The Eighth Limb: Samadhi
In this yoga philosophy class, we explore the concept of Samadhi. Samadhi is the eighth and final limb of Patanjali's eight limbs of yoga, and it means enlightenment. This can be quite a challenging concept for us to grasp, but it is often thought of as freedom from the limited sense of self.
The Seventh Limb: Dhyana
The seventh limb of yoga is Dhyana, or meditation. The eight limbs of yoga represent the path of meditation, which is considered to be the greatest tool in our yoga practice to help us experience Samadhi by understanding and mastering the mind to experience equanimity and balance.
Buddha's Teachings: Yoga for Sympathetic Joy
This yoga class focuses on the third aspect of the Buddha's teachings to awaken the heart, Mudita. Mudita means finding joy in the happiness and success of others. It is the third of four boundless states, or brahmavihārās. This well-rounded class has a particular focus on the hips and the hamstrings, two areas where many of us are tight due to either a sedantary lifestyle, or strengthening workouts. Being happy for others when they are happy are we are not, or they achieve things that we haven’t not the easiest practice. Indeed, ours is a world where comparison, judgement, envy and aggression are rife. Learning to be happy for someone when they are truly happy and shining usually requires a deliberate effort. When we can summon sympathetic joy, the rewards are magnificent and freeing. Through a cultivation of mudita, we can pull out the weeds of pettiness, envy and comparison. We become less selfish and self-centred, and grow into more tolerant, generous and compassionate individuals. Our actions can then create a chain-reaction, where a joyful and charitable heart ripples out into the world. You will just need a mat.
The Sixth Limb: Dharana
The Fifth Limb: Pratyahara
The fifth limb of yoga is Pratyahara which means withdrawal of the senses or turning inwards. This refers to the first step of meditation after laying the groundwork with the practices in the previous limbs. Withdraw from external stimulus by turning off your phone or retreating to a quiet room for a time and take your attention inwards.
Buddha's Teachings: Yoga for Compassion
This yoga class focuses on cultivating a strong and resilient heart that awakens karuna, or compassion. It is the second of four boundless states, or brahmavihārās. Compassion means to be with another’s suffering. It is the opposite of cruelty. It can be conflated with pity, which it is not. Compassion is born out of a selfless desire to stand in solidarity with those who experience misfortune. Misfortune does not have to be starvation, physical pain and loss; it can be as simple as wanting something to be other than it is, which the Buddha described as creating clinging as well as a pushing away of experience. When we begin to cultivate compassion, we start with extending compassion towards ourselves. By forging self-compassion, we create a springboard for extending compassion towards others and all beings in the world. This well-rounded yoga class focuses on heart opening and brings in qigong movements.
The Fourth Limb: Pranayama
The fourth limb of Patanjali's path is Pranayama which means life force energy. It is thought that the more of this life force energy we can cultivate, the more healthy, awake, alive and aware we will be, and the greater our longevity. Learn about some of the different types of breath work used to practice pranayama.
The Third Limb: Asana
Buddha's Teachings: Yoga for Loving Kindness
This is a practice centred around metta, which means goodwill, care, or loving-kindness. It is the first of four boundless states, known as the brahmavihārās. The brahmavihārās are the Buddha’s primary teachings on how we cultivate an awakened heart. In this yoga class, we’ll do some heart-focused practices and gentle movements (including some inspired by Qi Gong) to explore metta, which is the wish for true happiness that you can direct to yourself and towards others. In Buddhist teachings, metta is the foundations to our heart’s love and strength as it is what guided the Buddha along his path to care for a world that was in so much pain. As we learn to cultivate metta, we can learn to support our capacity to extend care to ourselves and the world, and send wishes for true happiness to all.
The First Niyama: Saucha
The Fifth Yama: Aparigraha
The fifth and final Yama is Aparigraha, which means 'freedom from greed'. This is one of the key tenants of Buddhism; that we are suffering because we are full of desire. Our ego is always needing or craving something, but our true self is already whole. More things does not necessarily fulfil that hole inside of us!
The Fourth Yama: Brahmacharya
The fourth Yama is Brahmacharya, which means celebacy. Traditionally in India, young men would choose between being a wandering yogi or a householder, but today it is acceptable to practice a spiritual life and yoga, and be a householder. But how is this Yama relevent to our lives today in the West when celebacy is not a common way to live?
The Fourth Niyama: Svadyaya
The Third Yama: Asteya
The third Yama is Asteya, which is non-stealing. This means we should not be taking for oneself other people's time, objects and ideas. Vidya also explores the idea of not coveting what others have and being dissatisfied with what you do have, and how we can practice the opposite of that.
The second Yama: Satya