I no longer believe in New Year’s Resolutions, I believe in Daily Resolutions

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So it’s that time of year again; where we hear about New Year’s Resolutions and how we are encouraged to set new goals for the year – usually in the area of good health and fitness. Have you done yours yet? Do you make one every year? Do you find them beneficial? A New Year’s Resolution is a positive way to start the year as it helps us set clear goals and a focus.  It is said that goals help us have a positive attitude and helps direct a purpose in what we do.  And while I used to think … Read More

The Fifth Niyama: Isvara Pranidhana (Devotion to God)

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To refresh from last month, the five niyamas (codes of conduct/regulations) of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path are: Saucha (purity or cleanliness) Santosha (contentment) Tapas (austerity) Swadhyaya (self-study) Isvara Pranidhana (devotion to God).   Last month, we looked at the fourth niyama – swadhyaya (self-study).  This month, let’s explore the fifth niyama – isvara pranidhana in more detail.  This month’s focus: Isvara Pranidhana  Isvara pranidhana relates to the practice of devotion to God.  Patanjali’s reference to the divine in the Yoga Sutras is not restrictive to a particular conventional God but rather a universal divine force.  According to Patanjali, liberation can be … Read More

The Fourth Niyama: Swadhyaya (Self-study)

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To refresh from last month, the five niyamas (codes of conduct/regulations) of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path are: Saucha (purity or cleanliness) Santosha (contentment) Tapas (austerity) Swadhyaya (self-study) Pranidhana (devotion to God). Last month, we looked at the seconde niyama – tapas (austerity).  This month, let’s explore the third niyama – swadhyaya in more detail.  This month’s focus: Swadhyaya Swadhyaya is the practice of self-study and self-analysis.  Sva is interpreted as ‘self’ and adhyaya means ‘investigation or inquiry’.   As yogis, we are encouraged to self-inquire daily through practices such asana, pranayama and meditation.  Traditionally, swadhyaya is attributed to the study of … Read More

The Third Niyama: Tapas (Austerity)

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To refresh from last month, the five niyamas (codes of conduct/regulations) of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path are: Saucha (purity or cleanliness) Santosha (contentment) Tapas (austerity) Swadhyaya (self-study) Pranidhana (devotion to God). Last month, we looked at the seconde niyama – Santosha (contentment).  This month, let’s explore the third niyama – tapas in more detail. This month’s focus: Tapas Tapas is the practice of discipline and self-control.  It literally means “heat” and refers to an inner fire or energy which enables one to control the body and the mind.  The ability to do this is created by ascetic practices such as … Read More

The Second Niyama: Santosha (Contentment)

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To refresh from last month, the five niyamas (codes of conduct/regulations) of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path are:  Saucha (purity or cleanliness) Santosha (contentment) Tapas (austerity) Swadhyaya (self-study) Pranidhana (devotion to God). Last month, we looked at the first niyama – saucha (purity or cleanliness).  This month, let’s explore the second niyama – santosha in more detail. This month’s focus: Santosha Santosha refers to contentment of one’s lot in life and the desire for no more than what is available to you.  It is an internal balance where one accepts the pleasures and pains of the world and preserves a sense … Read More

The Second Limb Of Ashtanga Yoga: Niyama

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The last few months, the focus has been on the first limb of Ashtanga yoga – yama (restraints).  As discussed a few months back, there are 8 limbs of Ashtanga yoga: Yama (restraint) Niyama (observances) Asana (posture) Pranayama (breath control) Pratyahara (controlling the senses) Dharana (concentration) Dhyana (meditation) Samadhi (absolute consciousness) We will now focus on the second limb, niyama. Niyama refers to individual discipline or observance and is the Sanskrit term meaning rule or law.  They refer to the cultivation of following good habits.  Like the five yamas, the niyamas are not exercises or actions to be simply studied; … Read More