This Friday, June 21st, we not only celebrate the Summer Solstice, but also International Day of Yoga! This day was designated by the United Nations in 2014 as a way to recognize and celebrate the positive impacts of this ancient practice.
Here in the west, when we think “yoga” we are focusing in on 1 piece of yoga – asana. Asanas are the physical poses or shapes we move through in a class. The purpose of asana is to stretch, strengthen, and deepen the connection between our breath and our bodies so that we are better prepared for meditation.
A little known fact is that yoga actually contains 8 branches or “limbs”, and when we focus on just 1, we miss out on the joy and contentment that practicing the other 7 can bring. The other limbs of a yoga practice are connected to ways in which we can live our yoga out in the world, as well as how we can develop a stronger connection with our true selves.
For International Day of Yoga 2019, we are encouraging the Rooted Heart community to focus on the first limb of yoga- the Yamas. The Yamas are comprised of 5 ideas about how we can live more harmoniously in the world:
- Ahimsa – Non-Harming
This includes not harming yourself, others, or the Earth. This can be about your words and/or your actions.
- Satya – Truthfulness
Are you straightforward when communicating with others? Can you deliver your truth with compassion? Most importantly, are you truthful with yourself about situations in your life and your own motivations?
- Asteya – Non-Stealing
This one seems pretty obvious but can have more subtle implications too. Consider your work. Do you take credit for words and ideas that belong to someone else without giving them credit? Also, consider how you give back. Are there opportunities to “pay it forward” and give to someone else to balance out all the gifts you receive on a daily basis?
- Brahmacharya – Right use of Energy
This one is all about being mindful of what you expend energy on. If it drains you or drains the energy of those around you, it is not a worthwhile activity.
- Aparigraha – Non-Greed
I like to think of this one as not holding on to things/people/attitudes that have already served their purpose in our lives. Additionally, it can be about focusing on what we have instead of what we lack. Cultivating a practice of gratitude to help you focus on your blessings instead of coveting what others have can be a great way to implement this Yama.
While we can be focused on living the Yamas every week, it’s especially poignant this week as the International community celebrates yoga around the world. For more information on the Yamas, visit https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/path-happiness.
Join us all week long for yoga classes but especially on Saturday June 22nd from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm for a special FREE Hatha yoga class to celebrate International Day of Yoga! Sign up on our website or on the MindBody app.