The Yamas and the Niyamas
We have begun to see how Patanjali's asthanga (eight parts) yoga can be taken as a progressive, interdependent or constituent path and we have seen that the yamas and the niyamas come at the very beginning.
It is a position that implies their function as foundational to the path as a whole and to its individual parts.
Whether you are a yoga student or teacher, the practice of yoga (in the spirit of Patanjali’s Astanga path) and in particular practice with others, inevitably starts to tease the edges of your heart. The spirit of working with the breath, creating space in which to move the joints and in the mind in which to absorb the finer details of instruction, is evocative of acceptance, allowance and inclusion: the qualities that underpin both friendship and wisdom.
Hakuin’s early extreme exertions affected his health, and at one point in his young life he fell ill for almost two years, experiencing what would now probably be classified as a nervous breakdown by Western medicine, though the symptoms were similar to Kundalini.
He called it Zen sickness, and sought the advice of a Taoist cave dwelling hermit named Hakuyu, who prescribed a chakra visualisation practice which eventually relieved his symptoms.
Yoga how to recognise it and what it is for
Yoga is a small word with a big meaning. It does not mean exercise or flexibility, it simply means ‘union’.
Allow prana to flow by moving in as you let go (let the sun be guided by the moon). Note all release is natural; be with your experience but give it space. This is the root meaning of any yoga practice.
This is the festive season, whether or not you are celebrating one of the religious festivals held at this time of year. The days draw darker up to the solstice and this evokes all kinds of responses in all aspects of nature including us.