Yamas and Niyamas & Kurma

During a yoga class we practice harmonizing the elements of our human microcosms (our arms, legs, our organs, nervous system, etc.) according to a series of guidelines. Kurma wants to apply the same principles we observe during our practice to our beloved planet, our macrocosm. As a brand, it’s our role to learn, in depth, about the current state of the environment so we can assume our responsibility in preserving its very existence.

Among these fundamental principles we find ten ethical guidelines called the Yamas and Niyamas. During an ideal yoga practice we translate and express the Yamas and Niyamas in exercise. As a brand, Kurma upholds the same principles at the heart of its activities.

Loosely translated the Yamas amount to causing no harm, being honest, not taking what is not yours, not wasting your energy mindlessly and not coveting unnecessary possessions. The Niyamas consist of cleanliness (in the sense of not polluting, which is very relevant today), contentment, perseverance, study and reflexion, and surrender to the entity beyond our human limitations. It is interesting to note that the Yamas and Niyamas are interconnected. If we violate one, we trigger a chain reaction. For instance, if we get greedy we are more prone to lose our contentment which in turn could unfold into aggression.

The Yamas and Niyamas interconnect in action on the mat. When performing a yoga posture a non-violent and calm approach is advisable. If we become greedy and want to achieve too much in too short a time we tend to get frustrated, or even aggressive, either towards ourselves or towards others – or even both. Therefore, reining in those expectations and focusing on contentment helps to get in the flow of the yoga practice.

Here’s another example: fear of failure or even disease cannot get in the way of truthfully observing ourselves at any given moment of our practise. When we are fully observant, we can see how our attitude impacts our behaviour and then recalibrate our practise accordingly. This will result in a smoother and more effective yoga practise that benefits our overall health and wellbeing. Once we truly get in the flow of it, we start developing more trust in the positive outcome of our actions and efforts. In order to make yoga work we need to be persistent though. It takes time to overcome old habits of counter-productive attitudes.

At Kurma, we consider the Yamas and Niyamas as we choose our materials, and when we design and distribute our products.

As a brand we work towards maintaining a healthy balance between the growth of our company and its impact on the planet. We need to stop violating the space of others. This includes animate beings as well as inanimate ‘things’. We will need to grow and learn how to improve our current behaviour so we can take full responsibility for the impact of our actions.

After 30 years in the background, Kurma is now making its appearance on social media. This is a great opportunity to make a difference by openly communicating about how we want to apply the same dynamics on the yoga business as we do on our mat. By remaining mindful of our own greed and fears we ask ourselves the following question: ‘Where/how can Kurma be of service?

When we practice on our mat we learn how to sense into our physical body and understand how all the different parts work together. Similarly, as a business, we remain mindful of what  we bring into the world – and how we do it. As a brand, we consider the Yamas and Niyamas as we choose our materials, and when we design and distribute our products. We apply microcosm principles, the ones we practice on our mats, to how we allow our final products to take shape. And by remaining observant of the entire process and reflecting on every decision we make, we rule out many of the negative effects our business could have on people and the environment.

This also includes how the products are disposed of when their life cycle has ended. Remember: cleanliness (again, incredibly important today in the sense of ‘not polluting’). It might get frustrating at times, but we really need to persist by constantly evaluating our successes and failures and adapt our efforts accordingly. This is the only way to truly set the stage towards changing things for the better. Our end goal is a cleaner, healthier and more wholesome environment for everyone.

To some degree, everyone is aware of the changes that need to be made towards a more sustainable future. And yet, so little is done. What makes yoga so valuable in this process towards tangible change is that by practicing a healthier mindset on our mats, and by embracing its effect, we get to familiarize ourselves with its long-lasting benefits. By translating these principles to a broader reality, to the health of our planet, we can actually start setting wheels in motion. As our microcosm ripples out towards our macrocosm, we can shape a more wholesome environment.

Kurma alone cannot make the difference. We can only do so together with you. Therefore, write to us and share your ideas and views.

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