Unleash Your Inner Zen Warrior
The second limb of yoga, as outlined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, is the niyamas. These are five moral and ethical observances that help an individual cultivate a positive and harmonious state of being. And let’s be real, who doesn’t want to be a positive and harmonious being?
The niyamas are:
- Saucha (cleanliness)
- Santosha (contentment)
- Tapas (discipline)
- Svadhyaya (self-study)
- Ishvara pranidhana (surrender to a higher power)
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Wait, so yoga is more than just sitting in a pretzel shape and trying not to fall over?” Yes!
You can read more about the five niyamas in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which is a collection of 196 Indian sutras (aphorisms) that form the basis of classical yoga. A full definition can also be found at Yogapedia.
- Saucha, or cleanliness, can be practiced on a yoga retreat in Thailand by maintaining personal hygiene and by being mindful of one’s surroundings and the impact we have on the environment. This can involve simple acts such as picking up litter and properly disposing of waste, as well as trying to reduce one’s carbon footprint. Bonus points if you can spot a piece of rubbish while doing tree pose!
- Santosha, or contentment, is about finding joy and gratitude in the present moment, rather than constantly striving for more. A yoga retreat in Thailand, with its peaceful and natural surroundings, can be a perfect setting to cultivate this virtue. Taking time to appreciate the surrounding beauty, and participating in activities such as meditation and pranayama, can help one find contentment and inner peace. And if you’re struggling to find contentment, just remember that you could be stuck in rush hour traffic instead of doing downward dog in the Yoga Shala.
- Tapas, or discipline, is about cultivating a strong and consistent yoga practice. On a yoga retreat in Thailand, one can fully immerse themself in their practice and establish a daily routine. This can involve committing to daily asana and meditation classes, as well as incorporating other spiritual practices such as mantra repetition and pranayama. And being truthful, if you can make it through a 60-minute yoga class without falling asleep or getting distracted by a fly, you can conquer anything.
- Svadhyaya, or self-study, is about examining and understanding one’s own thoughts, beliefs, and actions. A yoga retreat in Thailand can provide the space and time for introspection and self-reflection. This can be done through journaling, participating in group discussions, or working with a teacher or mentor. And if all else fails, just blame everything on Mercury being in retrograde.
- Ishvara pranidhana, or surrender to a higher power, is about letting go of the ego and surrendering to a higher force or source of guidance. This can be practiced on a yoga retreat in Thailand through devotion and spiritual practices such as chanting and prayer. Or, you know, by just throwing your hands up and saying “I give up, universe, you win” when things get tough.
Overall, a yoga retreat at Sumalee Boxing Gym can be a wonderful opportunity to practice and embody the niyamas, helping to cultivate a positive and harmonious state of being. And even if you don’t feel like you’re getting it 100% right, just remember that every yogi has their off days – even the gurus.