Teaching Morals and Ethics to Youth
Jeff teaches these basic principles in a safe and non-spiritual tone so that it doesn’t offend anyone. However, this workshop is taught by the basic principles of “The Eight Limbs of Yoga.” Jeff talks about the yamas and niyamas which are the ethical guidelines laid out in the first two limbs of the “The Eight Limbs of Yoga.”
Jeff is a Practicing Yogi and in his 200-Hour Teacher Training Certification Program
Jeff talks about what it means to him being a Yogi. A practicing yogi and how yoga has transformed his life from 350 lbs given one year to live to the man he is today and aspires to become. This is not about religion. Jeff says,
Our Youth Need Direction from Someone They Trust and Respect and They Trust and Respect Jeff
Teens love how Jeff simplifies the journey of life. Our students respect that Jeff respects them and talks to them as if they were adults. He is honest and fully transparent about his life and what he’s dealt with and has to deal with as a result of the successes and failures of his life.
Jeff is always mindful and careful that his words are heard and impactful. Jeff doesn’t bring religion or faith into his talks. This is just a character driven guideline that can help youth find purpose, clarity, direction, and fulfillment in their lives and their search for understanding and meaning.
Today’s youth need support and an understanding in how they should live their lives. They need guidance from a trusted source that is non-judgemental or opinionated.
Why Share This with Youth
Jeff loves to share the principles that have given him direction, peace of mind, calmness, bliss, less anxiety, and a major part of his success living as a man with mental illness. As a man that talks to youth to the depths of his talks, Jeff knows the value that helping teens with direction and purpose gives. These simple principles answer many of the questions that our youth are asking and Jeff feels that how his life has been shaped it’s easy to share this with youth knowing it gives them less anxiety about their future when they can be present in the here and the now.
For Students and Staff – The Yamas & Niyamas
You can read more about the Yamas & Niyamas (CLICK HERE)
The Yamas and Niyamas are simply a map written to guide you on your life’s journey. Simply put, the yamas are things not to do, or restraints, while the niyamas are things to do, or observances. Together, they form a moral code of conduct.
Such as teaching our youth about Character and Characteristics Traits of being respectful, compassionate, empathetic, kind, and doing the right thing.
The Five Yamas:
Self-regulating behaviors involving our interactions with other people and the world we live in. How we should live and they include:
- Ahimsa: Ahimsa means nonviolence toward others, our environment, and ourselves. It emerges when we replace judgment and criticism with observation and an open mind. Ahimsa doesn’t mean we avoid change or hard work. If we commit to practicing ahimsa, we commit to placing things into the light and addressing them with compassion.
- Satya: Satya is about living our truth; it is that simple. As you learn to speak the truth, you will learn to be true to yourself, to all that is best in you.
- Asteya: non-stealing or not taking that which is not offered, including not just material objects but also time, thoughts, energy, emotions and ideas. Its fundamental implication is that we should refrain from looking outside ourselves to other people, things, and situations to make us happy and fulfilled.
- Brahmacharya: non-excess or the ‘right use of energy’ leads us to consider how we actually use and direct our energy. Brahmacharya also evokes a sense of directing our energy away from external desires – you know, those pleasures which seem great at the time but are ultimately fleeting – and instead, towards finding peace and happiness within ourselves.
- Aparigraha: Translates as ‘non-greed’, ‘non-possessiveness’, and ‘non-attachment’. The word ‘graha’ means to take, to seize, or to grab, ‘pari’ means ‘on all sides’, and the prefix ‘a’ negates the word itself – basically, it means ‘non’. This important yama teaches us to take only what we need, keep only what serves us in the moment, and to let go when the time is right.
Yama, the first limb, concerns ethical and social behaviors and engagement. The directives address honesty, generosity, nonviolence, and restraint or self-discipline. The intention of this branch is to guide compassion and love, to awaken awareness of materialistic drives, and to teach balance between enjoyment and righteousness.
Niyama, the second limb, supports guidelines for personal behavior. These instructions focus on personal growth to enhance self-discipline, purity, personal development, peace, and surrender the ego. Personal discipline is key in Niyama referencing routines for meditation, breathing exercises, exercise, healthy diet and maintaining a positive environment.
Niyama means ‘rule’ or ‘laws’ and are suggestions for internal awareness and observance. They’re suggestions on how we can relate to ourselves.
Five branches extend from the Niyama limb that create a healthy well-being. Sometimes referred to as the “dos.” The Niyamas help you to live a quality of life and for one to reach their full potential.
The “do’s” that pave the path to personal growth
Here are the five niyamas:
- Sauca – purity, cleanliness of mind, speech and body
- Santosa – contentment, peace, acceptance, optimism
- Tapas – self-discipline, persistence, perseverance
- Svādhyāya – self study, self-reflection
- Īśvarapraṇidhāna – contemplation of the Divine, losing your ego
How can you practice it?
1. Sauca, or purity, is two dimensional. The first dimension is outer cleanliness – you know taking your morning shower or washing your hands after you use the bathroom. The second dimension of sauca – inner cleanliness and internal purity of the mind.
So from cleanliness and clean eating to flushing your internal organs with water, think about creating a pure internal physical body. Crucial to this niyama is cleansing the mind of disturbing thoughts and emotions like hatred, passion, anger, lust, greed, delusion and pride.
The two dimensions of this niyama are interconnected – when your physical, outer world is unclean and cluttered, how can your internal body be healthy and the mind be clear and focused?
2. Santosa is learning to accept and be at peace with what you have. It’s about finding happiness, and contentment, even when things get tough.
It’s not only about accepting and finding happiness with what you have, but it’s about accepting yourself as well as others. At the end of each day, write down three things you’re grateful for from your day. Actively practice finding contentment in what you have and you’ll find you don’t have room to think about what you don’t have.
3. Tapas is the disciplined use of effort. Tapas is about focusing your efforts to achieve your goals or to restrain from saying or doing something you’ll regret. So if you’re trying to eat cleaner, you can practice tapas by being disciplined about taking your lunch to work, rather than buying from the fast food restaurant.
4. Svādhyāya means to intentionally turn inward and study yourself. This is self-reflection. We do this a lot in asana (the yoga postures). Practice off the mat as well as on the mat. The way you treat yourself today—the food you eat, the sleep you get, the thoughts you think, the spirit you devote—all of this affects the way you feel tomorrow.
5. Īśvarapraṇidhāna, the fifth niyama, urges you to surrender your ego. To make choices that are for the good of all that you are in contact with.
Yoga is a practice for living a lifestyle of contentment, self-reflection, and in trying to be the man Jeff aspires to be. It’s about health, happiness, and peace of mind. Yoga balances Jeff and makes him the man he is and the man he aspires to be each and every day.
Let’s integrate this 30 minute workshop into Jeff’s Full Day visits to your school.
I don’t practice yoga to get better at yoga, I practice yoga to be better at life.