Each of the article excerpts within this series will give you a sneak peek into the wonderful work created by Yogi and author, Melissa Lavery, whose complete book, The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom is available at select distributors throughout the US as well as Amazon’s online bookstore.
All content excerpts are provided with permission by the publisher.
The book itself is organized into 3 parts and further divided into each of the 15 categories below:
The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Relationships
- Shanti: How to Maintain Personal Peace and Power in Relationships
- Yama: How to Eliminate Suffering and Cultivate a Better Relationship with the World
- Niyama: How to Cultivate a Better Relationship with Yourself and Commit to Personal Self-Care
- Pratipaksa Bhavana: How to Navigate Conflicting World-views and Build Relationships with Anyone
- Samadhi: How the Inner Journey Toward Self Will Bring You Closer to the Divine Consciousness
The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Health
- Asana: The Health Benefits of a Physical Practice (On and Off the Mat)
- Pranayama: How to Maintain Health Through Breath Awareness
- Samyama: How to Travel the Meditative Path to Health and Wellness
- Nidra: How to Improve Your Sleep Quality to Enhance Health and Wellness
- Sauca: How Cleanliness Paves the Path to Holistic Health
The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Abundance
- Klesa: How to Eliminate Ego’s Control and Cultivate an Identity that Attracts Abundance
- Satya: How Authenticity Leads to Attracting Abundance
- Astreya: How to Practice Non-Stealing to Attract Wealth and Abundance
- Aparigraha: How the Practice of Non-Hoarding Can Benefit Your Wallet and Illumniate Your Path
- Sadhana: How Consistent Practice Creates a Strong Foundation for an Abundant Life
Samyama: How to Travel the Meditative Path to Health and Wellness
The health benefits of meditation are well known. Breathwork, mindfulness, and relaxation are all techniques used to destress, focus, and gain introspection. But meditation, according to the practice of yoga, is an essential step down the eight-limbed path.
The practice of meditation is a turning inward, a series of disciplined actions to realize a bounty of benefits. Consistent mediation has shown promising results, alleviating symptoms that plague the body and mind:
- Anxiety, fear, and stress
- Depression and low mood
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and other forms of incessant overthinking
- Attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorders (ADD/ADHD) and issues with focus
- Addictions and desires
- Dementia, memory loss, and aging
- Anger, resentment, and other difficulties with emotional regulation
- Problems with blood pressure, blood-sugar regulation/diabetes, and other organ system function
- Headaches and muscle tension
- Sleep issues and disorders
The list of symptoms and illness that meditation addresses is immeasurable. However, meditation doesn’t just put the body, mind, and spirit back into alignment, it supports overall quality of life by enhancing mental clarity, physical performance, and spiritual enlightenment:
- Focus and attention to detail
- Creativity and inspiration
- Immune system optimization
- Vagus nerve function
- Gratitude, joy, and a sense of wellbeing
- Self-reflection and introspection
- Relationship with the Self and Divine Consciousness (God/Spirit)
- Hormonal balance
- Kindness, empathy, and connection
A consistent meditation practice can be life changing, but only one meditation session can prove beneficial. Most importantly, approaching meditation in a disciplined manner, will also lead to inner awareness. With dhāraṇā (concentration of the mind), dhyāna (continuous focus), and ultimately Samādhi (absolute attention), the last three limbs of the eight-limbed path of Aṣṭāṅga Yoga will lead to inner development and a heightened level of enlightenment.
What is Saṁyama and How Does It Lead to Inner Awareness?
To understand saṁyama, one must first know about the eight-limbed path of Aṣṭāṅga Yoga. As discussed in earlier chapters, the first four limbs consist of Yama (ahiṁsā, satya, asteya, brahmacharya, and aparigrahā), Niyama (śauca, saṁtoṣa, tapas, svādhyāya, and Īśvara-praṇidhānā), Āsana, and Prāṇāyāma. These are the principles and exercises to refine outer behaviors and personal practices. Beyond these are the practices that focus on inner development. These consist of pratyāhāra (tuning out sensory input), which is really the bridge between inner and outer control, then dhāraṇā, dhyāna, and Samādhi. While saṁyama translates to “focusing inward”, it is comprised of the last three limbs:
Meditation is the practice and execution of the last four limbs, culminating in “focusing inward”.
Pratyāhāra (Sensory Withdrawal)
The last sūtra of the second book mentions the practice of pratyāhāra. The reason it is the last in book two is because its practice is considered to be the last of the outer limbs however, its implementation leads to the inner journey. This action includes the external organs, which perceive stimuli. These are the ears, eyes, skin, tongue, and nose (at least). During meditation, the practitioner slowly begins to gain control of external input. This mastery becomes possible through prāṇāyāma, or breath control.
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… to continue reading from this chapter of The Yogic Lifestyle: A Foundation for Freedom please visit and order from the book’s page on Amazon.com. Again, we hope you found this valuable and wish you health and happiness along your journey. Namaste.