Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved | Wacky Dog
0776 4682 779
Contact Telephone Number
OGA Y Sue Lyman
  Sun Salutation - July 2016 Following the requests for a sequence which could be practised at home, I have drawn up my pin-men Sun Salutation!  This is a very basic Surya Namaskar (salute to the sun) routine, which we have explored in classes.  Don’t forget that prior to working through this you should limber/warm-up; ideally follow the basic routine that we have practiced in class, with some cat limbers and then low runners lunges to prepare the muscles and joints. Start by going through the sequence fairly slowly, using it as an extension to your limbering, working once on the right and then the left.  Then the options are open; the sequence can be practised fairly quickly, making it an aerobic routine, or it could be practised mindfully; holding each asana and relaxing down into it before moving on to the next  pose.  Remember to keep breathing throughout, easily and steadily – there should be no stress in body or breathing, if there is, stop the practice and take time in a relaxed position to let the body settle. The number of times the sequence is practised is up to each individual, listen to your body as you  move, notice how you feel and you will be guided by your instinct.  Take time at the end to relax in a restorative posture, acknowledging how you are feeling after your practice. Enjoy!
  Benefits of Yoga - August 2016 Is there no end to the benefits of yoga practice! We are aware that yoga can help to improve our flexibility, our balance, our strength and our breathing. Through mindful practice and relaxation techniques yoga can help to reduce stress and  Yoga practitioners also know that it can help us on more subtle levels, thus helping us physically, mentally and emotionally. It is always interesting when research supports the benefits of yoga and recently an article in the Body and Soul section of The Times* titled “The exercises that sharpen the mind” caught my attention.  Apparently, research carried out the University of Oxford has found that regular exercise can help our cognitive function, improving our speed of learning, episodic and long-term memory.  In the article, the findings of research on several forms of exercise was outlined, yoga being one of these. According to Researchers at the University of Illinois, regular yoga practice has been perceived to boost mental flexibility and memory. The researchers asked adults (55-79yrs) to attend either hatha yoga or general stretching sessions regularly for eight weeks and tested their brain responses. By the end of the trial, the yoga group were “faster and more accurate on tests of information recall, mental flexibility and task-switching than before and had significant improvements in memory, while the stretching group saw no improvements”.  For yoga practitioners this may come as no surprise, we are encouraged to focus during our asana practice and particularly during our balancing asanas, this mental concentration is what the researchers believe brings benefits to the brain.  As mentioned before, if we practice our yoga without focusing our mind we are just doing a stretching practice, by engaging the mind, we protect ourselves through listening to our body and we improve our focus, concentration and therefore our cognitive function. More good reasons to practice our yoga! Namast.  Sue 
  Sri Lanka - October 2016 The Botanical Gardens in Sri Lanka When visiting the Botanical Gardens in Sri Lanka we were told that because they don’t experience the changes in the weather that give us our Seasons, the indigenous trees on the island don’t lose their leaves.  However, somewhat bizarrely, deciduous trees that have been introduced to the island from countries with seasonal weather still lose their leaves each year! Deciduous trees shed their leaves to conserve water and energy during the harsher season of winter.  However there is no “harsh” season on the island, so the trees are going through this process totally unnecessarily, in fact they have to expend energy replacing the leaves they did not need to shed! It seems that these trees have behaviour patterns that they continue to follow, even when these are no longer suitable or appropriate.  We too struggle to let go of some learned behaviours or responses, even when these are no longer applicable or useful to us. Reacting to often ‘perceived’ situations using our ‘fall back behaviour pattern’ instead of looking at the circumstances with more of an open mind and perhaps responding more appropriately, may result in a better outcome than if we had automatically fallen back into one of our ‘learned’ responses which may no longer be appropriate or beneficial in that situation. Sue 
  Cat Pose - January 2017 There has been another article in the Times, giving details of studies that have yet again provided evidence of the benefits of yoga practice !  This time stating the yoga classes can help ease lower back pain.  Trials carried out by researchers in the US, involving more than one thousand people have reported that those taking part in regular yoga classes had less pain and more function in the lower back within the first year of practice than those who did none.  I know that yoga has helped my lower back issues, but some people still believe that yoga is only for the flexible, so articles such as these which give evidence of the benefits to all, help people to consider more treatment options when they are discussing conditions with their doctor. A very simple limbering for the spine, which can also increase flexibility in the neck and shoulders whilst releasing muscles in the hips, back and abdomen, is Marjaryasana (Cat Pose).  Combining this gentle movement with the breath can also help to calm the mind and reduce stress and bring emotional balance.  Sue 
  The Eight Limbs of Yoga - January 2018 The Sage Patanjali (often called the “father of modern yoga”) is considered the first to assimilate all the teachings of yoga into his famous, classic text “The Yoga Sutras”. The Sutras are divided into four sections (or padas) and the practice of yoga comes from the second pada – Sadhana, which contains the description of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, each of which offer us guidance on how to live a meaningful and more disciplined existence, alleviating suffering, stilling the mind and leading us to the ultimate goal of yoga practice – enlightenment or freedom, where we have the ability to ‘see life and reality equally’ without disturbance from the mind. So, what are these eight limbs/branches/steps of yoga? Yamas – moral disciplines, guidelines for interacting with the world around us. Niyamas – positive duties, guidelines for self-discipline or personal behaviour. Asanas – physical postures (preparing for seated meditation). Pranayamas – breathing practices or techniques to control prana (the vital life force / energy). Pratyahara – sense withdrawal, drawing inwards; becoming absorbed in our focus and not being distracted. Dharana – Focused concentration (following from the previous two limbs) the intense focus on a single point of concentration. Dhyana – Meditation – the complete and uninterrupted flow of the mind toward the object of focus. Samadhi – a state of bliss or enlightenment when the mind is fully under control. During a block of sessions, we will give some thought to the Yamas and how we can apply them to our practice and our lives.  Exploring each of the five guidelines: Ahimsa (non-violence/non-harming), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (abstinence/right use of energy) and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness/non-greed). After each session I will post what we considered in a little more detail so that you can read it at your leisure and perhaps investigate further if you desire..  Sue 
   Ahimsa - January 2018 The first of Patanjali’s Yamas is Ahimsa; Non-Violence or Non-Harming. Non-violence in all aspects of our lives, physically or spiritually, in word, thought and action. Having compassion towards ourselves and to others, being kind and treating all living beings with care.  Cultivating a sense of harmony, balance or peace within and around ourselves. Ahimsa in our yoga practice leads us to let go of negative thinking about our body, accepting ourselves as we are that moment, listening to our bodies and letting go of our expectations, allowing our bodies to lead us in our practice, rather than forcing them into what we think they should do. Being kind to ourselves as we practice, being aware of and not being violent to our bodies. Ahimsa also means being mindful of our thoughts, thoughts towards ourselves and to others. Negative thoughts make us feel bad whilst positive ones make us feel happier, peaceful and more relaxed (a win-win situation surely!).  I love the quote “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character for it is your destiny” (attributed to the Chinese Philosopher, Lao Tzu). Meditation can help to calm the mind, and clear random or negative thoughts to enable us to think clearly with loving kindness. Sometimes it can help to meditate upon a mantra, such as Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu, a mantra for peace, one translation of which is “May all beings everywhere be happy & free & may my thoughts and actions contribute someway to that happiness & freedom to all”. Bringing ahimsa into our lives can help us to find the love we all have as the essence of our innermost selves, bringing balance and peace to ourselves and to others. Perhaps starting on our mats and flowing off and into the rest of our lives Namaste
Ahimsa Ahimsa Eight Limbs of Yoga Eight Limbs of Yoga Cat Pose Cat Pose Sun Salutation Sun Salutation Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Benefits of Yoga Benefits of Yoga
   Satya - February 2018 The second of Patanjali’s Yamas is Satya; Truthfulness or Non-Lying. Being truthful to ourselves and others in words, thoughts and actions and seeing the truth or what is real in our lives and situations.  “Sat” in Sanskrit translates to “that which exists, that which is”, this means not letting our emotions or past experiences cloud our vision; seeing what actually is, not what we perceive it to be. This requires us to be mindful, observing the current situation and being open to the truth at that moment without letting our emotions, pre-conceived thoughts or beliefs take over. Thinking about the consequences before we speak or act, and combining with Ahimsa, so that if what we are going to say, albeit truthfully, will harm another, perhaps it would be better not to say it. In our yoga practice we need to be true to ourselves, honestly assessing our movements, our limitations and weaknesses alongside our strengths at that moment in time. Each time we practice we are different, for whatever reason, we need to be honest to ourselves at that time, being aware of how we feel, responding with Ahimsa and Satya to ensure our practice is safe without judgement or expectations. Being aware of our breath will help us to stay true to ourselves in asanas – if our breathing is not steady and easy then perhaps we are not listening to our bodies and being accepting of our strengths and weaknesses with honesty. To be completely honest with ourselves, to be true to our inner self entails clearing some of the ‘learned beliefs’ about ourselves – things we have been told or have told ourselves that are not necessarily truths, “I am useless at running”, “I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible”, even “she’s not text me back because she doesn’t like me”. These irrational thoughts and beliefs come from emotional responses, not truthful assessment, but can become powerful beliefs, creating anxiety and unhappiness. Learning to see ourselves truthfully, recognising our true identity helps us to let go of anything obstructing our peace and integrity, and of course, if we do identify a truth about ourselves that perhaps we don’t like too much, we can apply a little Ahimsa and gently make changes to address that. Being honest with ourselves first, finding the strength in our integrity and being true to ourselves so we can find the freedom of being genuine.  As with Ahimsa, applying Satya in our practice can lead us to take this further into other aspects of our lives. Om Shanti
Satya Satya
   Asteya - February 2018 Asteya is the third of Patanjali’s Yamas. Asteya translates to Non-Stealing, which on a superficial level is a straight-forward moral observance; do not take what doesn’t belong to you, or what has not been offered to you.   Not just on a material level, but also on the subtle levels; non-stealing of ideas, energy, happiness and time from others and from yourself.  Swami Sivananda said that ‘desire or want is the cause for stealing’, therefore, if we have all we want then we are not going to look to take more.  If we can recognise the abundance that we have within us and have gratitude for what we have, we remove feelings that we are unfulfilled and lacking, which create desire and dissatisfaction and the need to search for more to fill the perceived ‘gap’ in our lives.  Asteya reminds us that we should work from a place of abundance; that we have all we need, that we have and are enough, releasing the emptiness of desire and bringing a sense of happiness, wholeness and peace. When we are practicing yoga and don’t allow ourselves to be in the moment, not accepting that wherever we are in our practice at that moment is enough, instead if we are pushing ourselves towards how an asana should be, rather than acknowledging how it feels for us, we steal the pleasure of being present in this asana and the pleasure of our practice overall.  We create feelings of dissatisfaction and deplete our energy.  Instead of thinking about how we can’t get into a particular asana and feeling unhappy, we should focus on where we actually are in the asana, taking our awareness inwards, past our ego, to find gratitude for what we are doing, letting go of the negative energy and releasing into our asana with ease and steadiness and fully experiencing what it means to us at that moment. To take this further and start to practice Asteya off the yoga mat, perhaps we could start by ‘not stealing’ from the earth’s resources; only buying what we need and recycling, repairing and reusing where possible.  Continuing our personal practice by looking within ourselves and our lives to become aware of the abundance that we have, feeling satisfied and balanced, feeling the satisfaction of completeness and peace of gratitude. Om Shanti
Asteya Asteya
   Brahmacharya - February 2018 The fourth of Patanjali’s Yamas is Brahmacharya. Traditionally Brahmacharya is generally translated as ‘Celibacy’ and was originally meant to encourage practitioners to direct any energy that would be used in sensual pleasures more wisely; towards progressing along the yogic path to enlightenment instead.  Obviously, this makes it perhaps one of the more difficult of the yamas for us to connect to in modern culture, and therefore it is more often translated today as ‘Right Use of Energy’ or even ‘Application of Moderation’, encouraging us to consider where we are using and directing our energy and whether this is the best and right use for it.  A poignant reflection on our lives of today is that probably we direct too much energy towards worrying, negative thoughts and concerning ourselves with things that really don’t serve us best, trying to please others, or running after excesses and obsessions we don’t need. In our daily lives we can try to let go of these things that sap our inner energy, finding peace and balance within ourselves through mindful practice and gratitude for the abundance we have within.   Taking control over our worries and anxieties, our impulses for excess (food, shopping, drink or whatever we obsess over) and applying moderation, re-directing the energy we devote to these self- indulgences to better things.  Perhaps not an easy ask! If we begin by applying Brahmacharya to our yoga practice, we start to take our focus inwards and away from our worries and obsessions, instead of pushing ourselves to be something we are not (more flexible or strong) but, through mindful movement, focusing on how we are at that moment, we can start to bring in this balance, applying moderation and right use of energy in our practice leaving us to feel more restored and energised.  Perhaps if we can apply Brahmacharya in our yoga practice, directing our energy to right use and applying moderation to help us find that place of peace within, we can start to apply it, alongside the other yamas, further into our lives to bring gratitude and harmony within and around us. Om Shanti
Brahmacharya Brahmacharya
   Aparigraha - March 2018 Aparigraha – the fifth of Patanjali’s Yamas. Aparigraha means non-coveting / non-possessiveness / non-attachment.    Suggesting that we take only what we need at that moment and to let go of what is no longer serving us, not just materialistically, but emotionally too.   By releasing what is no longer useful to us, be it possessions or thoughts, we free ourselves of ‘baggage’ and open up to new opportunities and fresh ideas.  By hoarding and having excessive possessions or ‘things’ that we no longer need, we create attachment to them and this creates worry about their safety.  We can start to feel that we can only be happy if we ‘have things’, becoming attached to the feelings of material gains, instead of looking within ourselves to find our inner resources and peace. We should also apply this non-attachment to feelings and thoughts, learned behaviours and negative responses which can cause unhappiness and stress, obscuring the true situations we are facing.  Letting go of emotions which are no longer helpful opens our minds to living in the moment, seeing clearly and truthfully and letting go of expectations of outcomes for anything we are doing, allowing us the freedom to fully commit to the activity, without being fixated on the end result; the freedom to really experience everything life has to offer On the yoga mat we can practice Aparigraha by focussing on the enjoyment of our practice, finding peace and freedom in natural movement and experiencing the moment, instead of allowing our ego-mind to compare ourselves to someone else in the room, coveting their skill/flexibility/strength and not recognising our own abundance and abilities, causing feelings of dissatisfaction which distract our mind from listening to our body so we might then push ourselves beyond our capabilities of that moment, into trying to achieve a ‘super-impressive’ asana, possibly harming ourselves and definitely stealing the joy of our practice. In our yoga and our lives, we should celebrate what is ours and what we have - reaching for our own stars rather than gazing at someone else’s. Namaste
Aparigraha Aparigraha
Copyright © 2018 All rights reserved | Wacky Dog 
0776 4682 779
OGA Y Sue Lyman
Contact Telephone Number
  Sun Salutation - July 2016 Following the requests for a sequence which could be practised at home, I have drawn up my pin-men Sun Salutation!  This is a very basic Surya Namaskar (salute to the sun) routine, which we have explored in classes.  Don’t forget that prior to working through this you should limber/warm-up; ideally follow the basic routine that we have practiced in class, with some cat limbers and then low runners lunges to prepare the muscles and joints. Start by going through the sequence fairly slowly, using it as an extension to your limbering, working once on the right and then the left.  Then the options are open; the sequence can be practised fairly quickly, making it an aerobic routine, or it could be practised mindfully; holding each asana and relaxing down into it before moving on to the next  pose.  Remember to keep breathing throughout, easily and steadily – there should be no stress in body or breathing, if there is, stop the practice and take time in a relaxed position to let the body settle. The number of times the sequence is practised is up to each individual, listen to your body as you  move, notice how you feel and you will be guided by your instinct.  Take time at the end to relax in a restorative posture, acknowledging how you are feeling after your practice. Enjoy!
  Benefits of Yoga - August 2016 Is there no end to the benefits of yoga practice! We are aware that yoga can help to improve our flexibility, our balance, our strength and our breathing. Through mindful practice and relaxation techniques yoga can help to reduce stress and  Yoga practitioners also know that it can help us on more subtle levels, thus helping us physically, mentally and emotionally. It is always interesting when research supports the benefits of yoga and recently an article in the Body and Soul section of The Times* titled “The exercises that sharpen the mind” caught my attention.  Apparently, research carried out the University of Oxford has found that regular exercise can help our cognitive function, improving our speed of learning, episodic and long-term memory.  In the article, the findings of research on several forms of exercise was outlined, yoga being one of these. According to Researchers at the University of Illinois, regular yoga practice has been perceived to boost mental flexibility and memory. The researchers asked adults (55-79yrs) to attend either hatha yoga or general stretching sessions regularly for eight weeks and tested their brain responses. By the end of the trial, the yoga group were “faster and more accurate on tests of information recall, mental flexibility and task-switching than before and had significant improvements in memory, while the stretching group saw no improvements”.  For yoga practitioners this may come as no surprise, we are encouraged to focus during our asana practice and particularly during our balancing asanas, this mental concentration is what the researchers believe brings benefits to the brain.  As mentioned before, if we practice our yoga without focusing our mind we are just doing a stretching practice, by engaging the mind, we protect ourselves through listening to our body and we improve our focus, concentration and therefore our cognitive function. More good reasons to practice our yoga! Namast.  Sue 
  Sri Lanka - October 2016 The Botanical Gardens in Sri Lanka When visiting the Botanical Gardens in Sri Lanka we were told that because they don’t experience the changes in the weather that give us our Seasons, the indigenous trees on the island don’t lose their leaves.  However, somewhat bizarrely, deciduous trees that have been introduced to the island from countries with seasonal weather still lose their leaves each year! Deciduous trees shed their leaves to conserve water and energy during the harsher season of winter.  However there is no “harsh” season on the island, so the trees are going through this process totally unnecessarily, in fact they have to expend energy replacing the leaves they did not need to shed! It seems that these trees have behaviour patterns that they continue to follow, even when these are no longer suitable or appropriate.  We too struggle to let go of some learned behaviours or responses, even when these are no longer applicable or useful to us. Reacting to often ‘perceived’ situations using our ‘fall back behaviour pattern’ instead of looking at the circumstances with more of an open mind and perhaps responding more appropriately, may result in a better outcome than if we had automatically fallen back into one of our ‘learned’ responses which may no longer be appropriate or beneficial in that situation. Sue 
  Cat Pose - January 2017 There has been another article in the Times, giving details of studies that have yet again provided evidence of the benefits of yoga practice !  This time stating the yoga classes can help ease lower back pain.  Trials carried out by researchers in the US, involving more than one thousand people have reported that those taking part in regular yoga classes had less pain and more function in the lower back within the first year of practice than those who did none.  I know that yoga has helped my lower back issues, but some people still believe that yoga is only for the flexible, so articles such as these which give evidence of the benefits to all, help people to consider more treatment options when they are discussing conditions with their doctor. A very simple limbering for the spine, which can also increase flexibility in the neck and shoulders whilst releasing muscles in the hips, back and abdomen, is Marjaryasana (Cat Pose).  Combining this gentle movement with the breath can also help to calm the mind and reduce stress and bring emotional balance.  Sue 
  The Eight Limbs of Yoga - January 2018 The Sage Patanjali (often called the “father of modern yoga”) is considered the first to assimilate all the teachings of yoga into his famous, classic text “The Yoga Sutras”. The Sutras are divided into four sections (or padas) and the practice of yoga comes from the second pada – Sadhana, which contains the description of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, each of which offer us guidance on how to live a meaningful and more disciplined existence, alleviating suffering, stilling the mind and leading us to the ultimate goal of yoga practice – enlightenment or freedom, where we have the ability to ‘see life and reality equally’ without disturbance from the mind. So, what are these eight limbs/branches/steps of yoga? Yamas – moral disciplines, guidelines for interacting with the world around us. Niyamas – positive duties, guidelines for self-discipline or personal behaviour. Asanas – physical postures (preparing for seated meditation). Pranayamas – breathing practices or techniques to control prana (the vital life force / energy). Pratyahara – sense withdrawal, drawing inwards; becoming absorbed in our focus and not being distracted. Dharana – Focused concentration (following from the previous two limbs) the intense focus on a single point of concentration. Dhyana – Meditation – the complete and uninterrupted flow of the mind toward the object of focus. Samadhi – a state of bliss or enlightenment when the mind is fully under control. During a block of sessions, we will give some thought to the Yamas and how we can apply them to our practice and our lives.  Exploring each of the five guidelines: Ahimsa (non-violence/non-harming), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (abstinence/right use of energy) and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness/non-greed). After each session I will post what we considered in a little more detail so that you can read it at your leisure and perhaps investigate further if you desire..  Sue 
   Ahimsa - January 2018 The first of Patanjali’s Yamas is Ahimsa; Non- Violence or Non-Harming. Non-violence in all aspects of our lives, physically or spiritually, in word, thought and action. Having compassion towards ourselves and to others, being kind and treating all living beings with care.  Cultivating a sense of harmony, balance or peace within and around ourselves. Ahimsa in our yoga practice leads us to let go of negative thinking about our body, accepting ourselves as we are that moment, listening to our bodies and letting go of our expectations, allowing our bodies to lead us in our practice, rather than forcing them into what we think they should do. Being kind to ourselves as we practice, being aware of and not being violent to our bodies. Ahimsa also means being mindful of our thoughts, thoughts towards ourselves and to others. Negative thoughts make us feel bad whilst positive ones make us feel happier, peaceful and more relaxed (a win- win situation surely!).  I love the quote “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character for it is your destiny” (attributed to the Chinese Philosopher, Lao Tzu). Meditation can help to calm the mind, and clear random or negative thoughts to enable us to think clearly with loving kindness. Sometimes it can help to meditate upon a mantra, such as Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu, a mantra for peace, one translation of which is “May all beings everywhere be happy & free & may my thoughts and actions contribute someway to that happiness & freedom to all”. Bringing ahimsa into our lives can help us to find the love we all have as the essence of our innermost selves, bringing balance and peace to ourselves and to others. Perhaps starting on our mats and flowing off and into the rest of our lives Namaste
Ahimsa Ahimsa Eight Limbs of Yoga Eight Limbs of Yoga Cat Pose Cat Pose Sun Salutation Sun Salutation Sri Lanka Sri Lanka Benefits of Yoga Benefits of Yoga
   Satya - February 2018 The second of Patanjali’s Yamas is Satya; Truthfulness or Non-Lying. Being truthful to ourselves and others in words, thoughts and actions and seeing the truth or what is real in our lives and situations.  “Sat” in Sanskrit translates to “that which exists, that which is”, this means not letting our emotions or past experiences cloud our vision; seeing what actually is, not what we perceive it to be. This requires us to be mindful, observing the current situation and being open to the truth at that moment without letting our emotions, pre-conceived thoughts or beliefs take over. Thinking about the consequences before we speak or act, and combining with Ahimsa, so that if what we are going to say, albeit truthfully, will harm another, perhaps it would be better not to say it. In our yoga practice we need to be true to ourselves, honestly assessing our movements, our limitations and weaknesses alongside our strengths at that moment in time. Each time we practice we are different, for whatever reason, we need to be honest to ourselves at that time, being aware of how we feel, responding with Ahimsa and Satya to ensure our practice is safe without judgement or expectations. Being aware of our breath will help us to stay true to ourselves in asanas – if our breathing is not steady and easy then perhaps we are not listening to our bodies and being accepting of our strengths and weaknesses with honesty. To be completely honest with ourselves, to be true to our inner self entails clearing some of the ‘learned beliefs’ about ourselves – things we have been told or have told ourselves that are not necessarily truths, “I am useless at running”, “I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible”, even “she’s not text me back because she doesn’t like me”. These irrational thoughts and beliefs come from emotional responses, not truthful assessment, but can become powerful beliefs, creating anxiety and unhappiness. Learning to see ourselves truthfully, recognising our true identity helps us to let go of anything obstructing our peace and integrity, and of course, if we do identify a truth about ourselves that perhaps we don’t like too much, we can apply a little Ahimsa and gently make changes to address that. Being honest with ourselves first, finding the strength in our integrity and being true to ourselves so we can find the freedom of being genuine.  As with Ahimsa, applying Satya in our practice can lead us to take this further into other aspects of our lives. Om Shanti
Satya Satya
   Asteya - February 2018 Asteya is the third of Patanjali’s Yamas. Asteya translates to Non-Stealing, which on a superficial level is a straight-forward moral observance; do not take what doesn’t belong to you, or what has not been offered to you.   Not just on a material level, but also on the subtle levels; non-stealing of ideas, energy, happiness and time from others and from yourself.  Swami Sivananda said that ‘desire or want is the cause for stealing’, therefore, if we have all we want then we are not going to look to take more.  If we can recognise the abundance that we have within us and have gratitude for what we have, we remove feelings that we are unfulfilled and lacking, which create desire and dissatisfaction and the need to search for more to fill the perceived ‘gap’ in our lives.  Asteya reminds us that we should work from a place of abundance; that we have all we need, that we have and are enough, releasing the emptiness of desire and bringing a sense of happiness, wholeness and peace. When we are practicing yoga and don’t allow ourselves to be in the moment, not accepting that wherever we are in our practice at that moment is enough, instead if we are pushing ourselves towards how an asana should be, rather than acknowledging how it feels for us, we steal the pleasure of being present in this asana and the pleasure of our practice overall.  We create feelings of dissatisfaction and deplete our energy.  Instead of thinking about how we can’t get into a particular asana and feeling unhappy, we should focus on where we actually are in the asana, taking our awareness inwards, past our ego, to find gratitude for what we are doing, letting go of the negative energy and releasing into our asana with ease and steadiness and fully experiencing what it means to us at that moment. To take this further and start to practice Asteya off the yoga mat, perhaps we could start by ‘not stealing’ from the earth’s resources; only buying what we need and recycling, repairing and reusing where possible.  Continuing our personal practice by looking within ourselves and our lives to become aware of the abundance that we have, feeling satisfied and balanced, feeling the satisfaction of completeness and peace of gratitude. Om Shanti
   Brahmacharya - February 2018 The fourth of Patanjali’s Yamas is Brahmacharya. Traditionally Brahmacharya is generally translated as ‘Celibacy’ and was originally meant to encourage practitioners to direct any energy that would be used in sensual pleasures more wisely; towards progressing along the yogic path to enlightenment instead.  Obviously, this makes it perhaps one of the more difficult of the yamas for us to connect to in modern culture, and therefore it is more often translated today as ‘Right Use of Energy’ or even ‘Application of Moderation’, encouraging us to consider where we are using and directing our energy and whether this is the best and right use for it.  A poignant reflection on our lives of today is that probably we direct too much energy towards worrying, negative thoughts and concerning ourselves with things that really don’t serve us best, trying to please others, or running after excesses and obsessions we don’t need. In our daily lives we can try to let go of these things that sap our inner energy, finding peace and balance within ourselves through mindful practice and gratitude for the abundance we have within.   Taking control over our worries and anxieties, our impulses for excess (food, shopping, drink or whatever we obsess over) and applying moderation, re-directing the energy we devote to these self-indulgences to better things.  Perhaps not an easy ask! If we begin by applying Brahmacharya to our yoga practice, we start to take our focus inwards and away from our worries and obsessions, instead of pushing ourselves to be something we are not (more flexible or strong) but, through mindful movement, focusing on how we are at that moment, we can start to bring in this balance, applying moderation and right use of energy in our practice leaving us to feel more restored and energised.  Perhaps if we can apply Brahmacharya in our yoga practice, directing our energy to right use and applying moderation to help us find that place of peace within, we can start to apply it, alongside the other yamas, further into our lives to bring gratitude and harmony within and around us. Om Shanti
Brahmacharya Brahmacharya Asteya Asteya
   Aparigraha - March 2018 Aparigraha – the fifth of Patanjali’s Yamas. Aparigraha means non-coveting / non- possessiveness / non-attachment.    Suggesting that we take only what we need at that moment and to let go of what is no longer serving us, not just materialistically, but emotionally too.   By releasing what is no longer useful to us, be it possessions or thoughts, we free ourselves of ‘baggage’ and open up to new opportunities and fresh ideas.  By hoarding and having excessive possessions or ‘things’ that we no longer need, we create attachment to them and this creates worry about their safety.  We can start to feel that we can only be happy if we ‘have things’, becoming attached to the feelings of material gains, instead of looking within ourselves to find our inner resources and peace. We should also apply this non-attachment to feelings and thoughts, learned behaviours and negative responses which can cause unhappiness and stress, obscuring the true situations we are facing.  Letting go of emotions which are no longer helpful opens our minds to living in the moment, seeing clearly and truthfully and letting go of expectations of outcomes for anything we are doing, allowing us the freedom to fully commit to the activity, without being fixated on the end result; the freedom to really experience everything life has to offer On the yoga mat we can practice Aparigraha by focussing on the enjoyment of our practice, finding peace and freedom in natural movement and experiencing the moment, instead of allowing our ego-mind to compare ourselves to someone else in the room, coveting their skill/flexibility/strength and not recognising our own abundance and abilities, causing feelings of dissatisfaction which distract our mind from listening to our body so we might then push ourselves beyond our capabilities of that moment, into trying to achieve a ‘super-impressive’ asana, possibly harming ourselves and definitely stealing the joy of our practice. In our yoga and our lives, we should celebrate what is ours and what we have - reaching for our own stars rather than gazing at someone else’s. Namaste
Aparigraha Aparigraha
OGA Y Sue Lyman
OGA Y Sue Lyman