Dannie Hoult is a dear friend who I had the pleasure of taking yoga teacher training with. Aside from teaching yoga, she also works as a registered nurse. Her experience in these two areas are especially helpful as we dust off the old yoga teacher training textbook and review the 8 Limb Path of yoga. Patanjali, the father of yoga, has put together the 8 Limb Path so that those after him can also learn to reach enlightenment. It’s hard work and I’m pretty sure I won’t reach it in this lifetime. To back that fact up, Dannie and I actually only had time to go through the first limb in detail. I don’t want you to miss out though so here’s how the recipe goes. Oh, remember that this was written in the way, way, waaayyy back so the original writing was in Sanskrit:
1. Yamas – building character (ie. A moral compass)
a.) Ahimsa - no violence or harm
b.) Satya – Truthfulness
c.) Asteya – not to steal
d.) Brahmacharya – not to over indulge
e.) Aparigraha – not to hoard or be possessive
2. Niyamas – how to stay on track (ie. Self-discipline)
3. Asana – the poses (yoga as we know it)
4. Pranayama – breathing; because the breath is our life force, “prana”, and we will find peace in learning how to use it
5. Pratyahara – withdrawal of the senses and tuning in (think float tank)
6. Dharana – concentration (just one point, like staring at a flame from the candle)
7. Dhyana – meditation (unbroken concentration of everything; being aware without actually having to focus on it)
8. Samadhi – enlightenment *cue angelic singing*
The descriptions that I provided are written lightly but in reality the study is fierce and intense. Ghandi dedicated his entire life in mastering just the first two Yamas. I don’t want to mislead you but I don’t want to scare you away either! I’ve included a resource recommendation in the resources section if you want to delve deeper.
- While five distinct Yamas are provided, they are all interconnected and can’t really be separated
- The Yamas seem straightforward at first but there is much depth to be found if you allow deeper contemplation on it. Isn’t it usually the obvious advice that grants us the greatest revelations when we finally get it.
One of Your Biggest Lessons So Far:
The biggest lesson I have learned along the way is the power of presence. Truly recognizing that this moment is what we have and what matters. Let go of what does not serve you. It’s simple but true. Recognize impermanence and then use it as fuel to give your entire self to the moment. It can be so powerful in connecting with myself and others.
Links and Resources:
If you want to connect with Dannie, you can:
Facebook: Dannie Hoult
Book: To learn more about what Patanjali has to say, I recommend reading The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. There are a variety of translations as the original is written in Sanskrit. The version I read was translated by Sri Swami Satchidananda. It’s an intense book and not meant to be breezed through in one sitting. In fact, it’s the type of book that you keep easily accessible, ready to be referenced again and again. You might even want to explore versions translated by different people.