By Shaura Hall
We believe it is essential to have an ethical grounding to become a yoga teacher leader. That’s why the Pilamaya Yoga 220 Hour Teacher Training follows the guidelines set out in the eight limbs of Patanjali – steps to live meaningfully and purposefully.
At the start of the training, we explore the first of the eight limbs that, if followed, will allow us to access a true sense of gratitude for all of life: the Yamas.
T H E – Y A M A S
Ahimsa or non- harming: Cultivating a kind and gentle attitude to the rest of the world and beyond. Sometimes it’s hard to bestow kindness onto ourselves, yet when we start to do our best to approach others with these qualities, we naturally become kinder with ourselves. As a result, we begin to learn how to walk gently on the Earth.
Satya or truthfulness with ourselves and others: Diminishing the suffering from conflict in the mind. Our natural state of openness and honestly tends to get eroded as we navigate through the complexities of life; leaving us open to deception of others and self. (We also look at the biological effects that accompany this mind activity!)
Asteya or non-stealing: This can also be translated as honesty, but that doesn’t fully grasp the meaning of this Yama; misappropriation of energy, creativity and intellectual property is no less detrimental to our wellbeing than the stealing of property. Asteya also means non-attachment – through overcoming that feeling of being ‘incomplete’, you can see that you are enough already.
Brahmacharya or moderating the senses: Recognising that we navigate our reality through our nervous system, and in particular the aspects of it that govern our senses. Our ability to feel and pain depends upon our nervous system, over our lives we learn to approach things that bring us pleasure and avoid those that result in physical or emotional pain. Such patterns have the potential of driving our behaviours and ultimately reduce our ability to experience equanimity in life.
Aparigraha or non-possessiveness: We could translate this as generosity, yet full meaning of this concept is still hard to grasp. We are primed to hold things that are dear to us close to our chest. We spend our lives trying to keep ourselves safe and as result we may build up possessions, wealth, friends, and even spiritual practices that we have a hard time sharing with others. On a more subtle level, we emotionally hold and defend in a way that may lead us towards non-generosity of language – that compliment that we hold back because we are too afraid to face a feeling of rejection. The processes that we endlessly go through because we cannot let go of our ego; even our unwillingness to sit and listen when someone tells us that that our actions have hurt them, can all be attributed to this Yama.
All spiritual paths have a code of conduct or suggestions for how we build and maintain our morality; the Lakota people taught me other sets of instructions that are also woven through the fabric of the training, though they aren’t named or overtly taught.
Yoga gives us another map to help us navigate through the differing terrains that we encounter on our quest.
When we take such teachings into our heart, our vibrations begin to change, we attract different situations in life and, in doing so, contribute to the evolution of our people.
Pilamaya Yoga acknowledges that developing our consciousness in this way is a life long journey, but our commitment to it will bring us home – to our heart.
This is the Pilamaya Way.