As many of you know, Yoga has deep philosophical and spiritual roots in addition to the physical practice and breath work. This blog and video series is an effort to rely on these ancient roots to create present connections between the skills of asana yoga, personal development, and spiritual fulfillment. Within the vast lineage and manifestations of Yoga, the lessons of the Yamas and Niyamas provide an anchor to begin the exposition and journey.
At the end of this post there is a 30min guided yoga video for relaxation that you can watch and follow along. A shorter version of this video is available on YouTube.
Yamas and Niyamas
5 min introduction:
The Yamas and Niyamas are typically presented in order from one through ten, beginning with the 5 yamas and ending with the 5 niyamas.
The order makes sense for the purpose of teaching and learning, but when we are ready to truly connect with each practice and make it significant, it is necessary to dive into a larger context.
For example, we learn the alphabet in order of ABC but in order to actually learn language we have to apply the alphabet in nearly infinite new ways.
This Yamas and Niyamas yoga series is based on the original yoga video series, called Deeper Studies in Yoga, taught by Zoe Mantarakis. In that series, Zoe brilliantly presented the Yamas and Niyamas in weekly videos with asana yoga and contemplative meditations to help illustrate the meaning and significance with each lesson. I had the honor of being her model student and of hosting the online videos at Yogacurrent. It was always my intention to recreate the series with her asana yoga sequences as a foundation to churn the lessons even more deeply.
Through the process of creating and recreating, we have the potential to make something. Like turning the cream into butter. You have to churn.
So for this recreation, this time around, I’m beginning at the end, the final teachings according to modern presentations.
And it just so happens to be, that when the Yamas and Niyamas made their debut in the Yoga Sutras at least 4 or 5 centuries ago, Patanjali introduced the lessons beginning with the three final teachings of niyamas and then circled back to the 5 yamas.
These “final teachings” of niyamas are essential lessons to working with all of the practices, and so it makes sense in a couple of different ways to begin this particular series with the 3 practices:
- Ishvara Pranidhaha – Lesson One in this video series
- Svadhyaya – Lesson Two
- Tapas – Lesson Three
30Min Yoga for Relaxation