Ever have the urge to purge? To clean house? To detoxify from the wear and tear of daily life? To hit the reset button and start again?
If your answer is YES, then you’ve arrived at a life-changing conversation and yoga invitation.
Welcome to a power hatha yoga class that purifies and detoxifies your body, mind, and soul.
In the past, I’ve created similar themed yoga classes, but this one’s different because it’s bolstered by an ancient yoga teaching that’s part of a step-by-step framework for transformational living.
That teaching is the niyamas and that framework is the eight limbs of yoga.
If you’re a dedicated JJ member, then you know last month’s yoga class focused on the yamas, which are the first limb within the eight limbs of yoga. There are five yamas in total and they are thought of as attitudes or behaviors we practice towards others and ourselves.
If you missed the yama yoga class, I suggest staring there, then returning here.
This month, we’re traveling to the second limb and bringing our awareness to the niyamas, specifically the first niyama – śauca.
Psst: Wanna experience all five niyamas? Come join me inside my online studio where this month we’re learning, embodying, and applying the niyamas on and off the yoga mat through our asana practice, mudras (hand gestures), breathing techniques, worksheets, and community. Click here to join the studio.
Like the yamas, there are five niyamas in total, and they’re also referred to as restraints, disciplines, observances, attitudes or behaviors. The one significant caveat is that the niyamas are personal, meaning they’re exclusively concerned with our attitudes and behaviors towards our individual selves.
The focus turns inward to reveal our most potent, powerful nature.
Below offers a brief glimpse into what the niyamas are and how you can work with them:
*this is the focus of today’s power hatha yoga class
- The first niyama
- Defined as cleanliness or purification
- Receives two yoga sūtras to convey it’s intention and importance
- Focuses on internal and external cleanliness, but solely concerned with creating a tranquil state of mind
Śauca asks us to examine our relationship to cleanliness from every angle so we can feel purified on every level – body, mind, and soul. It asks us to adopt physical practices like a clean diet, lifestyle, and environment, and clean psycho-emotional practices like pure thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.
And as many of us have experienced, purification does indeed happen like a domino effect. Once we wholeheartedly embrace one behavior, the next comes easier, more naturally, with a bit more grace and ease. We meet purification with less resistance and more reverence and acceptance.
My personal śauca is inextricably linked to my dietary choices. When I choose pure ingredients with energetic and nourishing qualities, everything else I want to create and commit to happens with less force, less effort, and less negative self-talk. The moment I indulge too much or for too long, it becomes painstakingly clear that śauca is no longer part of the conversation.
Which then leads to a dissipation of energy in every area like my morning devotion (pranayama + meditation), daily choices, screen time behavior, my marriage, my personal development efforts, and especially – my creativity and intuition as a yoga teacher and community leader.
It’s all linked. Everything we do and think connects to one another.
So where do we begin? How do we start cleaning up? How do embrace purification to reveal our most potent nature?
We start on the yoga mat with our asana practice and breath. We put our faith into this ancient system and let it shape our existence. We allow the trickle down effect to happen. We let our actions on the mat inform our actions off the mat. We make a new choice. We choose a new behavior. We act as though śauca matters. We act as though we matter.
Which brings me to this week’s new yoga class, a power hatha practice to purify your body, mind, and soul (how appropriate, I know). This practice is breath centric, filled with strength, and centered around twists. It will ask you to work hard, focus your mind, and twist towards what’s most pure for you.
It’s truly a body-mind-soul sequence, please don’t miss it.
For the remaining niyamas, I won’t be providing an in-depth explanation, as these teachings are reserved for studio members. If after finishing this conversation and doing the new yoga practice, you feel curious about how this ancient framework can support your well being, then don’t hesitate – come join us in the studio to experience the niyamas in their entirety!
And now, let’s continue the niyama conversation, shall we?
- The second niyama
- Defined as contentment, an attitude acceptance, a belief that you did your best, that you are enough no matter what
- Reminds us to stop placing our happiness in expectations or attempting to control an outcome
- Provides confidence in the face of adversity
- Can be easily accessed through a gratitude practice
- Greatest lesson: YOU ARE ENOUGH
- The third niyama
- Defined as heat, fire, zeal, austerity, transformation, spiritual discipline
- Known for it’s ability to burn away physical, mental, emotional and spiritual impurities
- Most commonly accessed through a dedicated asana practice
- Can also be accessed through any dedicated spiritual discipline of your choosing
- The fourth niyama
- Defined as self-study, self-reflection, getting close to yourself, self-inquiry, the studying of ancient texts
- Can be accessed through reading/studying personal development, yoga, spiritual texts
- Can also be accessed through slowing down, stillness, and silence
- Transformative lesson in learning to belong to yourself
- The fifth and final niyama
- Defined as to surrender to a higher power, to lay your actions at the feet of God, to do your best and leave the rest.
- This niyama can be paired with any yama or niyama (attitude or behavior) to create a powerful life reminder
- Can be accessed through prayer, devotion, intention setting, asana + pranayama practices, stepping into and/or communing with the sacred, rituals, etc.
- Can deeply support life’s major and minor trauma tears if experienced through the lens of faith
These are the five niyamas, the second limb within the eight limbs of yoga, and guess what – they are ours to learn, embody, and practice, handed down to us from thousands upon thousands of years, as guiding principles to free us from the enslavement of fear based living, and instead – experience freedom.
It’s my hope that whether you join the studio or not, you’re able to find a sense a familiarity within these teachings and develop a strong self-awareness, so when life throws its hurdles, you can scan through the ten guiding principles (the yamas and niyamas) and ask yourself – which one do I need in this moment? How can I think or act in a way that moves me further and further from fear, and closer and closer to freedom?
Because I’m quite positive that at any given moment, we each need varying doses of loving kindness, truthfulness, non-stealing, moderation, non-grasping, cleanliness, contentment, discipline, self-reflection, and surrender to a higher power.
Finally, for those who are geeking out on the niyamas and the greater eight limbs of yoga system, below is what’s included in this month’s studio membership:
- Śauca Power Hatha Class to Purify Your Being
- Santosa + Īśvarapranidhānā Yin Yang Class
- Tapas Transformative Vinyasa Class
- Svadhyāyā Restorative Yin Class
- Niyama Yoga Workbook with in-depth explanations and worksheets
- Niyama Podcast Conversation between myself and Andrea Dawn
- Niyama Studio Giveaway!
- Themed Yoga Class Calendar
- Weekly Niyama Love Letters (aka emails)
- Access to last month’s yama yoga materials
- Access to all previous studio materials
- Private Studio FB Group!
Woo. That’s a lot of yoga for only $29.
Alright JJ community.
I believe we are fully prepared for this month’s new yoga class, so please unroll your mat, and come join me for a śauca power hatha yoga class.
I’ll meet ya there.