Jim's Writings

The Yamas and the Niyamas

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.

Yoga, friendship and the heart

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.

Zen master Hakuin inspires us to develop fortitude

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.

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Quotes

‘stira sukham asanam’; alertness that is comfortable and light is to be practised during posture.

He continues: ‘prayatna saithilya anata samapattibhyam’; the conclusion (the return to its essential form) of yoga is found when exertion has a relaxed, spacious quality.

The yogi’s mind then moves into an unbounded limitless relationship (with life and practice).
Concluding, he says: ‘tatah dvandvah anabighatah’; then duality no longer causes disturbance.

— Patanjali