Let me start at the beginning.
This morning whilst waiting for the 6.38am train to London Bridge from my local train station, I spied a city gent reading The Times newspaper. The header on the front page “Confessions of a Private Tutor” caught my eye.
As a mother with three daughters who at various times during their life have had private tutoring I was intrigued. I wondered ummmm what are the inside secrets, confessions of a private tutor. What dark, deeds had he, I assumed it was a “He” seen or been party to a private tutor.
The title triggered something in me. I thought I must buy The Times and find out for myself the confessions of a private tutor.
The title worked
It caught my attention and spurred me to take action.
As an inspiring blogger and entrepreneur I smiled. I had fallen prey to the oldest trick in the trade.
RULE #1 Capture Your Readers Attention With A Captivating Headline
We are constantly told to look around, gain inspiration and insights from our everyday world. To weave our personal story into our blogs to make a more relevant, rich and rewarding experience for our readers.
I am sure when you saw the title “Confessions of a Yoga Teacher” different thoughts went through your mind and if nowt else the title made you pause, stop and ponder, shall I stop and click on the link to find out more or pass it by.
If you are still reading, obviously you have taken the time and energy to do find out more.
What Made You Click?
What made you click? Was it the curiosity factor, desire to find out a bit more about me? Maybe you follow me, subscribe to my weekly ezine, find what I say relevant and useful, regardless of the title, so you are happy to click on and read my blog posts…
I Panicked. Can I Confess, Share My Failings?
I started to panic and question my sanity? How can I take a random headline from a popular newspaper and make it my own? What can I confess which will make this blog worthy of your time, energy and potential trust in me?
I could feel my old doubts and issues about writing, being a successful blogger surface.
How can I, write anything that will remotely stir and engage you?
I could feel the tension build up in my stomach.
So, What Can I Confess?
I know we are encouraged to share Our Story, reveal a bit about ourselves, but like you, I have my hang-ups, including an image to protect. I am Yoga Teacher. I feel I am supposed to live by certain rules, to be calm, patient, and honest.
Students, friends and family think I am this calm chilled out parent. In my head, I am this kind, loving parent. My girls will tell you different. I shout, moan and yell. According to my girls I ignore their requests, for instance,my middle daughter likes me to give her a foot massage before she goes to bed. I know its a loving mother-daughter moment and helps her relax. Yet sometimes I just don’t have the energy and snap at her simple request and ruin that good night ambiance.
My daughters will tell you. I don’t take my own advice. I don’t listen. I get stressed and fail to breathe and show no consideration for others, especially as my youngest daughter says when I am belting out OM Namah Sivaya in the shower at 6 am in the morning…it wakes them up and despite their requests to Be Quiet in the Mornings I always end up singing, too loud and disturbing their sleep. Plus, even though I preach about “a balanced home-work life” I spend too much time on the computer and don’t spend enough time doing things with them … Ouch….
As for my soon-to-be-ex-husband. He can definitely tell you I am no saint.
There have been moments, days even during the last couple of years during this divorce process whereby I have totally lost all sense of control.
Miss Angry and Miss Hateful become my middle name and you don’t want to be at the receiving end of my anger. When I feel hard down by, frustrated and angry by the whole divorce wrangling – I see red. It’s scary. I remember one row and I felt so mad, I could have physically hurt my ex. Not a nice emotion and totally un-yogic….but it’s true. Hatred, alongside the inner peace and calm co-exist. And it takes all my years and years of yoga breathing and meditation practice to calm myself down. Even then, I am aware of the troubling thoughts and need for revenge.
What other Un-Yogic Things Do I Do?
The Yoga Sutras, in particular the Eight Limbs of Yoga, offer us a framework to live an ethical and highly principled life. I fail miserably here too.
If you are not familiar with the Yoga Sutras, here is a brief crash course:
What are the Yoga Sutras?
The Yoga Sutras is recognised as the first complete presentation of the practical and spiritual aspects of yoga. It consists of 196 threads or commentaries which bring together all the various strands and thoughts about yoga philosophy in one main literary source.
These threads cover all aspect of life, from giving guidelines on how to live a healthy industrious life right through to thoughts on how you can reach the ultimate goal of yoga – self realization.
Hatha Yoga refers to the physical postures and pranayama whilst Raja Yoga explores in more detail the spiritual mind-body connection. Hatha and Raja Yoga are more commonly known as the Eight Limbs of Yoga and form the second chapter of the Yoga Sutras.
The Eight Limbs Of Yoga
The Eight Limbs of Yoga form the ethical and philosophical foundation of your yoga practice. According to the ancient sage Patanajali, in his Yoga Sutras, yoga consists of eight limbs which he called Ashtanga Yoga. Each limb has its own identity yet still forms part of the whole system known as yoga.
The Eight Limbs or Steps of Yoga are:
1. Yama (a set of social codes for communal ethical living)
2. Niyama (guidelines for personal conduct and behaviour)
3. Asana (yoga postures)
4. Pranayama (breath control)
5. Pratyahara (withdrawal and control of the senses)
6. Dharana (concentration)
7. Dhyana (meditation)
8. Samadhi (enlightenment, self-realisation)
What Are The Yamas and Niyamas?
In addition, the Yamas and Niyamas are further broken down into 5 specific guidelines which give detailed explanations to guide you through your daily life.
The Yamas are:
The Yamas, deal with universal social and moral observations and sets out guidelines to encourage universal positive behaviours.
1. Ahimsa – Compassion and non-violence towards all beings, including animals.
2. Satya – truthfulness, speaking your truth in thoughts, words and behaviour. Basically being honest and kind
3. Asteya – Non-stealing and being generous with your thoughts and actions.
4. Brahmacharya – Self restraint, generally Brahmacharya refers to restraint of the sexual energy, however in its broadest sense, Brahmacharya means self-discipline and moderation in all areas of life.
5. Aparigraha – Non-possessiveness and non-greed. The ability to share and to have freedom from desire. For example, not to take bribes or unasked for gifts.
The five Niyamas are:
The Niyamas are more personal observations and relate to actions which you, as an individual are encouraged to do
1. Shauca – Cleanliness, keeping yourself and immediate environment clean and tidy.
2. Samtosha – Contentment, being satisfied and accepting of your immediate situation; the ideal behind Samtosha is to allow yourself to be happy and appreciate all the blessings and tribulations in your life, yet at the same time to strive towards spiritual enlightenment.
3. Tapas – Relates to self-discipline; the ability to stay focused and maybe go without certain possessions in order to grow, develop and care for yourself and others, .e.g. Tapas could relate to a child giving up sweets for a period of time and giving that money instead to a local charitable cause.
4. Svadhyaya – self study and observation of your thoughts, words and actions. It includes regular spiritual discussions and studying spiritual, philosophical literature in order to gain a richer understanding of life. It includes the ability to be reflective and introspective so that you get to know yourself on a deeper level, which helps to create clarity in your thoughts and behaviours. The more you know yourself the easier it is for you to communicate openly and honestly your desires.
5. Ishvarapranidhana – Refers to devotion to God. To constantly be aware of the sacredness of life and to hold reverence for all being.
As you can see the Yamas and Niyams offer you a set of highly thought of social and personal guidelines to consider as you strive to live a more harmonious and balanced life. If I lived according to these principles I would have nothing to hide or confess.
From the little bit I have shared with you, you can see I have a long way to go towards enlightenment. I am not perfect and fail way short of my ideal to live by the above yogic principles.
Find Out More...
Over the next few days, I will share in more detail how I fail to observe the Yamas and Niyamas and how I strive to overcome my imperfections and live a more yogic life.
In the meantime, feel free to sign up to my free weekly Yoga InspiresYou ezine and learn more about how I try to integrate yogic teachings into my everyday life.
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