Freedom Rules


As a student and teacher of yoga, I commit myself to revisiting the first two limbs of Yamas and the Niyamas annually. They are made up of ethical precepts and observances intended to support us in navigating our lives. It’s amazing how contemplating these each year is like re-reading a book, offering a slightly different experience and perspective each time. For me, it’s a reminder that when we commit ourself to a practice of compassionate self-observation, we peel back the layers of patterning which hold us back from truly being free.

In my classes, we are in week 5 of a 10 week exploration of the Yamas and Niyamas. So far, we’ve looked at Ahimsa (non-violence/compassion), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (energy moderation), and Aparigraha (non-grasping).

My greatest revelation thus far is around the freedom that these ‘rules’ offer. Up until a few years ago, I viewed boundaries as being restrictive. The first born, Aries soul that I am can charge my way through life and many times I’ve felt my moral compass waver. Sometimes, it can seem easier to ‘break the rules’. For example, I can recognize when my determination trumps my compassion, white lies feel easier than disappointing another, downloading ‘free’ music seems more economical than paying for it, mis-directed time is a hard habit to break and my desire for love and acceptance clouds my ability to love myself as I am.

By turning my perspective around, I can see how how these ‘rules’ actually offer me more of what I want. Being compassionate, truthful, in integrity, mindful of my energy and remembering to look within aren’t limiting, in fact, they are gifts that bring me home to my inner most, divine Self. And it is in this dwelling place that I find an unwavering well of love that not only exists within me, but IS me.

Alice Hong

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