Power Within & Yoga's 8 Limbs

Worshipper in water

On the amazing Tree of Life, we climb like our ancestors before us, upward, sideways, and even down sometimes to step carefully on stable limbs and hold branches to steady ourselves in this quantum leaping world.

It’s crucial to know where the limbs and handholds are, and what helpers and metaphorical demons we may face each step of the way.

That’s why during our full-body asana classes on Mondays between now and Christmas, we’re immersing ourselves in eight limbs of the Tree of Yoga as described by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras. These limbs express time-tested wisdom rooted in non-violence, loving kindness, and Soul care. They aim toward reunion with our immortal Oversoul, and full recovery of the Higher Self that guides and inspires us.

Yoga’s eight limbs improve the quality of our lives but also heighten the energy of our families, communities, and planet.

Ultimately, the world as we know it runs on energy, the power known as Prana in Sanskrit. Energy links together the physical and spiritual worlds and is at the center of the personal challenges and achievements we face.

Climbing and descending, rising and falling – these motions of our journey through life, reflect the circular and cyclical nature of our pulsing world and the oscillating, polarity-balancing nature of human beings. We are waves of energy more than solid bodies.

We are each fields of energy frequencies vibrating in tune with the hum of the moon, planet, and stars. Energy is also at the heart of our planet’s ecological crisis.

Yoga practice cultivates the energy of love, the stability of empowerment, and the wisdom for making life-giving decisions. When we gather for Yoga in sacred space, we develop power-from-within. Power-from-within expands with awareness of our innate energy and the sense of self-mastery that arises when we use that energy effectively for a balancing pose or refined twist, for bonding in a relationship or planting a garden. In every act of creativity — writing, healing, playing, singing, cooking, and making love — we feel how the Power-from-within sustains us.

Power-from-within gives us the ability to act out of our sense of connection with other human beings and the environment. Power-from-within gives us the facility for recognizing Power-over, authority based on domination and the violence needs to maintain power-over.

Power-over feeds on fear, discouragement, and threats of punishment that thwarts individual initiative, overtaxes our resources, and is overwhelming to the basic goodness of well-meaning people.

Power-over comes from a mind estranged from the natural world. It is fueled by discrimination, the income-gap, and war. The top-down, hierarchical power model has been used to frighten, enslave, and control people because of their race, religion, gender, age, or class.

A third kind of power, Power-with, develops when we are willing to respond authentically and take personal responsibility for situations. Sharing Power-with others, we grow the capacity to listen to each other, to see the best in ourselves and others, and to harmonize together outside the systems of domination.

Power-with recognizes that we are equal, the sun shines on all because all deserve the light outside and within, and that people are basically good.

One beautiful way to cultivate and use our Power-within is to help others find their Power-within, and that often hinges on their knowing their basic goodness. So much of our modern world, built on the charred ashes of pollution and Power-over, distorts our belief in our own basic goodness.

But if you can help yourself, or even one friend, client, student, or family member, to overcome a difficulty, rediscover their basic goodness, or heal from trauma, that singular action sends healing waves to ripple through the energy field, community, and world. These ripples will change the world.

Every act of loving kindness that encourages the heart and the eyes to see what the spiritual mystic Thomas Merton called, “the secret beauty behind the eyes of every being,” uplifts all of us.

Seeing the goodness, says meditation master Jack Kornfield, brings a soothing balm to everyone. He tells a story of a school teacher, a math teacher, who on a day when the class was unable to focus, she put the name of every person on whiteboard. She asked students to copy every name and put next to the name one thing they appreciate about that person. At the end of the term, she had cut out each name and all the qualities that classmates appreciated, and put them together for each student, then handed them out.

The students were profoundly affected, for it brought out their most positive traits.

Later, one student, Paul, went to war and was killed in action. The teacher went to her student’s funeral and his mother said, “I want to show you something.” She brought forth that paper, with all the appreciations. It was wrinkled and torn. “He had this in his pocket when he died. As you can see from the condition, he took it out and must have read it often.”

That’s Power-with — helping all to find what’s loving and kind.

Seeing the good, said Einstein, expands the circle of affection. Well-wishing and loving kindness reveal the dignity, the beauty of another. They act on the original innocence of everyone.

Right now, simply remember the love you’ve been given and remind your body what it feels like to be loving. Notice how your internal vibration rises with loving thoughts and the field of energy around you sparkles with your contentment and connection.

Loving-kindness practice stirs Power-from-within and Power-with, and it may well be the best way to reverse the growth of dominator cultures and reduce violence and climate change. Notice the days when it’s easy to be loving, and be daring enough to express your love and kindness even on days when it’s difficult. Especially when it’s difficult.


Are you willing to help with the mission of cultivating Power-within, Power-with, and Loving Kindness? Here’s a link you can share with them.


Ongoing Mondays, 5:00- 6:30 PM
With heavenly sunset meditation
Where: New Thought Center – 81-6587 Mamalahoa Hwy, C302 Pualani Terrace, Drop-in: $15 – 20 Sliding Fee Scale. Multi-class memberships. Some scholarships! Light-Filled Space overlooking Kealakekua Bay

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