In the third weekend of the 500 hour teacher training, there was an array of emotions that flooded me.  I was happy, confused, mad, content, joyful, curious, and the list could go on.  As I allow myself to unfold deeper layers of myself, I sense emotions on a deeper level.  I find myself on a ladder moving towards consciousness, but often at rungs of the ladder I get stuck.  I find a new consciousness , with new awareness that I have to unfold. The questions and confusion I have are profound. The answers I discover seem to be perplexed with more questions.

A path is needed to uncover this life, and the road map I have dove into is the yamas.  The yamas are part of the an eight-fold path based on Patanjali’s work. The yamas include ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (non-excess), and aparigraha (non-possessiveness). Through the duration of the weekend, I had to practice these yamas, time and time again.  I have taken many of my learnings from The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice, by Deborah Adele, and quoted the book throughout.

“Not a love that is ego-centric but a love that is forgiving and lenient; a love that sees humor in the imperfections and accepts the fullness of the human expression.” This quote is exactly what I needed walking into the first day of the weekend for the training. I was feeling not good enough, less than, not loving myself for every part.  I was feeling imperfect. But what is perfect? Learning to love all the “perfect and imperfections” from day to day, moment to moment is ahimsa. I decided I needed to be more kind to myself. Showing myself kindness allows me to flourish.

Ahimsa and satya have been going hand and hand for me.  How can I be truthful and kind in the same breath? And how is being kind different than being real? Just by the mere presence at the yoga training I am showing my truthfulness.  “Living the life that cries to be lived from the depth of our being frees up our energy and vitality.” I feel this need to grow and to expand myself.  It would be easy for me to stay home or to never have enrolled in this program.  I would be safe in comfort of what I already know, but that is not my truth.  I feel the need and want to express myself in my truthfulness. And how I speak to myself with love and truth.  I start to change my thoughts from, “I am not good enough to be here” to “I am here to learn how to spread this light and knowledge, it is a process, I don’t have to know everything.”

This inner dialogue leads me into asteya (non-stealing). I realize now that I was stealing from others with this thought pattern, as well as myself. “An outward focus leads us to compare ourselves to others and to send our energy into their lives in unhealthy ways.” By comparing I was making everything about me, which it wasn’t.  I was stealing the present moment, and positive energy. By recognizing when and where I am stealing allows me to be more present in the moment and live with more gratitude.

“Brahmacharya reminds us that we aren’t embodied in this form to feel dead but to feel alive. We aren’t embodied to snuff out our vitality and passion through excess but to bring it to full expression.” Deborah Adele has expressed how I use food, technology, or even emotions in excess.  Through the training I found myself constantly pulling out my phone over breaks.  I was using technology in excess, it wasn’t serving a positive purpose.  It was used to turn myself off, rather than to feel alive. Being aware of how I use excess too avoid, or over-indulge allows me to take actions to make sure I am doing things that make me come alive.

“Trust life, exhale, and let go.” Aprigraha is to completely let go.  Like a tree lets go of all the leaves, the tree has faith in the divine that all is okay. The tree has faith that it will survive, just like I need to have faith in the divine when it is time to let go. I need to let go of what I know, to make room from new learnings. I need to let go of the control, and allow myself to fall into what is.

The yamas have laid out a path, and it allows me the tools to lead a more fulfilling, grateful, loving life. Although I expressed how I used the yamas in one weekend, I am always diving back into the learnings and unfolding a deeper understanding.  I find it as a way to move past those rungs on the ladder, and come to more clarity.