Yamas and Niyamas

May 2, 2017

The 1st and 2nd limbs of the 8 limbs of Yoga.

Photo credit: unknown

 

The eight limbs of Yoga begin with our external behavior and progress inward to include perfect understanding of our own minds. The initial limbs lay an important foundation for the more subtle practices that follow because our thoughts and behaviors are the first things that create mental stress.

 

Yamas (Restraints - Peace with the World)

Ahimsa - non harming/non violence - we are advised to restrain from anything that causes harm to others and ourselves through action, word and even thought

Satya - truthfulness - being honest with ourselves first of all

Asteya - non-stealing - the need to steal essentially arises because of a lack of faith in ourselves to be able to create what we need by ourselves. Also think of stealing on the more subtle level too, for example you likely don't steal from a shop but you may steal joy from yourselves by worrying about the future

Bramacharya - moderation, right use of energy - what do you spend your energy on? If your energy levels are low, consider whether your daily tasks are drainging your vitality. Are you spending too much time exercising and overexhaust yourself? Do you work too much? Do you go out and party every night?

Aparigraha - non-coveting, non-craving

 

Niyamas (Observances - Peace with Yourself)

Saucha - purity - on physical level healthy food choices, adequate water intake, regular exercise, relaxation, proper hygiene. Purity in the mind comes from positive thinking and healthy choices about what we mentally consume, such as the tv shows we watch the musice we listen to, and the company we keep. Spiritually purity means engaging in Yoga practice, prayer, meditation, inspirational readings and community activities. 

Santosa - contentment

Tapas - austerity, effort, discipline

Svadhyana - self-study

Isvara Pranidhana - surrender to a higher reality

 

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