The 8 Limbs of Yoga
In the book The Good Hustle, author Dr Polly McGee aligns the of 8 Limbs of Yoga with running a heart-centre start-up/business practice.
It's totally genius, because it addresses the major mental anxieties we face in the process of setting up and maintaining our own soul-based business and the 8 Limbs provide a tried and tested framework for cultivating mental equanimity.
Don't let the term 'hustle' fool you — the ideas in this book are not at all work, work, work, hustle, hustle.
It's more about surrender + release.
The practice of 'yoga' goes way beyond the idea of postures (or Asana - which is but one branch of the 8 limbs).
Yoga is a way of being — a practice, both on and off the mat.
The idea of Dharma
(Dharma = what is right for you, an expression of your true self, a path only you can take, feeling right in your own skin with your actions and choices).
It's a very specific and nuanced way of being which brings you contentment and peace. It's something of a collection of details which when synthesised and expressed by your being, aligns you with your true expression of work/service.
The question is what can I offer? What are my natural talents that can benefit others? What makes me feel - not just excited and passionate, but content and like effort exerted is returned through the act of providing service.
The thing about your Dharma is that everyone has a specific arrangement of details curated just for them. You don't need to push hard to try and find it. It's in the non-pushing, the not seeking that it begins to show itself to you.
And by practicing the limbs of yoga - ie. speaking your truth (Satya) and being non-attached to the when or how (Apariga), taking time to pause looking out into the world for answers, and instead going within (Pratyaraha) that these details begin to emerge.
Impermanence + Interdependence
One of the many things I love about the ideas in this book is the practicality. Through the book Dr Polly McGee pulls from some awesome start up protocols to provide methods to narrow in on the core reasoning for your business so that you can be clear and solid in the roots of it, so everything else expands out organically and fruitfully from there.
See, without spending the time to get really clear about what you offer and what you believe, the message can't hit direct like it could. The impact is scattered by fluctuations of mood, energy and motivation.
Yes, it will take a bit of time to allow the truth of your Dharma to emerge - but isn't that better than spinning your wheels down a road that is leading to a direction that really won't be fulfilling?
Address the core issue, then move.
The idea of impermanence floats around this — in the respect of being so solid in your roots that you know what you will move for, but flexible enough in your approach that you're not repeating the same pattern again and again and not noticing growth/receiving the message.
If something hasn't been working but you're not getting the results, the small tweaks of adjusting your perspective on your approach by considering the 8 Limbs of yoga can be the internal shifts required to see outer change.
But, doing something to get something is ill advised in this process. Herein is the non-attachment detail (apariga).
Everything is impermanent.
And also, you're part of a cosmic web.
You're here to interact with others. What you do, what you express, your influence affects people even if you don't receive (or notice) direct feedback. You're part of the organism of the Earth. The 8 Limbs teach us through our own direct experience of life, that we both affect others and can be affected by others. The importance of clearing and focusing your energy and aligning with your dharma ensures that yours is in alignment and your influence is positive and conducive to growth.
Everyone has the ability to tend to and adjust their energy.
It does take slowing down though. And listening. To ourselves first and foremost.
And when we act in a way which is in accordance with our dharma, we experience less suffering, more living.
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