Now is Yoga Time
Atha yoga anushasanam – Yoga Sutra 1.1
“Now, the teachings of yoga”
This is the first of the Yoga Sutras, written by the sage Patanjali over 2000 years ago. This brief statement is a reminder that all yoga teaching emerges from and leads us back to the timeless, ever – present now.
And now is a great time to begin practising yoga, whether you’re a regular practitioner or someone who would like to give it a try. This does not necessarily mean the physical practice of yoga which is what we tend to think of in the western world when we talk of yoga. It may also be learning about and practising some of the other eight limbs of yoga, which Patanajali goes on to write about in the Yoga Sutras.
To begin any yoga practice you do not require flexibility, strength or an acrobatic background, rather a little discipline, dedication and an interest in self study are more helpful.
The first of the 8 limbs of yoga are known as the Yamas – these are a set of 5 ethical guidelines recommended by Patanajali for anyone who is interested in following yoga as a path to self-awareness and enlightenment.
The Yamas – non harm, truthfulness, non stealing, containment, and non greed – are general enough for anyone to attempt to follow whether you are new to yoga or have been a practitioner for years.
Over the next few weeks at Yoga Hut we will have the first of these Yamas in our awareness during yoga classes. Ahimsa or non harm can be applied to many aspects of our lives. Not just harm or violence in a physical sense, but also violence in our thoughts of others and with regards to ourselves. When we expect too much of ourselves, when we hear ourselves using words like should or must, or when we carry resentment towards others, these are all forms of violence.
Non violence or non harm is true compassion to ourselves and others.
Now, a helpful place to begin to observe non violence is on the yoga mat, when practicing yoga postures. Take time to pay particular attention to working kindly with your own body, not over exerting or “keeping up” with the rest of the class if it is not right for you. This is the the true practice of yoga, and now is the time to begin.