Living The Yamas
by Marianne Davis
There’s so much to love about the yamas. They create a beautiful thread that weaves in and out of each one until, in the end, they unite in a whole tapestry; a whole way of living. In teaching, I’ve realized I can’t teach one yama without referring to the others, there are intertwined.
The first yama, Ahimsa, is the yama of non-harming. The practice of ahimsa guides us to live our lives in a kind, gentle, caring way; towards other people, animals, our environment and ourselves. Satya, the second yama, is the yama of truth, encouraging us to cut through perceptions and facades to live a life that is true to what we believe in. It also teaches us to be aware of the truths that our bodies are trying to teach us; to rest and scale back when we try to do too much. This yama flows beautifully into Asteya, the yama of non stealing. Asteya focuses on appreciating all that you have and all that you are so that you don’t feel the need to take anything that isn’t offered to you by someone else, like their time, peace, ideas and possessions. Through Asteya, we understand that we have enough and we are enough.
The fourth and fifth yamas, Bramacharya and Aparigraha, continue this theme, focusing on moderation and non-accumulation. Bramacharya brings our focus onto things (or people) we might be spending too much time on at the expense of things (or people) that bring us true joy or sense of purpose, teaching us to seek balance in every aspect of our lives. Aparigraha is the yama of non-accumulation. Having ‘more stuff’ doesn’t make life better. What does make life better is a clean, clear uncluttered mind, body and living space.
Weaving all the yamas together, you come to understand that living all five yamas will bring you into perfect harmony with the Universe, and that you really can’t have one without the others. Living the yamas means that you cause no harm to anyone or anything, you speak and live authentically, you take only what is available or offered to you, you maintain balance in all aspects of your life, and you understand that when the acquisition of ‘things’ becomes secondary, your focus can be on building relationships and cultivating what makes you fulfilled and happy.
There are many programs and classes at Release that can help you live the yamas; from yoga to meditation to healthy eating to life coaching to having fun with friends on a Friday Healthy Night Out. Don’t let these opportunities pass you by, and do try to join me to explore more on Tuesday evenings at 7:30 pm for Candlelight Flow.