Sunday, December 26, 2010 What happened to the Niyamas I honestly think the Christmas/New Years season brings out the worst in me. I am trying to be non-judgemental about it and non-harming to myself about it but I can't help it.
A bit of review for those who may not know - the Yamas and Niyamas come from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. You can find many translations into english if you are more interested. It basically outlines how a yogi can live. The yamas and niyamas are more detailed "codes of conduct". Kind of like the ten commandments in Christian religion. The yamas are things to abstain from and the niyamas are things to observe.
For me during the holiday season I could do more of the observances and, honestly my practice seems to fall to the wayside a little bit. The first Niyama - Shaucha: cleanliness of body & mind. Would not say my inner body stays clean, I definately drink too much. I'm not a lush or anything but my once in a while glass of wine is certainly more frequent. I also find a Christmas time I am eating things I don't normally. I am a vegetarian but Christmas day that goes out the window - I have bacon for breakfast that my dad cooks and then I have a small bit of turkey for dinner. Not to forget the million pounds of sweets and chocolates that I consume. The second - Santosha: satisfaction; satisfied with what one has. At a time when people are giving I sometimes think "oh wouldn't it be nice if we could have that". I am usually a very satisfied person. I am thrilled that I have a wonderful family, lots of food to each, roof over our heads. The third Tapas: austerity and associated observances for body discipline & thereby mental control. My yoga practice of mediation and asana goes straight out the window. It is like my vacation from work, having my family home and entertaining gives me some reason not to have time or not to take the time to practice. The last two Svadhyaya: study of the Vedic scriptures to know about God and the soul, which leads to introspection on a greater awakening to the soul and God within, and Ishvarapranidhana: surrender to (or worship of) God. One would think that on a very Christian holiday I would be reminded more to keep up on my readings and mediations. But no, again I feel lethargic and would rather sit and each chocolate and watch TV, surf the internet and play board games with my family.
I almost look at the Christmas season as a vacation from my real life. The sad part is that the "yoga portion" of my life, if you can seperate it, is the part that I love. I guess in life even when it is something you love, it is OK to take a break. I have a commitment to myself and my practice one that a week of laziness cannot break. Going back to yoga is not a new years resolution for me but a way of life that I love and enjoy! If it takes 40 days to create a new patern, it must take about that long to erase it from your life? Right!?
Maybe I should go practice now... yup... I think I will!
Jennifer is an RMT, long time yoga practitioner and teacher. Follow her musings as an RMT, yoga teacher, prenatal educator and mother of three.