Learnings from the Winter Solstice Course

Dec 30, 2020 | Yoga


Focusing on Yama and Niyama

I’m so grateful to all of you who participated in the Winter Solstice Course. It was truly transformative. This practice is truly transformative. As I walked with you during our afternoon retreat I found, I heard, a clarity I didn’t know I’d been missing.

I wrote some about this in my latest blog post if you’re interested and will share a little more about the course here…

We spent time looking at our relationships (Yama) and our self (Niyama).

The 1st limb of yoga, Yama, is the roots or the foundation of the practice. The Yamas are teachings about relationships and how we relate to each other, our environment, even to different parts of ourselves. To begin our work here, we spent time considering our ideal in terms of relationships. Through meditating on some of our stories and memories that came up around relationships we found places to begin to dive deeper.

The 2nd limb of yoga, Niyama, is about the self and the actions that we take to care of ourselves. Here too, we started at the surface and then dove into deeper and more subtle aspects of self-care.

This was just the beginning. We went much deeper into both throughout the two week period. We used color, shape, movement, spoken, and written words in addition to silence and stillness to help us find our way. Always coming back to our core. The core is indivisible. It is supreme consciousness, our soul, our spirit.

In yoga, we recognize this as our spark of divinity, our inner light.

As we move through 2021, I will be sharing more about how to access and recognize that core that guides us and the path we might travel, through each of the individual limbs. I’ll also continue to share how I incorporate them into everything I do – particularly the psychotherapy work I do with my patients. Incorporating yoga therapy into counseling sessions with patients creates a well-rounded and holistic approach with a lasting capacity for growth and healing. And it’s the basis for the longer courses – like the Winter Solstice Course – that I create and offer to you.

Learn more about the Eight Limbs of Yoga – or Ashtanga –  by watching my video where I explain the Eight Limbs of Yoga. Another good resource is the book, “The Tree of Yoga” by BKS Iyengar. And stay tuned for new courses that will continue to explore the different limbs.

Margi Clifford

Margi Clifford is an outdoor enthusiast and yoga teacher with more than 20 years of experience as a holistic healthcare provider and educator. She’s based in Anchorage, Alaska, and has traveled extensively hosting international yoga retreats, providing health education, speaking at wellness conventions, and offering mindfulness consultations for healthy workplaces.

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