To wrap up the Niyama theme we have been working with over the past five weeks, students were reminded of all five- Sauca, Samtosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya, and Isvarapranidhana, with a brief description of each. (See prior weeks’ entries for fuller discussions on each.) But when we try to cultivate behaviours to strengthen a particular Niyama, invariably others are drawn in too, as they are different aspects of an overall approach to help us better understand ourselves and our connection to every one and every thing. They help us to polish the opaque lens we often view life through. This in turn assists us in cultivating the Yamas in our daily lives. Both feed into and strengthen each other.
Day by day, very small and incremental changes to our attitudes, reflections, and behaviours have the power to make quite profound changes to our lives- and the lives of those around us. Our capacity to connect to others grows, and with it a greater sense of peace and joy.
It was lovely to observe this in class last night as students worked with Asta Vakrasana arm balance- we have been working with it this term. They have overcome fear and discouragement as they gradually learn where they are going with the pose, and the steps along the way that will bring them there. They repeatedly dusted themselves off and tried again- laughing, helping, and supporting each other. Brilliant!
Ruth is a yoga therapist and yoga teacher based in Cheltenham, UK. She emphasises yoga as a tool for well-being, for individuals and in her classes, in person or via zoom.