There’s more to yoga than what we do on a rubber mat in a class and on Instagram. While the stretching, balancing and occasionally falling (ok, maybe a lot of falling) are beneficial ways to develop a healthier, more vibrant sense of being, the asana postures are just one limb on the big tree of Yoga. There are eight limbs on that tree, each with branches. If you’re like me, and a huge percentage of Americans who found yoga, you came into it for the physical benefits. Then I slowly began to find the impacts of its meditative qualities and chose to devote myself to learning more through yoga teacher training (YTT).
In YTT, we learned of the eight-limbed Yoga Sutras, sort of the guide for living in order to find enlightenment. While this Baptist-raised / cyclist / climber / YoGoGirl was a little resistant to the Sanskrit dogma type stuff, some of it did sink in. In fact, it’s why I’m writing this article today. One of the eight limbs – Yamas (moral disciplines) – gives us some ethics for finding a more aware state of being. I found it interesting that there are five Yamas, and five Niyamas (observances) for 10 total, same number as those commandments I was made to memorize in my formative years. But I digress. I want to talk about one of the Yamas today – that of Asteya – or not stealing. (Sounds familiar, eh King James’ readers?)
Asteya is the fourth Yama, but by ‘non-stealing’ Pantajali meant so much more than not physically taking something from someone else. The practice of asteya asks us to look at where we hoard or have greed and reminds us of the nonmaterial richness of our lives. For me, it means a lot of things, but today I am focusing on the giving back aspect. Not hoarding material things. Finding ways to give back. Sharing with others.
Well, recently I met a lady on Instagram who makes yoga pants. (I know, surprise surprise…) But this one resonated with me in that she chooses to give back consistently with her brand. Her hashtag #wearyourvalues spoke to me. Dana Yaniro of Root to Rise Official designs eco-conscious leggings with her original art in her small, family-run business in northern California. Each season, Dana chooses a charity and donates the proceeds from a print or collection to them. She’s the daughter of a legendary climber – Tony Yaniro – so she’s donated to Access Fund one season. Root to Rise has also contributed to the firestorm relief in her northern California area, and others.
Today, Root to Rise Official is supporting a charity that’s dear to me with their leggings. All of them. All you have to do is insert the code: YOGOGIRLS at checkout and not only do you save 10%, but an additional 15% of your purchase will go toward supporting DASA’s (Disabled Athletes Sports Association) Rock Climbing Sessions here in St. Louis now through their February 10 event. The St. Louis chapter of Adaptive Climbers was founded by my dear friend, Jasmine Raskas, and it gives all people the chance to experience the thrill of climbing. They are always in need of help, so if you would like to offer your assistance and/or your don’t need some new sexy (high waisted!) leggings, please contact Meghan at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If we are to really benefit from a Yoga practice, it has to expand beyond the mat and into life. When this happens, it’s not just our bodies that get stretched, expanded and strengthened, but our minds and hearts as well. Please consider contributing to others who may not have all the advantages you do, through your purchases, your choices and your life. It will move you ever closer toward wholeness, connectedness and unity. Let’s not just ‘do’ yoga, but live it.
Debby highly values community, creativity, and adventure, and the healing power that only wild places can provide. Maybe you’ll get to discover her guiding yoga at Four Seasons and Yoga Six in St. Louis, at Wanderlust or at her own midwest Music + Yoga Festival Manifest Station this year?!