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Our Limbs, Tree Limbs, and the Eight Limbs of Yoga

The focus for my yoga classes last week was an intersection of limbs -- our body's limbs (our arms and legs), tree limbs (we practiced some tree poses), and Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga. At the beginning of class, I gave a brief introduction to Patanjali -- considered to be the father of yoga -- and to his Yoga Sutras which identify and explain the Eight Limbs of Yoga. Just a touch of yoga philosophy, before we experienced the asanas (physical poses, the third limb) and pranayama (mindful breathing, the fourth limb) during our yoga class.

The Yoga Sutras are beautiful and gentle guidelines for how we might lead a meaningful and purposeful life. The following poem, which I read to my students during savasana, also contains some beautiful and gentle guidelines for how we might lead a meaningful and purposeful life...

Advice From a Tree

Ilan Shamir

Dear Friend, Stand Tall and Proud Sink your roots deeply into the Earth Reflect the light of a greater source Think long term Go out on a limb Remember your place among all living beings Embrace with joy the changing seasons For each yields its own abundance The Energy and Birth of Spring The Growth and Contentment of Summer The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter Feel the wind and the sun And delight in their presence Look up at the moon that shines down upon you And the mystery of the stars at night. Seek nourishment from the good things in life Simple pleasures Earth, fresh air, light Be content with your natural beauty Drink plenty of water Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes Be flexible Remember your roots Enjoy the view!


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