The 8 limbs of Yoga – One: The Yamas

Some days ago I wrote an article about how the 8 limbs of Yoga can help us to improve our well-being and to live in peaceful coexistence with others. I would like to take this series deeper starting with the first limb – Yama.

The 5 Yamas

First let me refresh your memory. The first limb of the eightfolded path is yama. With yama, Patanjali provides us some sort of ethical codex. Within this codex, there are 5 aspects that help you to live in peace with other beings and yourself. Sounds pretty nice, but let me say in the beginning, it’s not as easy as it sounds but so so worth trying to work on it everyday. So let me present the 5 Yamas in short.

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Walking barefoot to heal

When you meet me outside in nature, I am that girl that is walking barefoot. I prefer sitting on the ground over sitting on a chair. At home I hardly ever wear shoes, not even slippers or socks. Long time I didn’t know why I was doing like this. My answer to questions always was “I just like it, it feels more comfortable, more natural.”. With this article I would like to inspire you to give your feet a break every now and then. Your whole body-mind-soul-system will thank you for it.

Use your feet for what they were designed for

I believe that who- or whatever created life, it equipped all living beings with everything they need. More specific, I believe that every plant, every animal and every human being gets born with what they need to master this world. Did you ever see a baby coming out of the womb with shoes? I guess not. Human beings are the only beings on our earth that protect their feet with shoes. We sometimes need to because the world today is more of an unnatural concrete jungle than woods and meadows. But let’s face it, shoes are graves for our feet and we start to bury our physical health at very young age. Our feet are full of tiny but oh so important muscels and best way to train them is to walk barefoot. Easy as that. The overuse of footwear leads to deformation of the feet, flat foot, splayfoot, ingrown toenail and so on. Furthermore, wearing shoes all the time (high-heels are killer literally) can lead to bad posture, problems with the knees, hips and the spine. A whole list of not so pleasant things. So from the physical viewpoint, you can just benefit from walking barefoot. To train your muscels it already helps to walk without any shoes at home. Besides of training your footmuscels and therefore improving your posture there are other physical benefits. Maybe you already heard of “foot reflexology”. By walking barefoot, you bring stimulation to those pressure points and you activate reflex arcs of your neuronal system and other connectivities. Activating these circuits is a benefit to your whole physical system. Lower blood-pressure, strengthening of the cardiovascualar system, boosting the body’s defences. But there are so much more benefits, let’s see what happens when we take our bare feet outside.

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The 8 limbs of Yoga – Living Yoga on and off the mat

Yoga. When people hear that word, most of them think of some women in yoga pants doing fancy stretches. Yoga is much more than this. “The 8 limbs of Yoga” is going to be a series that dives deeper into yoga-philosophy, while connecting this philosophy to our every day lives, outlining how we can improve our own well-being and feeling of being happy and at the same time contribute to a happier, more loving world.

Patanjali and the 8 limbs of Yoga

Patanjali, some mysterious indian man/figure, is known as the author of the yogasutra. A collection of verses in which he explains the essence of this ancient practice. What are the goals, what needs to be practiced? Within those sutras, Patanjali also talks about the 8 limbs of yoga, which can be concerned as a guideline to a meaningful, purposeful and peaceful life with the goal of reaching unity. So here is some quick overview what these limbs are.

8 limb pic

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