It’s been a long time

It’s been a long time since I regulary wrote here and nearly as long since I’ve practiced regularly.  I have a very hard time justifying writing anything here when I haven’t spent time on my mat, I’ve felt like writing here would seem to indicate that I was practicing and that allowing people to believe that when I was not actually practicing at all would be a violation of Satya.  Yoga, however, is not time spent doing asanas and this long break in my asana practice has been a good reminder of this.  Yoga is union:

1.1 Now, instruction in Union.
1.2. Union is restraining the thought-streams natural to the mind.
1.3. Then the seer dwells in his own nature.
1.4. Otherwise he is of the same form as the thought-streams.
Yoga Sutras of Patañjali

Union, or Yoga, is restraining the thought-streams natural to the mind.  Yoga is both the act of restraining the thought-streams and it is the thing which is restraining the thought-streams.  When these thought-streams are restrained, one dwells in his own true nature; otherwise he is only the things which he thinks.  The Eight Limbs of Yoga are not Yoga but means of achieving and having Yoga just as physical exercise is not good health but a means of obtaining it.

The point is that there is much more to Yoga than just the asanas and to better highlight that, I’ve started to call an asana practice just that:  Asana practice.  Along those same lines, I’m making a concerted effort to incorporate the yamas and niyamas in everything I do.  The idea came from Yoga Journal’s 2005 desktop calendar.  One of the first pages talked about Ahimsa and I figured that they would cover all the yamas and niyamas throughout the year.  I couldn’t easily see if they did or not so I decided that I would cover them myself.  It was easy enough to divide the year into ten periods and assign one of the yamas or niyamas to each period beginning with Ahimsa.  I then made a sign which simply says Ahimsa and hung it where I would see it through the day.  This way, even though I am not practicing asanas, I am still focused on Yoga.