Ageless Yoga

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How We Live Our Lives, Make Decisions And Yoga

Pillowcases, makeup sponges and a washing machine ...


Recently, my thoughts have often dwelled on how I live my life and the impact it has on others and the universe. Also, how does one make decisions that are not just based on personal need and gain?

I aspire to live a life of awareness and with consideration of the ten principles  of Yoga for peace, harmony and sustainability for all!

I aspire to live a life of awareness and with consideration of the ten principles of Yoga for peace, harmony and sustainability for all!

copyright: artellia / 123rf

This thinking reminded me of Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras, who clearly defines an eight-limbed path that forms the structural framework for an individual who wishes to embark on the yogic path.

"The eight limbs of yoga are traditionally presented as a hierarchical progression!"

Donna Farhi in her book Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit - a Return to Wholeness argues that this hierarchical approach reinforces the idea that yoga is something to 'get' rather than an integrated, holistic way of living your life.

She suggests that it is more useful to think of the eight limbs as the arms and legs of a body - connected to one another through the central core of yoga. She explains that as a child's limbs grow in proportion to one another, whichever of the eight limbs of practice we focus upon inevitably causes the other limbs to grow as well.

This view is re-assuring because most of us start the yogic path through the asana (poses) practice which is the third of the eight limbs of yoga, effectively 'skipping' the first two limbs: Yamas and Niyamas, the philosophical guiding principles by which yogis live. This is where I am finding myself at the moment I think, because as my asana practice grows, the calling is there to grow the other limbs too.

So, before I discuss the Yamas and Niyamas, I would like to share what brought this to mind:

My step-granddaughter has been staying with me for a few weeks whilst waiting for a job opportunity to come through. For her 21st birthday she gifted herself a silk pillowcase with the money she received. She put the pillowcase with her make-up sponges in the washing machine for a wash.

In my mind a complete waste of energy and water as a hand wash would have been far more sustainable. When questioned about this decision, her response was that it was only a 15-minute wash ... well, thank goodness for that!

This brings me to the Yamas and Niyamas. These are the ten ethical principles that allow us to be at peace with ourselves, our family and our community. To demonstrate each, I quote examples provided by a yoga teacher, Kristin Weber of Subtle Yoga.

The first principle is probably the most familiar to most of us and is quite often used in the context of yoga. It is worth noting though that all ten principles work as a whole system and forms the foundation of our yoga practice.

Yamas - Community ethics, focused on our behaviour and actions:

  • Ahimsa - Non-harming kindness
    "I choose to behave with kindness towards myself, others and the universe"

  • Satya - Honesty, benevolent truthfulness
    "I choose to speak and act truthfully, with integrity"

  • Asteya - Non-stealing, responsibility
    "I honour what belongs to others. I set limits and respect boundaries"

  • Brahmacarya - Seeing everything as a manifestation of something greater
    "I set an intention to see everyone and everything as interconnected. Hence, my actions have an impact. Same as the actions of others"

  • Aparigraha - Non-greed, sustainability
    "I don't selfishly hoard more than I need and give to others what their due is. Not taking too much for myself"

Niyamas - self-regulation, ethics and self-care, personal observances:

  • Sauca - Cleanliness of body, clarity of mind
    "I choose to be clean and clear in thought, word and action"

  • Santosa - Contentment
    "I am content with myself and my life. I accept myself and others"

  • Tapas - Sacrifice, willingness to be strong, stand firm and serve - making an effort
    "I am willing to make sacrifices to benefit myself and others in the long term"

  • Svadhyaya - Understanding, self-study
    "I take time out to study, contemplate and deepen my understanding, based on reflection, not impulsive behaviour"

  • Ishvarapranidhana - Accepting support from something greater
    "Is this for the higher good?"

Last week, I mentioned my aspiration to follow in my mother's footsteps to serve others and live a connected life. This week I aspire to live a life of awareness and with consideration of the ten principles as mentioned by Patanjali many years ago for peace, harmony and sustainability for all.

Until next time ...


I offer personalised 1-2-1 yoga classes, a 10-week Yoga4Health Programme commissioned by the NHS
or monthly subscription chair-based yoga classes on Zoom three times a week at 12 noon to 12:30pm
on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.


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About Anne Marie Tovey ...


Anne Marie completed an 18-month yoga teacher training through Yoga Campus in London in February 2020 to share the magical benefits of yoga with others.

She also recently completed a PTSD and Yoga4Health certifications through The Minded Institute to help people dealing with trauma and those who want to start a healthier lifestyle through yoga.

Helping business owners to create a supportive working environment that will have a positive impact on their business. The benefits, that flow from the holistic and systemic approach from yoga, will have a rippling effect on the health of all employees, their families, their communities and all stakeholders from the bottom up and equally from the top down.


07768 314962