Most people think that yoga is a set of fancy moves that typically "posers" like to practice, and in some cases, it is. True yogis, however, know that there is more to be done off the mat in yoga than on it. Yoga is a lifestyle, an attempt to bring union into our mind, body and soul but also union with all that is. It is a commitment to go through a personal journey of self discovery and hopefully self realization.
There are eight limbs to yoga, one of which is Niyama (in Sanskrit) or devotion (erm, in English). The beautiful thing I find about Niyamas is whilst they provide a general guideline most teachers will ask you to contemplate on what those Niyamas mean to you personally in your own unique experience on your spiritual path.
To me Niyamas are a beautiful act of faith, it is not tied to an end result, it is unconditional dedication. I realized this while reading the Aleph by Paulo Coelho (yes, it really is something) and in his second chapter he explains that chinese bamboo grows in a very unique way. A tiny shoot grows shortly after a seed is sown and remains the same size for five years. During that time, this tiny shoot grows a complex root system that goes deep into the earth to support the shoot later in life. Suddenly, almost magically, five years later, it shoots up 25 meters at once! What would happen if we started treating our objects of devotion like a bamboo shoot? What if we water it with faith, sing to it, treat it with love, even on the days it looks like pathetic tiny few leaves? What if we trusted that once we have paid all our dues on the effort scale our bamboo sticks will outgrow us twenty times over?
What does that have to do with the fancy pose in the picture? I'm getting there… This pose is called Hanuman, it is dedicated to the monkey God Hanuman, King Rama's greatest devotee. Rama's wife, Sita, was abducted by the demon king of Sri Lanka, Ravana. Hanuman demonstrated his devotion and love for Rama by taking a giant leap from India to Sri Lanka to save Sita. The simple lesson is: "Power comes from Devotion". This pose, to me, beautifully shows the manifestation of devotion as you gently go beyond what you thought humanly possible of your body, when you accept pain as it arises and offer your efforts as each breath arises and unfolds.
Weam is the founder of Namaste. She had started a very deep and intense spiritual journey at a young age having refused to continue to suffer with the common challenges of her generation: depression, anxiety and being lost. She insisted that there must be more to life than the constant rat race she was in