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Honoring Martin Luther King:  Yamas & Niyamas

January 18, 2021 @ 8:30 am - 9:30 am

Exploring the Yamas & Niyamas

 A community event honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Monday January 18th, 2021 from 8:30 – 9:30 am PST

with Heather Haxo Phillips

The foundation of any authentic yoga practice are the moral disciplines – yamas – and self -restraints – niyamas.  The yamas  are intended to harmonize our social relationships.  They include nonviolence, truthfulness, nonstealing,  sexual continence and nongrasping.  The niyamas are intended to deepen our relationship to our inner self.  They include cleanliness, contentment, austerity, self-study and devotion to the divine.

These ethical disciplines are powerful tools for social change.  They have been used throughout history by many people from all walks of life and are shared across many spiritual traditions.  One of the most influential American figures to incorporate the yamas and niyamas into his personal and professional life is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  On the anniversary of his birthday, let us honor the life and legacy of Dr. King by studying the yamas and niyamas. Dr. King was most famous for his deliberate and thorough practice of ahimsa or non-violence.  Not only did he use the technique himself, but he taught others how to work with it.  Indeed, his life and legacy are clear examples of how humans can work with all the yamas and niyamas – both as individuals and in our collective bodies.

At this critically important time in our personal and collective lives, the yamas and niyamas can provide potent wisdom to help us move forward in a time of great personal uncertainty and civil unrest.

The program will primarily be a lecture, with time for questions and discussion. We will use the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Sutras 2.28 – 2.45 as our foundation.  You may want to read Sutras 2.28 – 2.45 before we gather.

We will:

  • unpack each yama and niyama
  • consider how we can work with these concepts as powers rather than commandments
  • learn how the yamas and niyamas can help us clear our own minds and bodies, providing wisdom and courage
  • look at how Dr. King worked with obstacles – both personal and collective – in his own practice of the yamas and niyamas
  • discuss how to work with our own obstacles that do inevitably arise when practicing the yamas and niyamas

Prior experience working with yoga philosophy is not needed.

This is a free community gathering to support and nourish our personal practice and be together.  Donations can be made here.  When donating, please put in the memo/note field that it is for the Yama & Niyama program.


You must pre-register before class.

A recording will be send to all who register and to our Adeline Yoga members.    If you plan to attend the 9 am class, our system will not allow you to sign up for this class also because the classes overlap in time.  However, we will send the recording out to all Adeline Yoga members.

One hour before the start time you will receive a unique zoom log-in and specific instructions.

First time on Zoom with us? Check out our tip sheet! Our tips will help you get ready for your first class with us.

You can find out more about our Live Online Programming here




Heather Haxo Phillips is a certified Senior Iyengar yoga instructor and the Director of Adeline Yoga. As a teacher, Heather offers expertise in yoga therapy, and is a Certified Yoga Therapist (c-IAYT), Relax and Renew restorative yoga teacher and Yoga Alliance E-500 level instructor. Her teaching is rooted in the ancient yogic traditions, including yoga philosophy, Sanskrit and chant.

Heather serves as a mentor to aspiring teachers and CIYT, leading teacher education programs and volunteering as an assessor.

Heather studies regularly with senior Iyengar Yoga teachers and the Iyengar family in Pune.  Her yoga philosophy and Sanskrit teachers include Dr. Gitte Beschgaard and Dr. Sucheta Paranjpe.

Heather is dedicated to her volunteer work as past President of the Iyengar Yoga Association of Northern California and an active volunteer for the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States.  She was a member of the Yoga Alliance Standards Review Process and is currently on the board of the Lorin Merchants Association (LBA).  Prior to her career with yoga, Heather worked in non-profit management with organizations that supported communities of color.  She is a graduate of Harvard College, with a degree in women’s studies.



January 18, 2021
8:30 am - 9:30 am


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