Asana is the physical practice of Yoga. But, it’s so much more than that; it’s a lifestyle founded on an aeon of wisdom. It’s based on Yamas; the ethical essentials that inhibit your personal growth. And on Niyamas too; the habits, actions and ceremony that aid your development. Weaving the 10 principles into your life means putting these truths into your thoughts, words and actions with intent to connect to a collective consciousness. If you’re starting on your yoga journey, you may be confronted by the enormity of the practice. We built Dharma Bums on the philosophies of Yoga; a brand to hold and promote these 10 principles that can shape your yoga-literacy across all aspects of life:
This principle urges you not to harm other beings; be peaceful, kind and compassionate. It also asks that you don’t impede the self-development of others and yourself with negative talk, judgement or shaming. Fear of the unknown, difference or danger can cause violence, and this ‘dis-ease’ brings toxic energy. Put it into practice by acknowledging what you’re proud of, venturing outside your comfort zone and taking ‘me-time.’
This principle asks you to live your truth; be honest with yourself and others. Admit that what serves you will shift and change, so stay curious and open. When you honour your core values, you speak from the heart, fail with flair and remain vulnerable. This will make you uncomfortable, but it will soon become the new norm. Put it into practice by defining your core values, recognising harmful habits and noticing emotions that stunt you.
This principle invites you not to steal or cheat; don't take what’s not yours. Not just ‘things,’ it’s also about robbing you of self-worth, nutrition or being in the moment. And conversely, stealing others’ ideas and accomplishments. Stop and celebrate your milestones and achievements, and don’t steal the possibility of beauty and real depth in your life. Put it into practice by building your energy reserves and giving without expectation.
This principle reminds you of the importance of balance. We can’t all live like deities, besides, no one wants to analyse every move. Instead, recognise when enough is enough; identify when you’ve had ample food or sleep. As the adage suggests – everything in moderation – including moderation! When you know your boundaries, you’re equipped for life’s extremes, so stay open to pushing your limits. Put it into practice by listening to your body.
This principle teaches you to live a modest outward life and a rich inward one. We all buy into ideas and people and are disappointed by unmet expectations. Instead of attaching to things and unsupportive relationships, try intimacy without possession. If your dreams confine you, let them go; you can only control your thoughts and actions, so don’t be bound by shoulds. Put it into practice by letting go of your attachment to something.
This principle encourages you to purify; declutter and let go of real or mental mess that removes you from the moment. Because sacrifice is an art, it takes work; let go of wounds and expectations, clean your space and simplify your schedule and diet. When your mind, body and surrounds are uncluttered, there’s room for more. Put it into practice by trying meditation and organising one space each week.
This principle asks you to surrender your happiness to what’s inside, rather than to the expectations and actions of others. Instead of focusing on what you lack, be grateful and open to what the moment offers; negativity feeds on shame and disappointment. Resisting brings unrest – feel whatever you feel, and accept it won’t always be enjoyable. Put it into practice by keeping a gratitude journal and adopting an acceptance mantra.
Having sure goals helps you shape discipline. When you accept what makes you uncomfortable, and keeps you immovable, you can choose to allow it to open you, instead of shutting you down. Uncertainty is inevitable, so make peace with the curve-balls that will come your way. Growth happens when you’re able to stay with what vexes you. Put it into practice by doing something you’ve been avoiding out of fear.
This principle invites you to evolve by unpacking the boxes that define you: tall, funny, creative. When your identity is dictated by culture, trauma, friendship, loss and religion, you’re being told how to live and what to fear. Get curious about your beliefs and find out where you’re hindering yourself. Put it into practice by observing your thoughts and asking your nearest and dearest what makes them proud of you and what they wish for you.
This principle reminds you that surrender isn’t passive; it’s about participating in the moment, finding the lessons and expanding. Instead of focusing behind or in front, trust the universe is unfolding as it should. Surrender won’t keep you safe from painful emotions, but with less energy squandered on worry, you’re freer to feel unease and grow from it. Put it into practice by trying a short meditation with the only objective being to breathe.