Going over 8-fold path of yoga was a great moment for me to reflect on my practice off the mat. Yoga is a lifestyle, not just physical activity. I try to incorporate the 8-fold path in all aspects of my life. Here's how...
I practice Ahimsa with vegan/vegetarianism which gives me a lot of energy.
I practice Asteya and Tapas by being very punctual and reliable which has developed trust in my working relationships.
I practice Brahmacharya and Saucha with cyclic fasting which helps my digestion.
I practice Aparigraha and Santosha through general thriftiness and mindfulness when I am having the urge to buy things out of boredom. I find the more I practice the Yamas and Niyamas, the more benefits I find in them.
When approaching Satya, Svadhyaya and Ishvara Pranidhana, I want to remember the aspects of the path that I struggle with the most. I still feel like I am very much on the beginning of my path for finding my personal truth or Satya and I have personal reservations about believing in a higher power as I hold so many contradicting beliefs. I need to make more time for the Svadhyaya, or the introspection and self-study part of my practice. It is one of my favorite parts but often does not become a top priority.
I often find myself aware of selfish self-judgments when practicing Svadhyaya. I will have to explore this emotional aspect more. I don’t often go over the Yamas and Niyamas in teaching, except for Ahimsa. I try to encourage my students often to remember to be kind to their bodies and minds.
Asanas, Pranayama, Pratyahara
Nearly every morning in my personal practice, whether it be 15 mins or 90 mins, I am actively practicing Asanas, Pranayama, and Pratyahara. I find the morning practice allows me to use these more in my daily life as well.
I feel like in teaching these aspects of the path are rather mechanical and are best performed with lots of repetitions.
I find these two limbs in a lot of my piano practice. It feels very meditative to focus deeply on the music. Usually more complicated pieces draw me in more, but I would like to work on creating deep concentration and meditation even on pieces that are simple. I think if I can focus more on how to make simple music sound richer I would find a lot of beauty in my playing.
In my teaching I think the best way for me to give my students these limbs is to allow time and silence in the practice. It is beautiful to see people calm down when I give them more time to move and moments of silence to observe their minds.
I usually think of Samadhi as something that comes to me after practicing the other 7 limbs, not as something to practice individually. Perhaps if I think of it more as a practice, rather than as a reward for completing the other 7 limbs, I will spend more time in Samadhi, which I would like.
How do you incorporate the 8-fold path in your life? Reply in the comments below!