Monday, October 1, 2012

Light on Yoga Exploration: Niyama

Today was another practice-less morning due to a night of uncomfortable occurrences. Let’s say I am ready for this baby to get here and to stop pressing on my sciatic nerve. Nevertheless, I woke to coffee, a smoothie and reading. I’m beginning to enjoy mornings so much more now that I have a ritual or routine that I complete everyday, whether it is early in the morning or after 7 that I rise.

Yesterday I covered Yama, and therefore, today I commence with my discussion and outlook on Niyama. Like yama, niyama contains five sub-limbs: saucha (purity), santosa (contentment), tapas (adoration or austerity), svadhyaya (study of the Self) and Isvara pranidhana (dedication to the Lord).

After reading over this section of Light on Yoga, I have the intense urge to take a season and simply read all the sacred texts of other religions and brush up on the Bible as well. I will get to my reasoning for this particular feeling in regards to my need to read up on religions of others.

First, we come to saucha or purity and the description of what it means to be pure. In this section, Iyengar explains that one must not only be pure of body, thought and word, but also one must eat food that is pure. Most people shy away or brush off this section and ahisma because they don't want to become vegetarians or vegans for that matter. Adopting a plant based diet, however, is inevitable if one continues to practice yoga in order to attain a one-pointed attention and spiritual evolution. By creating a pure body, mind and soul, a yogi will be able to create a place for spiritual practice. At least, this is how I interpret the explanation. If anyone would like to comment on this, I would be willing to read what you have to say to further my understanding.

Santosa, or contentment, came next. A yogi who is content, knows the "love of the Lord and has done his duty." By being content in life the yogi will have peace in life and never waver in the spirit of the Lord. 

Tapas dissected, means "a burning effort under all circumstances to achieve a definite goal in life" and is the "conscious effort to achieve ultimate union with the Divine and to burn up all desires which stand in the way of this goal." A yogi should use words and actions to bring oneself closer to God by doing His will. 

Svadhyaya, or education of the self, but it is not merely sitting in a lecture hall and receiving education, rather one should educate him or herself in their own life and always revise and rewrite what is written. Study of the sacred texts is also essential. A yogi should immerse him or herself in other religious texts for study, not because they are searching for another religion to adhere to, but in an attempt to enable themselves the chance to better appreciate their own faith. By understanding what others believe, it gives one the chance to understand their daily lives and actions. By subjecting oneself to the study of their own sacred texts they are immersing themselves into the literature for understanding and devotion to their faith. 

(Side note: "The sacred books of the world are for all to read. They are not meant for the members of one particular faith alone. aS bees savour the nectar in various flowers, so the sadhaka absorbs things in other faiths which will enable him to appreciate his own faith better . . . yoga is not a religion by itself. It is the science of religions, the study of which will enable a sadhaka the better to appreciate his own faith." This, particularly, caught my eye.)

Last but not least, Isvara pranidhana means dedication to the Lord by one's actions. If one is dedicated to the Lord there can be no failure, no despair, and no fear. A yogi should be without pride, unselfish and bow his/her head only in worship of the Lord. "The name of the Lord is like the Sun, dispelling all darkness . . . actions mirror a man's personality better than his words. The yogi has learnt the art of dedicating all his actions to the Lord and so they reflect the divinity within him." 

This post is much less in-depth than the previous post, I think, but then again I'm typing this about two hours after I've read it. The thoughts I had earlier are quite diminished. Note to self: Write blog immediately after reading.

Nevertheless, it is the 1st of October, and granted we don't have snow here... I am hopeful that I can see some of this fluffy white stuff this year. 

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