Niyama: Commitment to Oneself
In the October newsletter we considered commitment as a philosophical concept according to Patanjali's 'Yoga Sutra'. Life is all about commitment and surrender. 'Commitment to the cause and surrender to the result.'
In a practical sense, our commitments make us who we truly are. Do we value our own word? Often we will do all we can to follow through on what we have promised others, but just as often we drop the commitment to ourselves. How can we do our best for others if we don't practice it on ourselves first? How can we feed the hungry when we ourselves are starved?
Start by being your best self! In the study of yoga one learns that it starts with Niyama in Ashtanga (or the Eight Limbs of Yoga) which is the second step in physical, mental and spiritual growth. Niyama (the commitment to daily observances relating to oneself) consists of keeping oneself morally pure in body, mind and spirit (shaucha); being content (santosha); persistently practicing self-discipline (Tapas); self-study/self reflection (Svadhyaya); and focus on the Ultimate Reality or spiritual transformation (Ishwarapranidhana).
Commitment is a conscious decision made by us to/for ourselves. It is made with full awareness of the goal in mind - to be better, and to ultimately be the best we can be in this lifetime. It is a commitment to connect with our better Self, and connect to the world around us in loving and giving ways. It is not at all about how we look or how we present ourselves to the world. Nevertheless, self-care is very much a commitment to ourselves.
Hold your head up high, friend, and breathe deep. Make heads turn in wonder at the majesty of your Being.