The 8 Limbs of Yoga with Cameron Macinnes
Coming soon to Radiant Yoga Marbella is an energizing Workshop focused on the 8 Limbs of Yoga in Practice. Led by Cameron Macinnes, this three-hour long session on Saturday 21st July will illuminate your knowledge of the 8 Limbs, or pillars of yoga, and how incorporating them into your practice will help you gain a sense of expanded awareness spilling over into daily life.
While the feel-good factor of stretching, saluting the sun, and taking time out of your busy schedule to meditate on your yoga mat in savasana may be your main reasons for practicing yoga, the deeper intention of a regular yoga practice is to find inner peace, to meet with the true Self and to encounter a sense of freedom.
Yes, ultimately yoga is intended to separate us from whatever stops us from feeling free. If freedom or liberation sounds like an intoxicating state to aim for, be aware that in yogic terms it is a state that one aims to reach via the effective use of the 8 Limbs of Yoga – a kind of ancient yogic code which outlines positive mental and physical practices which help facilitate a purposeful life and which lead to an ultimate state of bliss or enlightenment.
This may seems like a tall order but, put in simpler terms, as stated on www.ekhartyoga.com, “If, rather than just the 90 minutes spent on a rubber mat; if in our yoga practice we can learn to be kind, truthful and use our energy in a worthwhile way, we will not only benefit ourselves with our practice, but everything and everyone around us too.”
The 8 Limbs of Yoga
- Yama – Restraints and moral disciplines
The aim of the Yama – vows or ethical disciplines – is to bring the strength we feel in yoga practice to the outside world. Why experience calm in class only to feel weak, rigid or stressed when in day-to-day life? The five Yamas are non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, right use of energy and non-greed. No matter where we are in the journey of life, or whether or not we are new to yoga, we can all aim to practice the yamas. The essence of Yama is remembering to be kind, respectful and truthful – especially to yourself. Ways to manifest Yama include talking kindly to yourself and others, remember the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all” – and remembering to freely share your gifts and blessings with others.
- Niyama – Positive duties
The Niyama are generally considered duties to ourselves, but can also apply to the outside world: Cleanliness, contentment, discipline, self-reflection and surrender to a higher power. The philosophy behind this is by keeping everything clean and ordered, positive energy can flow freely. You can eat “clean” which will impact on your thoughts and positivity. Keeping your environment clean and uncluttered – and practicing feng shui can make a huge difference to your feeling of well-being. Contentment – or gratitude is so important to consider on a daily basis. By showing gratitude for all you have in your life, you are opening yourself up to receive more blessings. Self-reflection in this context is to understand who we really are – and be true to ourselves. You can enhance this experience by reading yoga texts and listening to your inner voice of truth. Devotion, or surrender to a higher power is about recognizing the spiritual in each of us – the divine, which you can remember to treasure in the people and animals you encounter.
- Asana – Postures In this context, asanas is not referring to complex poses we struggle to attain: headstands, twists, or even the challenging lotus position. Asana means here “seat” – or a comfortable posture to be held for meditation. This 3rd Limb reminds us to listen to our reactions to situations. Some yoga postures for example stretch our imitations, or teach us patience or humility. In life situations, we can learn to listen to our reactions, trust our gut reaction and not necessarily do what we think we should do, but trust our intuition – in the same way we know whether to go further physically into a pose or back off.
- Pranayama – Breathing techniques
This can literally mean breath control, or breath liberation – and our prana is often referred to as our “life force energy”. Learning to master the breath is at the very essence of our yoga practice, and how we breathe directly affects our state of mind.
In our daily life we can try alternate nostril breathing as an effective way of calming the chatter in our minds and helping our focus.
- Pratyahara – sense withdrawal
The 5th Limb is focused on our ability to direct our attention inwards away from external sensory distractions such a sight, sound and smell when meditating.
With Pratyahara we become so absorbed in what we are focusing on, that distractions simply melt away. One of the best ways to incorporate this Limb into our lives is to reduce the sensory overload of social media – to just 15 minutes a day for example, to ban phones at meal times, limit TV time to just an hour a day, and meditate every day for 15-20 minutes.
- Dharana – Concentration
Linked to the former Limb, Dharana means that we are so focused on the point of concentration that our other senses are less acute. Candle gazing, visualization and focusing on the breath are all aspects of achieving dharana. Another way to still the mind – which can be done at any time – in a stressful situation, or when winding down, is to repeat a simple mantra over and over until the mind becomes still.
- Dhyana – Meditative Absorption
This is the state we reach when we are actually meditating – when we lose all awareness of “trying to reach” the state of meditation, and are actually there. It is only when you come back out of this state that you realize you had reached the meditative state. As half of the 8 Limbs are devoted to the mind, and reaping the benefits of meditation, aim to create a habit of meditation in your daily life; just 5 minutes a day can bring great benefits, and you can build on this until you are meditating 30 minutes a day.
- Samadhi – Bliss
This is the ultimate state of enlightenment we aim to reach once we have negotiated our relationships with the outside world and our own inner world. This state is not necessarily about floating away on a wave of joy, but rather to see or realize life as it is lying in front of us. This we can achieve when we are not conditioned by our likes, dislikes, etc – we just “are”. We simply exist, in a state of “I -am-ness”, a state of pure joy. This state is not expected to last for long periods of time. However, as the practice of yoga is ongoing, not linear, if we continue to practice the 1st limb, and really understand our inter-connectedness to all that is, then we lose the illusion of separateness and can experience more joy or “Samadhi” in our lives.
Inside The 8 Limbs Workshop at Radiant Yoga Marbella
A respected yogi and Reiki master from Scotland, Cameron McInness will be guiding this workshop. By incorporating Pranayama breathing techniques, with a series of asanas, energy locks, gazes and the powerful guided meditation technique of Yoga Nidra, Cameron McInness’s 8 Limbs of Yoga workshop will take students along the 8 limb path, leaving participants in a profound state of relaxation and awareness, offering a taste of the bliss of the 8th limb – Samadhi.
For further details on the workshop, taking place on Saturday 21st July,
get in touch to reserve your spot: firstname.lastname@example.org or 635 057 835
Radiant Yoga Marbella offers a variety of yoga classes in our Marbella studio including Hot Yoga (similar to Bikram, but with more varied sequencing), Vinyasa Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga Flow, Anasura Yoga, Traditional Hatha Yoga & Therpeautic Yoga.
Please look for news and updates on our Facebook page where you’ll find the latest information about our classes, workshops and other yoga information.
More about Cameron: https://cameronmacinnes.com/