Yama – Disappearance of all suppressions

Like any normal person I tend to be very concerned when others make comments about things in general or even casual remarks about me that I don’t agree with at times. More often than not, I let it affect me when I know it should not. Yama, one of the 8 limbs in Ashtanga yoga, comes into play, in which how I deal with myself with reference to the outside world.
The 5 characteristics of Yama:
Ahimsa – compassion for all living things, non-violent, cause no injury, do no harm. To hurt another is to hurt oneself.
Do I get violent: reactive or defensive, physically, mentally and spiritually? Self torture is also a form of violence, eg: dieting, starvation. One can go on a diet, slowly and gradually by day and not drastically. Sometimes I get defensive, but I don’t voice out, keeping them on my mind. Day by day I learn to empty out my thoughts, doubts and try to voice them out. Otherwise, I will end up in a mental torture.
Satya – be genuine, to speak the truth.
Am I genuine in my actions, and remain true to my own goals? Truth will appear automatically if we stay genuine and original in our own ways. On the other hand, if speaking the truth has negative consequences for another, then it is better to say nothing. Everyday I strive to be honest with myself in my thoughts, feelings, words and deeds.
Asteya – non-stealing, taking without permission.
Do I stereotype, judge? This speaks out a lot to me, as my perception of others seem to daunt me, in the process, I stereotype people. Hence, leading me to remain in my comfort zone seldom reaching out, feeling intimidated at times. By stereotyping, I am stealing the truth, which the actual fact is that they are not what I perceive them to be. They are not daunting, they are just like myself, searching for a purpose and intention in life.
Brahmacharya – sense control, responsible behavior with respect to our goal of moving toward the truth.
Do I treat others the way I want them to treat me? Be friendly all the time, no matter how cold others are. Accept feedback and adjust selectively as one can’t change everything. At times, I feel the weight on my shoulders, wanting to please people. I have learnt that comments are just comments, some need no action at all.
Apariagraha – to take only what is necessary, and not to take advantage of a situation or act greedy.
Do I give and expect double returns? When people give you things, there is no need to feel obliged to give back, or you will have a guilt feeling. Don’t make it transactional, give and receive, receive and give, it will continue in a vicious cycle and will have no end. Remove feelings for things given away, don’t expect returns, don’t expect for more than what you already have. At times, when I give someone something, I would love to see them using it, to feel appreciated. Apariagraha taught me to let go, and have no expectations.
Yoga is a journey of self-discovery, expect nothing and accept everything.
Denise Leong
200hr YTT Weekday
(March 2015)

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