The Guiding Hand of Patanjali -
I didn’t study yoga to become a condescending twat who thinks they know best, about everyfuckingthing (although I assume many do from the various classes I’ve been to), but I may get a taste for it as time goes on.
It does seem to be a thing these days, you know like the plague was in the 1300s.
Just in case you think this might be worth reading, please be aware that I am a hypocrite - I sting myself with live bees (and obviously hurt them because the poor little things die).
I am currently sitting on an earthing mat, which I suspect might be gathering all the electric smog I’m trying to avoid - because I saw a podcast on YouTube about the importance of earthing - from the whole universe and directing it directly into my body, which is not the aim, by the way.
I’m also plugged into a contact Lyme killing on my Spooky 2 (cheapish rife machine, more on that at some point, if I remember and am not dead from a herxheimer reaction).
Consequently, I’m probably an idiot at best, definitely as previously mentioned, a hypocritical bastard to boot, and not sure what I am at worst - but I’m fairly sure someone’s going to enlighten me after reading this.
Shall we start with the deep shit?
The philosophical side of yoga that a lot of people talk about and very few incorporate into their everyday lives? Mainly to prove that I really am into yoga, because I sense, given the general tone of my posts, that you may be doubting my sincerity.
I’m not just going to focus on the trying to twist one leg around the other while smiling inwardly and cooling the mind whilst simultaneously warming the body with breath alone side of yoga.
Nor the showy pose stuff that very few people can do and even fewer want to see done by a random arsehole in lycra.
I plan to delve a little bit deeper.
Plan to. I’ll probably only manage to bore you senseless in the process.
But, you know, I’d like to talk about the real shit. The stuff that matters. The not being a complete cunt stuff. The healing your mind and body stuff with yoga style self-hacking.
Yep, that’s right, I’m jumping right in with one of the big guns.
I’ll throw a few more words at you.
Eight limbs, Ashtanga, Sutras.
Just in case you’re thinking fuck me she knows what she’s talking about, I have to look this shit up every fucking time. I can’t remember the order of the Yamas, I’m certainly completely confused by the time I get to the Niyamas (where did that one come from for fucks sake?). I’ve no idea how to spell any of the bloody things. And there are two I keep muddling up, no three.
Look at me go! Taada - I wanted to add sparkles there to show off, but I don’t know how to do shit like that on a computer. Can barely turn the ‘the machines are winning’ bastard on. Don’t get me started on Photoshop, what did we do to the geeks to make them inflict that on us?
In case you don’t know what Yamas and Niyamas are, go and fucking look them up. Kidding, sorry....
Patnjali, clever bloke by all accounts, decided to lay out an eight-limbed path for us to follow within his Yoga Sutras.
By us, I mean the bendy, lycra clad yogi type people (I do not, I mean anyone, anyone at all, I’m taking the piss).
The guides, pointers, suggestions, whatever you want to call them, are really quite beautiful and lovely to follow for anyone and everyone.
If you like that kind of shit. If you don’t why are you still here? Probably to write nasty comments at the end, stupid question.
The Sutras of Patanjali I think they’re called. A self-hacking guide towards absolute fulfillment, freedom, enlightenment etc., that kind of shit.
This potentially blissful way of living and being according to Patanjali is the basis of Ashtanga Yoga.
Ashta means eight and ang means limb (I know you didn’t want to know that, which made it especially fun for me).
The first limb – The Yamas, our interaction with our environment.
The second limb – The Niyamas, our interaction with ourselves.
The third – The Asanas, our physical practice, yoga as we tend to know it in the west. The poses, the leggings, the comparison of who’s done the most retreats in the most exotic places.
The fourth – Pranayama, our breath, the control of our breath - for sexual pleasure (joking, sorry, I don’t know why I can’t behave).
The fifth – Pratyahara, the withdrawal of our senses so we can experience our internal world.
The sixth – Dharana, concentration, the focusing of the mind, preferably not on chocolate, Game of Thrones or shopping.
The seventh – Dhyana, meditation, peace. I actually haven’t got anything smart arse to add there.
The eighth – Samadhi, the complete oneness and integration. Bliss. Again, nothing, it’s nice there.
There are five Yamas, and five Niyamas (I’m guessing because he could see into the future, knew we’d all develop variants of ADHA, what with the toxic burden of our environment and introduction of ipads, M&Ms, YouTube, Instagram and processed foods etc. and wouldn’t able to cope with more - I could be wrong).
The Yamas and Niyamas are a lifestyle guide. Just like how to lay your coffee table out for maximum pretentiousness and intimidation when guests pop round.
No, no, nooo, I’m kidding, it’s the absolute exact opposite of that.
They are a kind of suggested way of being for the aspiring yogi (I don’t think Patanjali used the word aspiring though - I don’t think he did a marketing or blogging course).
They are a general moral compass that will hopefully guide you towards being the very best version of yourself (that’s most definitely from a US make over show and not Patanjali), but you get the idea.
I think not being an arsehole also encompasses it (he did not say that).
By following the Yamas, which are the kind of do not fucking do that for fucks sake suggestions, you are in essence opening yourself up to a purer and more ethical way of being.
Which may or may not lead to a greater level of peace, contentment and oneness - rather than otherness.
Which should hopefully mean that you’ll be less inclined to see other people and living things as the others. You may even begin to see that we are in fact all one, and then maybe just maybe you won’t plot murder, payback, vengeance, petty hurts, big hurts, willful ignorance or any of the other shitty things human like to do to anything they can get their hands on and may even, brace yourselves, become enlightened.
Whatever the fuck that means.
I’m working on this. Not being enlightened, I think I’ll leave that alone for the time being, but finding the oneness. You know, not visualising whacking annoying people around the face with a baseball bat when they offer suggestions as to where and why I’ve fucked my life up.
So… the Yamas are the restraints. The try not to do that’s. The learning to be decent - and become one with the universe. They cover our outward way of being.
The Niyams, in contrast, cover our internal world. They are a guide to help us nourish, care for and find the wisdom within ourselves.
I went to art college (Word whichever number this is, wants to capital letter art college, I’m having none of it), consequently sometimes (often) the shit that comes out of my mouth is beyond my control.
I believe there’s a Niyama addressing this kind of lack of self-control, not sure, can’t remember.
So - the Yamas and Niyams basically encompass the whole of us. They bring our outer world and inner worlds together and help us navigate the tricky path between the two.
Yoga does mean to unite, to yoke, to become one with, as it fucking happens. So it’s all coming together nicely as a concept, isn’t it?
In summation then, in becoming aware of the things you say and think and do, in trying to rein your base instincts of piss on it, eat it, kill it (not necessarily in that order), you can alter your world, your interpretation of the world - and disappear up your own arse - no, again, kidding, sorry I’ll stop.
You can become a nicer, kinder human. We need more of those. Plenty of arseholes already.