November 12, 2017

Yamas and Niyamas - Part of Yoga Sutra 

The Yoga Sutra (Rules) are just guide or user-manual of how to lead a life to enlightenment. They are not any religious or philosophical rule book. There are eight limbs of Yoga Sutra:

  1. Yama (Moral Discipline)
  2. Niyama (Observance)
  3. Asanas (Positions)
  4. Pranayama (Control of breath or Life Force)
  5. Pratyahara (Sense Withdrawal)
  6. Dharana (Concentration)
  7. Dhyana(Meditation)
  8. Samadhi (Spiritual Ecstasy)

Read our  blog earlier where we have talked about these eight limbs of Yoga. Yamas (Moral Discipline) and Niyamas (Observance) are first 2 limbs that talks that mindfulness needs to be followed not only on the rubber mat but needs to carried with us at all the time. There is a resemblance of Yama and Niyama with the Ten Commandments of Christianity or ten virtues of Buddhism.

The Yamas (Moral Discipline)

No matter who we are or what is our background - practicing Niyamas can be difficult at times. As we wrote earlier that the word "Yoga" means "union with divine", the practice of any principles of Yoga, including Yamas has to be carried all the time.

 There are five Yamas listed in Patanjali’s Sutras:

  1. Ahimsa ( Do no harm)
  2. Satya (Truthfulness)
  3. Asteya (Non Stealing)
  4. Brahmacharya (Right use of our energy)
  5. Aparigraha (Simplicity or Generosity)
By considering these aspects in our daily practice on and off the Yoga mat, will lead us to be more compassionate towards ourselves and others. 

    The Niyamas (Observance)

    Niyama is essential for discovering the path of yoga and improving the quality of your life. You will learn to apply the ethical codes of yoga to the mind, spirit and body and discover true freedom.

    There are five niyamas that can pave the path to personal growth and lead to a clearer inner assessment.

    1. Saucha (a clean mind, a proper communication between the spirit and the physical body)
    2. Santosha (“let it be”! Accept yourself and the others, exactly as they are)
    3. Tapas (Burn away our bloated ego and ignite the act of self-less love!)
    4. Svadhyaha (Study of the self and self-reflection)
    5. Ishvara Pranidhana (A cknowledge an intelligence beyond our own self)

    Through consistent practice, we can realize that where our will ends, it meets another dimension, which nourishes us and is the basis of our existence. Yoga is about seamlessly experiencing these two dimensions – individual will and super intelligence.

    “The yogi feels the lack of nothing and so is naturally content.” -  BKS Iyengar

     Practicing Yamas and Niyamas beyond Yoga Mat

    Learning that there is more about yoga than stretching on the mat is something that comes with practice. Preserving the state of calm, awareness and serenity after the yoga class will surely impact our lives beyond appearance. With Yamas and Niyamas acting as “moral codes”, we may say that they form the foundation of the yoga practice. Respecting Yamas and Niyamas at all times, getting engaged in mindful actions and cultivating respect for other human beings and the things that surround us can be life-changing decisions. 


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