Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Posts Tagged ‘Ahimsa’

Non-stealing, Got It, Right?

Posted by terrepruitt on February 19, 2016

The Eight Limbs of Yoga, two of which are yamas and niyamas, restraints and observances.  Yamas as ethical principles and niyams as spiritual practices.  The first yama being ahimsa – non-violence, the second being satay – truthfulness.  The third is asteya – non-stealing.  This one kinda lands like the non-violence one.  Seems pretty easy.  But then just like the non-violence yama, it has its in-between-the-lines and fine print.  Non-stealing can mean a lot of things.

In The Heart of Yoga T.K.V. Desikachar’s notes asteya as:

“Noncovetousness or the ability to resist a desire for that which does not belong to us.”

Oh.  A little different that just “non-stealing”.  It is going so far as to say we should not covet things that do not belong to us.  Uh, I think that adds a whole different spin to this yama.  I mean, I will go out on a limb and say most of us are not going to go out and STEAL our neighbor’s whatshehaveit, but we might WANT it.  We might even think about if we had one our self.  We might even imagine us having one and him not.  Or us all having one and using them together.  But we are coveting when we do that.  We are wanting that which is not ours.

He also notes:

“One who is trustworthy, because he does not covet what belongs to others, naturally has everyone’s confidence and everything is shared with him, however precious it might be.”

We can also be stealing other things.  If we are focusing our attention on wanting what is not ours we are “stealing” attention from what we do have.  Possibly from people and things that are deserving of our attention.

One of my teachers mentioned jealous as a cause for stealing.  Dominating someone’s time if we are jealous of attention they are giving to someone else.  She also compares greed to stealing because we are taking more than we need.  So sometimes asteya has a hint of non-hoarding, since some consider taking more than one needs a form of stealing.  It is being taken away from someone else that might need it and then kept and not used.  Some of this might be the more difficult stuff to work on.

But if we work on it we might feel more at peace.  I know that when I am not spending my time thinking about what I don’t have I have more time to enjoy what I do have.  And, as I said, that time is not “stolen” from what is present.

As I said when I started posting about the eight limbs and especially the yamas and the niyamas, they can get pretty deep.  They can be explored and examined at great length.  I am just barely introducing them.  Hopefully giving you something to think about.  I know they have me thinking.

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

The Second Is Truthfulness

Posted by terrepruitt on February 10, 2016

So, yoga is more than just poses.  Yoga has eight limbs which I listed in my post More To Yoga Than Just Asana.  The first two limbs are rules, restrictions, guidelines things of that nature.  Things to help you along the path to the divine.  The first limb is about the yamas and the second is about the niyamas, I listed them in my post Yoga’s First Two Limbs.  Now I am going through and writing a post about each one.  I wrote about Ahimsa in Ahimsa And Yourself, which I probably should have title Ahimsa and MYself.  I write about this not because I have mastered them but because I am examining yoga ideas and ideals.  So if you hear me saying something harmful, please know I am still learning.  The next yama is satya.  Satya is truthfulness.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitSatya or truthfulness can be applied to so many things, right?  I mean if I go back to the exercise I mentioned I did recently and think about satya on the mat that can apply in so many ways.  Am I really being truthful with myself about what I can do?  Am I really being truthful that I am concerned with only myself?  I mean, if we are not concerned about what others think about what we are doing in class, does it really matter if we don’t do the advance version of the pose?  Can we really do it without causing injury to our self?

And that can carry to off the mat, huh?  Are we going to brag (why?) that we did more than we actually did in class?  Are we going to tell the truth in all of our dealings?

Satya could be applied to teachers.  Not just yoga teachers but to any teacher or profession that sets fees.  We need to be truthful and upfront about our fees.  Now this could help some of us that feel shy when talking about money and fees.  Yoga teachers can use satya to help them feel confident stating the fees upfront.  Things should be discussed openly and honestly.  A client should not be left to wonder about fees for a service.

Also satya can apply to marketing.  We don’t need to get caught up on all the hype that is used in a lot of marketing, making promising, and stating unsupported facts just to get people to come to our classes.  If we make false claims and that is what attracted the student then they probably aren’t really going to get a lot out of yoga and they are more than likely NOT going to be satisfied.  Then, as a teacher, you aren’t either, so no one wins in that situation.

As I stated in my Ahimsa post, I am just barely touching the surface on these things.  I think there could be volumes written about them . . . and there probably are.  They can be applied to many thing in so many ways.

I think truthfulness is one of the easiest ones to understand.  It might not be one of the easiest ones to do in thoughts, words, and actions.  But, here we all are . . . on a path of learning.

What do you think?  One of the easy yamas to understand?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Ahimsa And Yourself

Posted by terrepruitt on February 5, 2016

Recently I posted a bit about the eight limbs of yoga.  Basically a list of the limbs and a sentence about each.  Then I followed up with a list of the yamas and niyamas which are the first two limbs of yoga.  I am sure each limb can and does have volumes written about them.  And I am sure that each of the yamas and niyamas have volumes written about them.  I thought I would just do a post on each yama and niyama.  I was taught the yamas are restraints or restrictions, while the niyamas are observances or rules.  Ethical principles and spiritual practices, respectively.  I mentioned one way to look at it is our attitudes toward our environment and our attitudes towards ourselves.  Well, this is a bit about Ahimsa.  A way to look at Ahimsa.  Not the only way, just one way.  And not even the entire way, just a bit.

Ahimsa is non-violence, non-harming, and/or non-injury.  Now for me, the first thing I think of is non-violence as a physical act.  I think of hitting, punching, stabbing, shooting – something physical and VIOLENT.  I don’t actually do any of those things.  So I think, “I’m good.”  I bet a lot of us are.  But then when I remember that the idea is to have it apply to our thoughts, our words, and our actions, I realize, “I’m not so ‘good'”.  How often do we say that all too common phrase, “I wanna kill . . .” or “I could kill for a . . . ” even though I never really would, am I practicing ahimsa when I say it?  I don’t think so.  I am not sure that this type of talk is not harmful.

Another way we can look at ahimsa is as compassion.  So if we are compassionate we are non-violent, non-harmful, and/or with not cause injury.  And this could be applied to ourselves.  Are we compassionate with ourselves?  Do we get down on ourselves when we don’t do as we expected?

An exercise I participated in recently had us examining how we practice ahimsa when it came to ourselves.  Ahimsa and our self on and off the yoga mat.  In regards to Ahimsa with myself off the mat I realized I say – to myself – I am stupid a lot.  Because of my habit of getting to bed so late the first think I think of on Monday morning is  “Oh, I’m so stupid.”  I think, “Every Sunday since you don’t have to teach on Mondays you stay up too late and then it is so difficult to get up on Monday.  And it sets the tone of being tired for the rest of the week.”  What about you?  Do you ever find yourself saying things not in keeping with ahimsa in regards to yourself?

On the mat or in any exercise situation, we could apply ahimsa.  It could be as simple as not being violent with oneself.  It could be as simple as not causing harm – don’t do anything that will harm you or cause you injury.  But sometimes it is the compassion that is the challenge.  The compassion that says, “You need to be gentle with your body today, right now.”  We so often have that other voice saying, “You are here, get the MOST out of your workout.  Work harder.  Burn more calories.”  Perhaps even chiding you for something you ate and so feeling like you were “bad” for eating something “bad” you have to punish yourself with a really hard workout.  That is not ahimsa from many angles.  Sometimes it is difficult to be compassionate with yourself on the mat or in a workout situation.

It could just be a matter of, as Aadil Palkhivala said, not pushing when we should be pulling back, not fighting when we need to surrender, not forcing our bodies to do things they are not yet ready to do. So sometimes it is not just “not doing” more, but surrendering or not fighting.

As with all the Yamas, there is a lot of room for me to improve in practicing them.  I am not posting about them because I have them all figured out and I practice them perfectly.  I am writing about them to help me remember them.  I think I have a lot to work on when it comes to ahimsa in thought and even words.

What about you?  Just in regards to Ahimsa towards yourself?  How are you with that?  How does it differ on and off the mat?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Yoga’s First Two Limbs

Posted by terrepruitt on January 25, 2016

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitIn my post earlier this month about there being More To Yoga Than Just Asana, I listed the eight limbs of yoga.  Two of those limbs, the first two limbs have five principles or observances associated with them.  The first limb is the yamas and they, as I mentioned in the other post, are sometimes thought of as restrictions.  The second limb, the niyamas, are sometimes thought of as rules.  But to me rules and restrictions are somewhat the same things.  Many rules seem to be made to restrict people from doing things.  So I am not sure that is a clear enough distinction for me.  Yoga is so ancient and many of the text have been lost, so there are many translations to things.  Another way of looking at the first two limbs: are the yamas are our attitudes toward our environment and the niyamas are our attitudes towards ourselves.  That is from T.K.V. Desikachar’s translation of the Yoga Sutra in The Heart of Yoga.

The five yamas are:

Ahimsa – non-violence, non-harming
Satya – truthfulness
Asteya – non-stealing
Brahmacharya – celibacy, chastity
Aparigraha – non-possessiveness, non-coveting, non-hoarding, non-clinging

The five niyamas are:

Sauca – purity, cleanliness
Santosha – contentment
Tapas – discipline
Svadhyaya – study of self
Ishvara Pranidhana – surrender to the Divine

These rules, restrictions, attitudes, whatever you choose to think of them as, are meant to be applied to our thoughts, our words, and our actions.  So, I am not really even sure there needs to be a distinction between whether it is a rule or a restriction.  But I do like the idea that one is related to an attitude towards our environment and one is related to an attitude towards oneself.  Although, I think all ten can be related to both.  Sigh.  I guess I will just stick to there really doesn’t need to be a distinction.

Each of these can be talked about in detail.  I am definitely going to be writing more posts on these.  Whether it is one post for all the yamas and one post for the niyamas, is yet to be seen, but I do want to share some of the ideas that were shared with me regarding them.  I would like to shed some light on how they can be applied to life both on and off the yoga mat.

Do you want to share any ideas about them?

 

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »