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  • Denby Sheather

Yamas in the time of Covid



Given the current climate — particularly within the yoga world — I thought it was a good time to share an "esoteric-and-Age-appropriate" (as in the Age of Aquarius) version of the five sacred yogic Yamas.


As yogis, we are called not only to the mat when the time is right for us, but we are also invited to step up to the plate of purpose when we sign up for the gig. When we diligently practice these precepts , daily,  we actually become part of a greater group that helps manifest a vibration so potent that it has the potential to shift consciousness and the real life experiences of all our brothers and sisters, pretty much instantly.


So here you go, take or leave my interpretations, but know that whomever these precepts come through, at whatever time in your life, the invitation doesn’t change and that is to lead by example and always with LOVE.


1 Ahimsa: non-violence — physical, emotional, mental or spiritual — towards self or others.


Remember the pledge you made when you began your yoga teaching journey, to “do no harm” to another living being? That means as a yogi, you must (in good conscience), be pro life  and pro choice,  because how can someone say they support and respect all life and yet think it’s okay to make an exception when it comes to individual rights? If you are a yoga therapist, there is an even greater responsibility to educate yourself about all things in this world that may have detrimental effects on human health (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) and to also develop your understanding of how all those subtle energies that flow through and influence every one of our systems, actually work. That way you can identify when someone is out of balance (on any level) and rectify the situation using intuitive and natural remedies.


This is how our species has always approached illness - as an energetic, spiritual imbalance - and it is the way of the true yogi. Yoga has its roots in shamanism after all, it is the "child" of indigenous therapy if you will, and as such, is loyal to the principles of seasonal cycles, self mastery and psycho-spirituality.


Shamans may be called "gurus" now and prefer saris to skins, but the Tree of Life and the Universal Laws remain the same.


If you are a vegetarian or vegan yogi, you should also be aware now of the plethora of poisons that vaccines are actually made from and that they contain traces of (aborted) fetal cells (read: cancerous) alongside various animal by-products and numerous (proven to be harmful) chemicals; carcinogens that do not in any shape or form, align with this Yama, let alone life force.


Now, violence takes many forms as I am sure you are aware, so this includes how we speak to (and about) one another, as well as the quality of our inner dialogue. For example, if your language is derogatory in any way and you feel the need to belittle others for being “new age hippies” or "woo" because they have different opinions and beliefs to yourself (re the mainstream narrative), then guess what, that is also a violation of Ahimsa. In addition, if you are intentionally ridiculing their choices and healing skills in public, this is a deliberate attempt to incite division within an already confused and distressed community. You are not walking your talk if you aren’t living in alignment with Ahimsa from this perspective as well, so if this is you, you’re basically creating, condoning or heightening the levels of violence that already exist in the world.


There are some yogis who believe sharing your truth is dangerous and only doing harm - on social media in particular - but I would dare to say it's the exact opposite. I don't see how speaking truth from a place of love, educated awareness and with the purest intentions to enlighten one's community of impending perils or sharing knowledge that can help them evolve, means you are "in breach" of Ahimsa, especially when we are living in the energy and the era of "the truth shall set you free".


2 Satya: truthfulness with oneself and when connecting with others.


History (sadly) has shown the majority of our species to be rather lax in the truth department however so now after the hell that was 2020 and as it continues to break loose in 2021 (quite literally), we all really need to be more disciplined with ourselves and fine tune our inner bullsh*t radars to discover where we still need to do some heavy personal work. Because let’s face it, the undeniable truth is, we always have more shadow work to do and most of us will try and deny and avoid it till the very last minute.


Everyone's personal truth is different, we know that, and we also know that sharing your truth with others always begins with being able to speak your truth to yourself first. That means looking into your soul and viewing all your unique foibles with honesty, courage and compassion. Then you can discern what beliefs and behaviors work and which ones don’t and continue the work by “loving them to death” as I always say, until they transform to light. This is how you turn your wounds into your medicine. When you do this work, you are then able to speak your truth  with love  and not take what others do or say (or don’t do or say), personally, because everyone has their own set of filters and opinions after all, as it should be.


Everyone is ultimately responsible for themselves. You are also able to allow others to speak their truth without getting triggered in some way when you are at peace with yourself. This is the cathartic path of what is known as "the wounded healer" which is a residual (yet still very raw for many) vibration that we all carry to some degree and until it is fully cleared, it will hold us all back from evolving. Don't ever be swayed by those who say your content must first be fact-checked and officially validated by "the correct science" before it is appropriate to share either, because your gut instinct is never wrong. Also because most of those "trusted" sources are corrupt. Trust yourself. It's called standing in one's personal convictions and showing up with integrity.


When you realize that part of the yoga job description requires that you heal yourself first (in order to earn the privilege of guiding others in how to do the same), you start rising above the inherited collective wounds that state we must sacrifice our needs and live out our lives in servitude. You start seeing what’s been in plain sight all along and that is the invitation to be REAL. When you embrace and express your truth, you can start moving towards living your best life in service, free from karmic obligations and debts and deeply connected to Source. Dharma replaces Dogma.


3 Asteya: non-stealing. Don’t take anything that doesn’t belong to you, including taking someone’s power away.


Apparently an interpretation of this yama includes when we share our theories or perspectives (that don't comply with the status quo), we are not only damaging people's psyches, we are stealing people's peace of mind as well. What rubbish. I give people a bit more credit than to think my humble opinions are so impactful that they're going to throw another for a six. I assume most conscious adults have the wherewithal to discern what to take on, who to believe and what information to scroll past and ignore. Power can only be "taken" when you agree to hand it over. This is how soul contracts manifest: two people always need to be in accordance in some form before something can be removed, replaced or renounced.


In this current climate where so many people are confused, living (or rather, not living) in fear and suffering from cognitive dissonance, this third Yama invites us to practice patience, compassion and tolerance with every breath and to respect the choices that other people make in regards to how they choose to live their lives, speak out and where they place their energies. Regardless of how much we may want to smack them in the asana to wake them up, it’s actually none of our business what they do or what they think or how they interpret the world we all share.


When we allow people to be themselves and focus on our own journey, we raise the vibration for all because the hard truth is that we are not responsible for how anyone reacts to anything we do or say; that is on them. To do this, of course we must strive to avoid any temptation to dis-arm or dis-empower them by manipulating or bullying them into submission just so we can keep feeling safe and comfortable; popular even. Pandemic or not, none of us has the right to erode anyone else’s right to live their life and express themselves as they determine and it’s certainly not our place to judge (or jail) another just because we think they are doing something wrong or slightly whackier than we would choose. Equanimity and integrity are key here.


When we listen to our ego, we act from fear and that manifests as greed, jealousy and distrust of our fellow man. When we listen to our soul, we act with love and compassion and we see only the similarities; not the differences. In those lucid moments when we recognize just how deeply and intimately connected we all truly are, any desire to take anything from one another dissolves away because we understand that would just be "stealing" from ourselves and not even a narcissist would do that, surely?


4 Brahmacharya: chastity, not just in terms of celibacy but, rather, the appropriate use of sexual and cosmic energy.


Over time, humanity has done a bang up job of polluting and diluting the sacred sexual essences of both Shakti (Feminine) and Shiva (Masculine) and literally turning sex into a power struggle,  a “battle of the sexes” . Now that we are seeing a deliberate push to hijack things such as the LGBT movement and take pedophilia mainstream for example, as well as realizing how widespread child trafficking/pornography and abuse actually are, I believe it is our duty as yogis to step up and call it out. This yama invites us to act in a way that is consistent with God or universal consciousness yes, so, to honor this, shouldn't we be striving to move out of the dense energies of the lower chakras and drawing attention to how others can do the same so that they too, can align with God? I don't see how investigating the base aspects of our human condition in order to transform them, can ever be an inappropriate use of time or energy, as long as we don't wallow in them for longer than is needed.


How can the pursuit of truth and divine justice, ever be viewed as an offense to the Creator?


We must also endeavor to heal and harmonize these disembodied energies within ourselves because we are all carrying residual trauma in this regard, from this life and often others, and that all contributes to the collective wounding everyone else experiences. And it certainly contributes to the horror story that is the human trafficking program that has been embedded in our culture for eons. We all have an equal burden to clear this now and restore blessed balance between the Mother and Father frequencies so that all sentient beings may be free of it. If we don't shine light into the dark spaces to initiate and encourage expression and then healing, surely that is a form of repression, both sexual and energetic?


5 Aparigraha: non-hoarding, non-grasping. Avoid over-consumption, gluttony and greed.


Our collective fixation with material possessions, techno gadgets and warp speed wifi, has led us to the point where we are no longer consumers; we are the consumed.


We must rise above our attachments to external pleasures and demonstrate to those who remain addicted to superficial and shiny things, that they can no longer be sustained, or we will all very soon find ourselves living out an AI reality that we once watched on TV and wondering how the heck we got there. We must remind people that worshiping the cash-cult always ends in tears and that those who do, must learn to find happiness inside themselves and through the art of giving  through sharing, instead of hanging out in some rich boy’s club and counting coins till they lose their conscience.


Do you really think everything from trendy technologies, micro-chipping and fake farmed foods to the abhorrent practices of trophy hunting, whale slaughter and child slave labor, align in any way with the “new earth” paradigm we are moving towards?

No, they don’t, so we must strive to detach fully from these things now and encourage others to do the same. Such evil can not and will not exist in the fifth dimensional reality and there's certainly no room for it on your sticky mat.


Everyone in the collective that is humanity is also being called to clear their own expressions of poverty consciousness so we can all experience true abundance and wealth of spirit once again. When we hoard anything,  be it money, food or vintage cars, even our beloved yoga merchandise,  we become enslaved to it, forgetting who we are and eventually not caring who anyone else is either. "More" is no longer a noun; it becomes a mantra. Our generational greed has blinded us to our humanity and its high time this shifted.


This final Yama also reminds us of the truth that there is more than enough to go around, inviting us to let go of the things we can't control, to find the courage to conquer our fears and to embody our sovereign self. If we can do these things, we will never go without. Yes, if we can master and temper our thoughts we can eventually set ourselves free from the program of mind-control that as humans we all share, but that doesn't automatically mean that because we have particular viewpoints or perspectives or are using our mind constructively, that we are creating anxiety cycles for ourselves. Delusion comes when one fixates on something to the exclusion of all else, as a way to refuse reality, but exploring theories or suggesting alternative hypotheses, is not an indicator of one's inability to surrender. It is a marker of higher intelligence.


I would suggest a balanced yet persistent approach to finding the truth, reflects a dedication to connect and process one's shadow alongside one's light.


As humans, we actually only need three basic things to survive — food, shelter and love — but of course, we cannot reach this understanding until we have experienced our unique stories and learned whatever lessons we signed up for. Eventually we all end up at the same spot, it’s just a matter of timing. Right now, we are all exactly where we need to be.


In summary, I do not believe by sharing your concerns, revealing your vulnerabilities or taking a heart-felt risk to express where you are at in your journey, in any way, spreads insecurity or fear among your peers or communities, nor does it reflect any lack or flaw in your yogic abilities because you see (and talk about) things that others don't. I deeply admire anyone who is brave enough to stand in the fire and admit they don't have all the answers. I also aspire to be like those who are willing to think outside of the box and speak about the things in the closet that so many others avoid and deny even exist. If we only share positive, upbeat, elevating stories, we are only showing one side of the process, but more importantly, we are skating very close to spiritual bypass and risking doing ourselves and our species a great disservice.


I hope that gave you some useful insights and food for thought as we navigate some seriously perilous times on planet earth this year. Yama up people and remember, it’s our intentions and where we place our attention that makes all the difference in the world, so don’t ever be scared to DO YOU and let others see you in your full humanness, because when you do that, you give others permission to do the same.


And that, dear ones, IS YOGA.