Week four of Yoga Tree Teacher Training: The Yoga Sutras and Alignment. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the eightfold path is called ashtanga, which means “eight limbs” (ashta=eight, anga=limb). These eight limbs act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. They serve as a prescription for ethical conduct and self-discipline. They direct attention toward one’s health, and they help us to bring awareness to the spiritual aspects of our nature.
The Eight Limbs:
- Yama – (the five restraints)
- Ahimsa – Non-violence
- Satya – Truthfulness
- Brahmacharya – Continence
- Asteya – Nonstealing
- Aparigraha – Non-covetousness
- Niyama – (the five observances)
- Saucha – Purity, cleanliness
- Santosha – Contentment
- Tapas – Heat, spiritual austerity
- Swadhyaya – Self-study, study of scriptures
- Ishwara Pranidhana – Surrender to God
- Asana – Steady posture
- Pranayama – Control of prana or life force
- Pratyahara – Withdrawal of the senses
- Dharana – Concentration
- Dhyana – Meditation
- Samadhi – Super-conscious state
We worked on Salamba Sarvangasana – Shoulderstand during one of our alignment days. It is an inversion pose, which is an extremely important group of asanas. They reverse the action of gravity on the body; instead of everything being pulled towards the feet, the orientation shifts towards the head. Similarly, on the emotional levels, inverted asanas turn everything upside down, throwing a new light on old patterns of behavior and being. Inversions improve health, reduce anxiety, stress and increase self-confidence by stimulating mental power through concentration. It is believed that inversions also increase the blood supply to the scalp and nourishes the root of the hair, preventing the loss and graying of hair. I’ve always thought inversions were a little scary, but yoga is a way to face and eventually conquer our fears, so I’m going to incorporate this asana into my daily practice.
Here’s to hoping a daily inversion will flood your roots with healthy blood and stimulate hair growth! Take good care. XO
Mick backstage in Salamba Sarvangasana.
One of my favorite Rolling Stones songs: