The yamas and niyamas of ceramics.
When I started deepening my yoga practice, I discovered the yamas and niyamas--two limbs of yoga's 8-limbed path. These guidelines for living a yogic lifestyle were likely written way back around 200 CE, and are found in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. One way to think of the yamas and niyamas is as something akin to the 10 commandments. And just like the 10 commandments, the yamas and the niyamas can be highly relevant today in many parts of our lives.
At one point a few years ago, I spent a chunk of time thinking about and eventually mind mapping the yamas and niyamas--finding deep connections to my own life, not to mention connections between the concepts themselves, individually and collectively. The image above shows what exploration of the yamas looked like for me, circa 2014.
What do the yamas and the niyamas have to do with clay, you ask? Well, why don't we take a look together? I often talk about how my journey into yoga affects my pottery practice. One informs and enriches the other. So I'm ready to get back to the yamas and the niyamas here via the Mud Lily blog--to spend time thinking about (and sharing with you) specifically how I apply these yoga concepts to the work of creating with clay.
I haven't yet sat down and put pencil to paper about ways to apply the yamas and niyamas to clay. So far, these have been thoughts that, as they move through my mind, seem deeply true. And while some connections will be easy to make, others will take more time and personal interpretation.
For discipline's sake, I think I'll tackle them one at a time, in order--something like this:
YAMAS (I always think of these as the "thou shalt nots")
- Ahimsa: Non Violence
- Satya: Truth
- Asteya: Non-Stealing (should be interesting applying this one to clay, huh?)
- Brahmacharya: Moderation
- Aparigraha: Non-Hoarding
NIYAMAS (The "thou shalts")
- Saucha: Cleanliness
- Santosha: Contentment (one of the easy ones!)
- Tapas: Self Discipline
- Svadhyaya: Self Study
- Isvara-Pranidhana: Devotion
As I work my way through the list below, I really hope some of you, be you potters, yogis, all or none of the above, will chime in on my thoughts and share your own. More to come!