Moral & ethical codes in our everyday life
Moral and ethical codes… We all have them. Sometimes we consciously choose them, sometimes we let society or religion dictate them without questioning them.
I come from a Catholic family and the 10 commandments were kind of my “default” moral and ethical codes (which I still respect and consider valid in many ways). It wasn’t until I found out about the 8 limbs of yoga (by Patanjali) that I could clearly see there was so much more I was missing.
1 – Yamas: Non-harming, Truth-telling, Moderation, Non-stealing, Non-attachment
2- Niyamas: Cleanliness, Contentment, Discipline, Self-Study, and Surrender
3- Asana (Yoga postures) 4- Pranayama (Breathing techniques)
5- Pratyahara (Turning inward) 6- Dharana (Concentration) 7- Dhyana (Meditation) 8- Samadhi (Oneness)
I want to talk about the Yamas and Niyamas first. To me, these parts are the most precious of the 8 limbs, and they deserve to have the same or even more attention that the western world has given to the practice of Asana.
Studying and applying the Yamas and Niyamas will help us understand that it doesn’t matter how flexible, strong or mindful we are if we are mean to others or if we are attached to certain behaviors, thoughts or objects. Some questions we might like to ask ourselves on a daily basis are:
Are we offering light our darkness to those around us?
Do we love ourselves and others (with and without our achievements)?
Are we being of any help to those around us?
If we are not sure about the answers, then our Asana practice might not be enough… We should be using the other limbs of yoga as the sacred tools they are to help us out. Of course, this is optional 🙂 There are many spiritual paths that you can choose from, but to me, the 8 limbs of yoga are “simple” and very straightforward. That is why I like them!
In my opinion, these Yamas and Niyamas come before any asana or meditation practice. They seem simple but in fact, they are not. I still struggle with them, and my asana practice has become a gift to my body and mind, so I can focus on the other limbs of yoga without any physical blockages. Being healthy is very important, but I believe learning how to balance our minds and emotions + connecting with our spiritual being and purpose, is the highest goal in yoga. This will allow us to learn how to serve others and live a harmonious life.
For those who don’t know, I found out I was pregnant this year at the beginning of the yoga teacher training. I have witnessed how my yoga practice has been reflected throughout the entire cosmic process of creation within me.
I have been able to handle pregnancy “illnesses” in a better way and I feel energised almost all the time. That proves that anybody can use yoga to improve their quality of life even when the circumstances are not “ideal”. That doesn’t mean you won’t have to experience any more challenges, it means that you will have the tools to guide you through them, and that’s a relief.
To me, yoga is a tool you can use in many levels. Yes, it starts with asana and mindfulness, but if we don’t practice kindness, forgiveness, gratitude… we are missing 50% or more of its true purpose.
Our egos will give us reasons to believe we are doing fine, that we don’t need to change anything, but once we start observing more and more, we realise there is so much more to forgive and to change in our daily life to be in line with our moral and ethical codes.
I believe life has always something to teach you. The achievements you pursue are usually part of your mental, emotional and spiritual training. I encourage myself with statements like this, and my fears give me a break then. Give it a try!
Are you ready to accept the challenges of life? The funny thing is, there’s no option… Even if you don’t like it, life will insist until you grow as much as you are capable of.
Enjoy the ride and see you soon!
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