Posted by Liesl Emery (Your Yoga) on 16 May 2016
Often in my posts, I like to inject the concepts of non-harming (kindness), truthfulness, non-stealing, non-excessiveness (conserving) and non-possessiveness. Listed in a sentence like this, they don't hold much value but together these are the 5 yamas that make up the first sutra of Patanjali's 8 limbed path in raja yoga.
They're best described as a collection of ethical guidelines or codes of restraint, that when followed attentively, help sharpen and clarify the mind to encourage one pointedness. Why? Because how often are we confused about the way we feel or are questioning our motives, or find that our actions have been misinterpreted? One person's actions are often the result of another's, but recurrently unsubstantiated because the reaction was based on merely a superficial level with the ego getting in the way.
Misery is often confused for happiness, the finite for the infinite, pure for impure or non-self for the true self. Guilty? Yes, but then the 8 limbed path is not an easy one, more than a life times dedication, but where I realise my mistakes, I learn from them and find them a constant reminder to question my actions, behaviours and emotions to see them for what they truly are.
The essence of the yamas can be very subtle, but if we can repeatedly integrate them into our everyday lives, situations will become clearer enabling us to become more insightful towards ourselves and others as we progress further on with the journey.