is the yama of non-stealing. This refers to stealing in the sense of believing we cannot create what we need for ourselves. But our Universe is abundant, and there is enough abundance for everyone; we just need to remember.
- B R A H M A C H A R Y A is all about saving our energy and minimising its spend to achieve the best result - both in our yoga practice, and in life. Our life force, our energy, is a precious thing; we should consciously choose to spend it wisely, and not on impulse.
- A P A R I G R A H A reminds us to stay self-relient and non-possessive, and asks us to live without greed or jealousy. Instead of envying what others are or have, we must instead truly discover ourselves.
The five Niyamas allow us personal observances in order to adopt a soulful life. Enrich your life by turning your attention inwards to the self.
- S A U C H A reminds us to live a pure, clean life. The idea behind Saucha is protecting and ensuring the sanctity of the energies that surround us, and to cultivate a deep awareness of our surroundings. Other than personal hygiene - the obvious - living with neat and tidy surrounds is practicing Saucha. And in yoga, for example, an om chant to open and close a practice helps to seal and separate energies.
- S A M T O S H A is finding contentment in what we have already attained and achieved. It's about being the best we can be in that moment - whatever and wherever it may be - without overexertion, disappointment or pressure; for there's always tomorrow, a fresh new day. When we are content, peace comes far more easily.
- T A P A S provides the fire at our backs, pushing us from dreams to reality. While Samtosha is about finding contentment with where we are, Tapas does not let us get complacent with the aspects of our lives where we could work harder, do more, give more. It's about being disciplined with the energy we have available to use.
- S V A D H Y A Y A translates to mean self study; it is the careful observation of ourselves. By looking within, and not comparing ourselves to others, we are able to assess what it is that we are feeling in that very moment. It is the internal focus that forms Svadhyaya.
- I S H V A R A P R A N I D H A N A is all about self-surrender. As opposed to worrying about the 'end result's, we should focus on our intention and efforts - for the results lie in the hands of the divine, that universal life force of which we are all a part of. Remember that there is a bigger purpose to all that we do. No matter your spiritual or religious beliefs; dedicate all that you do to that higher force.
I love the yogic approach to living a happy, healthy and fulfilled life. Whether you're a dedicated yogi or not, there are certainly some beautiful lessons to be learned from these philosophies.
How could you start on your path to fulfillment today?
References: Wellbeing Magazine, Yoga Journal.