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The Yama: The Undeniable Foundation of Yoga

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali introduce us to the Eight Limbs of Yoga, a comprehensive guide for our spiritual journey. Among them, the first limb is the Yama. I firmly believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that the Yama is the very foundation of yoga. All other limbs, regardless of their depth and intricacy, become almost insignificant if the principles of the Yama are overlooked.

When I first embarked on my yogic journey, my interaction with the Yama was superficial. Wrapped up in memorizing the Sanskrit terms and decoding their meanings, I struggled to penetrate their deeper essence. But, as with most profound truths, the Yama demanded time, reflection, and experience for a genuine understanding.

My journey with the Yama took a transformative turn when I began imparting its wisdom to aspiring yogis in our 200-hour yoga teacher training. Teaching is the best form of learning, they say, and this couldn't have been truer for me. As I delved deeper, the Yama began to unveil their profound relevance to daily life.

Now, after years of immersion in these principles – living them, teaching them, studying them, and most importantly, applying them in the tapestry of life – they have become an intrinsic part of my decision-making compass. Every situation, every dilemma, every joy, and every sorrow, I find a reflection of at least one Yama principle. Together with the Niyama, the Yama acts as a filter, refining my actions, thoughts, and emotions.

A shift occurred within me. Instead of seeking external counsel, I began to turn inward. My intuition, fortified by the wisdom of the Yama and Niyama, became my most trusted guide. They taught me the power of self-reliance, of finding answers within rather than without.

The Yama, in its infinite wisdom, offers more than mere guidelines for a disciplined life. They are the pillars that support the edifice of our spiritual journey. Without them, the structure, no matter how ornate or intricate, stands on shaky ground.

If you're on a spiritual or self-discovery journey, I urge you to delve deep into the Yama. Let them not just be words or principles, but a way of life. Let them guide you, as they have guided me, towards a life of clarity, purpose, and profound understanding. My favorite book for deeper understanding is Deborah Adele’s The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga's Ethical Practice - 10/10 recommend!

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