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Here We Go Again: Round TWO of Yamas & Niyamas Study

Really killed it on that title, didn't I?

I always planned to repeat this project at least two more times in order to dig deeply into each concept and be able to offer up my experiences in a teaching capacity like a workshop or as part of a Yoga Teacher Training. Or maybe a book. For now it remains a passion project that I aim to make more public this time around. That's the plan, anyway, but it would require putting myself 'out there' in a way that's extremely uncomfortable, so it will be the biggest challenge of all. This project has remained secret because I'm afraid of sharing it--afraid of judgement, criticism, disapproval. Which is maybe silly, but still very real.

Who am I afraid of judging me? Everyone. Including myself.

I came across a quote attributed to Nelson Mandela (in Deena Castor's Let Your Mind Run) the other day: "May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears". So many of my decisions to act--or not to act--are based on fear and insecurity. (And guess what? So are yours.) Some are based on a desire to grow and advance myself, but probably 2% reflect any "hope". I play the "What if?" game too often, but leaning toward the hypothetical negative outcome, rather than optimism. I guess reframing this could be a worthy challenge this year, too.

I put off starting round two of this project for about 6 months. I've enjoyed the relief of not feeling like I have a self-imposed writing assignment deadline looming over me, but also missed the engagement with something of depth (deeper than watching reality TV and scrolling through Facebook), and the daily challenge of trying to be a better, more evolved human. I'm approaching this next cycle with a restored excitement and energy.

This time around I'm diving deeper and therefore dedicating more time to each concept, probably 2-3 months, but I'm not holding myself to a strict calendar. Partially because it didn't work so great last time, but also because I want the freedom to linger in something that's really resonating, and pass through something that's not.

My approach this year will follow my own formula, instead of Deborah Adele's, although she certainly inspired both my approach and interest in this project at all, so I want to give her clear credit. I will give myself 'challenges' for exploring each of the Yamas & Niyamas, possibly some of hers that I found either particularly enriching or particularly difficult, but mostly challenges that I've created myself. I intend them to be a balance of actions to take and reflections to make (observances), whereas Adele's were heavily observational.

I'll also include other modalities for learning about and tapping into the essence of the each concept: a book, a mantra for meditation (possibly a mudra to go along with it), and any other articles/documentaries that were helpful to me and may be to others one day.

I'd love any suggestions for related material from my fellow yogis or ideas for pertinent challenges!


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