If you've been in my yoga classes, it's no secret that for me, yoga is a holistic lifestyle practice rich with philosophy, self inquiry, discipline, and personal honesty. It's not just about breathing and moving - it's about conscious consumption of everything from food to information. It's about quality over quantity - reducing needs, intentional relationships, saying 'no' to things that don't serve your spiritual principles and 'yes' to things that do, even in uncertainty.
Everyone wants to feel a sense of joy and fulfillment in everyday life. And we've all felt discouraged when we feel that what we want is out of reach, or that time is running out. If you can relate to this, then you too are in search of a path that points you toward what is really real, not just immediately gratifying.
When I returned to my hometown of Janesville, I knew I was re-entering a culture much less saturated with yoga, alternative wellness, and environmental sustainability than the one I was living in on the West Coast. I was open, listening, and ready to employ my 'teach to learn' motto. I have been delighted by the warm welcome my teaching style and content continues to receive. It is affirming my path as a spiritual seeker and leader, and further aligns us on this journey together. Which is why this is the direction Breathe is moving in principle and instruction, beginning with the theory of the 8 Limbs or Classical Ashtanga Yoga. To read more about the 8 Limbs and other fundamental theories of yoga, visit this previous blog post of mine: What Is Yoga Really?
This is an empowering shift for me to make in life and business. I want to offer you this same sense of empowerment with the yogic theory of Asteya, or non-stealing. Last week in Tuesday nights Classical Hatha Yoga class, a rich discussion followed the introduction of this Yama, or ethical restraint. Non-stealing, as with all other ethical practices of yoga, is practiced in action, speech, and thought. Thus, non-stealing applies on a much more subtle level than just not taking your brothers toy. We discussed applying this theory to the ever-important resources of time and energy. In the reality of the Universe, these are all we have - time and energy, or our health. There are so many decisions we make in life that reduce the quality of time spent in the present and take away from our future selves by contributing to poor health. In yogic thought, this is considered a form of stealing. When time is spent thinking about something else during a conversation with a friend, or when showing up late makes someone wait for you, this steals precious time from yourself and others. So, this begs the question - are you truly present in your experiences and are you making deliberate decisions about how to spend your time and energy? This is a question to contemplate at various times throughout your day. If we're completely honest with ourselves, we will say 'no' to things that cause our visceral body doubt, and 'yes' to things that produce a deep sense of alignment. This is one of many exercises yoga offers to not only transform your body and your mind, but your entire life path.
If you're willing to admit that you too have habits that keep you from feeling free to live life to your full potential....If you're ready to spend some days bored in nothing more than contentment, frustrated with losing a piece of your old identity, and elated by finding yourself truly present and aware...you're on a spiritual path.
If you're looking for connection and guidance on this path, make a practice of meditation and contemplation a part of your daily routine, and commit to regular practice with instruction, inspiration, and community.