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  • Jessica King

Oma’s Yamas and Niyamas

Contrary to popular belief there is a lot more to yoga than the poses. The poses or Asanas are just one of the 8 limbs of yoga. The first two limbs are called the Yamas and the Niyamas and they are ethical guidelines as to how to lead a life with integrity. The Yamas are moral restraints and the Niyamas are observances. My grandma was a special lady we called her Oma because my sister was the first grandchild and she was born in Germany, the name stuck so we all called her Oma. She has always been a role model to me. This time of year always reminds me of her because of the peonies. She had this amazing peonies plant outside her door that bloomed beautiful blush flowers. Also she LOVED the warm weather. It was a time to golf and take trips and sit on her sweet porch. My Oma was someone to look up to for many reasons but one of the big ones was she was the queen of moderation. Moderation is one of the five Yamas of yoga it is called Brachmacharya. She loved cooking, baking and eating but rarely had too much. She loved bread, pasta and dessert but always managed to have “just a little bit.” As I stuffed myself as a pre teen with her ravioli and her amazing desserts I always noticed how she just was able to enjoy just a little at a time. She always looked her best. My Oma was a very put together lady. She always had her hair done, her earrings on, her lipstick just right. It was about a feeling, a confidence that she had. I think it was a part of her zest for life. It was her Tapas, her self - discipline, her fire. That clean sink of hers. Every night my Oma scoured her sink. She never left her dirty dishes over night. One day I asked her about this clean sink theory. She said it’s where you wash your food and it just feels good to wake up with a clean slate. It always made a lot of sense even though I don’t always do it. I never saw my Oma’s house dirty. Saucha is the Niyama of cleanliness and purity. She was really good at Saucha. She would say brush your teeth at night and first thing in the morning. Why? Because bacteria forms as you sleep and you don’t want to swoosh it to your belly with your morning coffee. Ishvarapranidhana devotion to a higher power. She loved church and went almost every week of her life. Go to church, spend time with your friends and your family and for god sakes say it like it is, you don’t need to sugar coat things all the time, sometimes people just need to hear it as it is. My Oma passed away a day after she played 18 holes of golf and on her way to spend a day with friends. She had just got her hair done, was dressed to the nines and her bags were packed for her next vacation. I hope to go out the same. These are just a few examples of the Yamas and the Niyamas. If you’d like to learn more about them or the other limbs of yoga please comment below or send me a private message. Yoga is an amazing study that can and will change your life. With Love, Jessica



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