Satsang: (sanskrit) being with good/righteous companions. This typically involves listening to or reading scriptures, reflecting on, discussing and assimilating their meaning, meditating on the source of these words, and bringing their meaning into one’s daily life.*
Starting in February, we will be creating Satsang once a month at the studio. The source for our discussion will be the Yoga Sutras, which have been described as one of the foundations of classical Yoga philosophy. Specifically, we will read and discuss The Yamas and the Niyamas by Deborah Adele.
Last year, one of our SPY students gave me this lovely little book and I was quite taken by it. I have been studying the yoga sutras since 2005, and they can often be arduous and seem very esoteric. This translation and treatment of the ethical principals and guidelines set forth in the sutras is neither…AND I’d love to spend some time in our community discussing the ideas and principles this wonderful author presents.
On Wednesday, February 21st we will kick off a year long inquiry into how to live a good life, by working our way through the Yamas and Niyamas, one at a time. Each month, one of our SPY teachers will lead the discussion and help us reflect on, discuss and assimilate their meaning into our 21st century lives. These gatherings are intended to be a dialog and an inquiry into how we can align ourselves with these principles and bring them into our thoughts and actions.
If you are new to the Yamas and Niyamas, here is a primer. I think of them as a set of guidelines that teach us how to be in community with others and in alignment with our own spiritual compass.
The 5 Yamas include:
- Ahimsa - non-violence
- Satya - truthfulness
- Brahmacharya - moderation in all things
- Asteya - non-stealing
- Aparigraha - non-covetousness
The 5 Niyamas include:
- Saucha - purity i.e. internal and external cleanliness
- Santosha - contentment
- Tapas - austerity; discipline
- Swadhyaya - study of the sacred texts
- Ishwara Pranidhana - constantly living with an awareness of the divine Presence
These ideas are universal and very similar to many spiritual teachings and guidelines. And yet, it is not always easy to navigate and adhere to these principles in a balanced way. For example, Ahimsa, (non-violence) seems like a commonsense approach and many of us consider ourselves to uphold this value in our daily lives. If we look at our words, though, and not just our actions, we might find that we gossip and malign others in private conversation, which is not in alignment with a broader view of Ahimsa.
Bringing this kind of awareness to our way of being may not eliminate all of our shortcomings, (we are human after all!) but it will bring the light awareness to our words and actions and start us on a common path to being in community, together, and making each other good.
I hope you will join us as we embark on creating Satsang together. To read more and preregister for these monthly gatherings click here.
* definition sourced from wikipedia