Believe In

What do you Believe In?

Peace, Truth and Generousity

on March 3, 2012

In other words…Ahimsa, Satya and Astheya.

One of my goals of 2012 was to apply some of the yoga philosophy I learned last year while studying to be a yoga instructor.  With that intention in mind I have picked a yama or niyama to apply to my life for an entire month over the course of the year.  Each month I would focus on a new Yama or Niyama.

So for those of you that don’t know anything about yoga philosophy here is a very quick summary relating specifically to the Yama’s and Niyama’s.  There are eight limbs of yoga, specifically yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi.  Most of you will recognize at least one of those limbs which is asana, which of course is the physical practice of yoga postures.  One other that may be recognizable is pranayama which is the breath control, specifically the elongation of inhalation, retention and exhalation as a yogi believes that this lifetime is made up of only so many breathes and so to elongate the breath would allow you to life a longer life. 

The first two limbs are the ones that I am applying over the next year.  First I am working with the yama’s.  Yama is the external, ethical disciplines or universal, moral commandments that govern our lives.  Yama’s are the ethical code of yoga, yoga disciplines or moral principles and observations.  They are the code of ethical conduct that helps our behaviour toward ourselves and the environment inside as well as outside.  Basically, they are a code of conduct of universal moral principles.  Yama’s are then broken down into five principles, Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Brahmacarya and Aparigraha.

In January I practiced Ahimsa.  In English, ahimsa is peace or non-violence.  Now this may seem like a easy thing to apply to your life right?  You are not a violent person.  But think about this, when was the last time you killed a spider or insect in your house?  That is an act of violence or injury to another living creature.  And when was the last time you had a negative thought about yourself or someone else?  Those thoughts are not peaceful.  Even if no harm was intended they created negative energy which in turn could cause harm.  See, not so easy but well worth practicing daily.

Some of you may remember my post on Valentine’s entitled The Satya about Valentine’s Day.  Using the word Satya was not a mistake.  Satya is truth.  Again you might think well that shouldn’t be so hard, I don’t lie to people.  Well think about this situation.  Your best friend buys a new dress that she just loves.  She shows up to go out with you one night in this dress that she just loves and you are thinking “Oh my, what was she thinking when she bought that”.  And then she asks ‘the’ question, do you like my dress?  And the thought you have is do I tell her the truth and hurt her feelings (see above – Ahimsa) or do I lie and tell her I love it?  In this situation the truth is really that your friend loves the dress and so you tell her that it is great.  Your opinion is not the “truth”.  February was my month of truth while also still applying peace to my life.  I have been amazed at the conflict these two yama’s can create in a situation and equally amazed at how they apply to my life.

And so that brings us to March, which is Asteya.  Asteya is non-stealing.  Again one that you say to yourself well that is easy I don’t steal.  And yet, there is always more to it isnt’ there.  Other ways to look at this yama are not misappropriating what rightly belongs to others, non-covetousness and honesty.  The idea behind this yama is that you do not take what is not your’s.  We teach our children to share at a very young age but what about as adults?  We have “my” car, “my” house, “my” phone.  Remember that we cannot take these ‘things’ with us when we die and so we are actually just borrowing those items while here.  All things must come and go.  Try to be a care taker of things instead of an owner.

Another aspect of Asteya is that of being generous to others.  An example of this is those people who are always late.  You make an appointment or set a time to meet someone and they arrange their schedule to be there on time.  If you arrive late you are “stealing” their time.  Or have you ever had a conversation with someone but not been really focused on what they are saying because you had been in the middle of doing something else when they started to talk to you?  You are not giving generously of your heart and time to that person.

For the month of March it is my goal to practice being a care taker instead of an owner and to be more conscious of giving generously.

More to come about the rest of the yama’s and of course the niyama’s.  Care to join me on this journey of practicing these principles over the coming year?  Send me a quick message or leave a comment and we can all join together in discovery.


One response to “Peace, Truth and Generousity

  1. […] Peace, Truth and Generousity ( […]

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