Teaching of the Month.

by Maureen Rae, RN, E-RYT

In our July and August Newsletters we wrote about what the Tradition of Yoga has to say about ways to overcome the obstacles to Yoga. Let’s keep keep in mind that the word Yoga does not refer merely to the physical poses of Yoga, but rather to the liberty – the freedom – that comes from practicing ALL the 8 steps of Yoga – ethical and moral restraints, postures, breath, and one-pointedness meditation.)

To review, the obstacles were listed as:

  • Illness
  • Languor (mental dullness)
  • Doubt (negativity, skepticism)
  • Heedlessness (lack of foresight)
  • Sloth (laziness - fatigue)
  • Dissipation (overindulgence)
  • False views (living under illusion - inability to face reality)
  • Lack of perseverance (giving up or not finishing what we’ve begun)
  • Instability or regression

The tradition shows us ways in which we can overcome these obstacles.

These are listed as:

  • Uppeka - Equanimity
  • Mudita – Gladness
  • Maitri - Friendliness
  • Daya - Compassion

To date, we have written about Uppeka and about Mudita. (See past newsletters.) This month we shall muse on Daya (or Daia) which means Compassion.

Daya is a fundamental teaching in Yoga. It is the opposite of Himsa – violence. It is deeper than having sympathy for others, or to have pity on. And it is more positive in sentiment. So rather than feeling like we are so very sorry for the other person, and having pity for them, and making ourselves sad, too, we can choose to take the suffering onto ourselves in the belief that by doing so this will not only alleviate others’ unhappiness, but will help us to feel more friendliness, equanimity and gladness. So, Daya has many positive qualities to it as well. Helping others to lighten their emotional and spiritual load can only mean that we will allow all of our hearts to shine more brightly!

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
The Dalai Lam