To those who look to ashtanga yoga, the practice can exact much from the practitioner on every level—physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and energetic.  Its potential usefulness in transformation is undoubted.

I’ve been exploring ashtanga for a while and know many others who invoke it as an essentially timeless element to their lives in some way or another.  There is much more to explore.

Today I’d like to write about and bring forward the ethical precepts that are implied in this vehicle.  Authored by the sage Patañjali, there is a living legend of known guiding observances to help a yogin(i) feel at peace in her or his or their life of this practice.

I’m not saying I always follow these precepts or agree with them, but they are implied and strongly recommended.

Of the niyamas, or the “internal disciplines” or observances, these ethics involve the following.

Śauca, cleanliness.  I read a translation once that said this means cleanliness of body, speech and mind, clothing and environments!  I believe it was Swami Hariharanda Aranya’s translation, but I’m not positive.

Saṅtoṣa, contentment.  This is a biggee.

Tapas, or austerity or heat.  Anyone who has put forward some effort in the rigor and discipline of this yoga understands this.  It is a heated vehicle.

Svādhyāya, self study or self reflection.

And Iśvara-praṅidhāna—surrender to the supreme.  Whatever you conceive of that to be.

Again, I’m no scholar or authority on ashtanga.  But as an enthusiast, it’s a polite reminder to my fellow practicing community that there is some penned-in support and assurance and guidance for how to go about the commitment in these troubling modern times or times as any other, according to our teachings.

(Since today is my second day of Ladies’ Holiday, you will see me here taking a rest in the seated asana of meditation…)

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Shayna Grajo