A major facet of Pantajali’s Yoga Sutra is an eight-limbed path that forms the structural framework for most yoga practices.
These theories and practices also form the foundation of Yogiños: Yoga for Youth®. Using the eight limbs of yoga not only teaches youth to have respect and awareness for self, others and the environment, but also encourages participants and families to weave yoga into their daily lives both on and off the yoga mat.
In brief, the eight limbs, or paths of yoga, are as follows:
- Yamas: good choices toward YOU (There are five Yamas.)
- Niyamas: good choices for ME (There are five Niyamas.)
- Asana: body postures
- Pranayama: breathing exercises and control of breath
- Pratyahara: control of the senses
- Dharana: concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
- Dhyana: devotion, meditation on the Divine
- Samadhi: union with the Divine
For simplification, we call practicing the eight limbs of yoga on and off your mat being “OHMazing!” We teach youth and families this powerful philosophical concept by defining OM as all things are interconnected, or, as stated in the first verse of the Upanishads, all is OM. We then discuss the meaning of amazing: cool, super cool, really great and so on. From here we share that when we make “super cool” and positive choices being mindful that all things—including us!—are interconnected, that is OHMazing.
During Yogiños classes we discuss that as humans we are OHMazing, along with the fact that we must consciously practice making OHMazing choices. When we make amazing choices for ourselves, others and the environment, that is OHMazing!
Kids are encouraged to cultivate their light by exclaiming, “I am OHMazing!” Youth offer friends and classmates support by cheering on one another with “you are OHMazing!” We share and practice how working together is important, high-fiving after a partner or group pose exclaiming, “somos” (“we are” in Spanish) OHMazing!
While we incorporate the eight limbs and OHMazing into every class, participants also are prompted to reflect and respond on the positive ways they help themselves, others and the Earth at home, during school, in sports, with friends and in other spaces and places. Our short film, Remy’s OHMazing Day, illustrates some of the OHMazing choices youth can make every day. This video also is available in Spanish.
Read more: Every Breath You Take.
Elizabeth “Beth” Reese, Ph.D., E-RYT, RCYT, is the founder and executive director of Yogiños: Yoga for Youth®. A yoga practitioner for over 13 years, Beth is the mother of three OHMazing yogis under the age of 13. Her oldest daughter, Jordan, is part of the inspiration for Yogiños: Yoga for Youth® as she learned to navigate challenges associated with Sensory-Integration “Disorder” through practicing all 8 Limb yoga. [email protected] and here.
Editor Tanya L. Markul
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