Himalayan Yoga Academy

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Yama and Niyama

13 Feb 2020 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy

The Yama and Niyama

Yama and Niyaman are the fundamentals of Ashtanga yoga. They are first two limbs.Yama and Niyama are the ethical precepts set forth in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras as the first and second of the eight limbs of yoga.   They are the foundation of our practice without which no spiritual progress along the path of yoga can be made.   Many people come to yoga initially as a physical exercise and only later begin to understand the profound spiritual effect it has on our lives. 

The Yamas and Niyamas originate from the very well known text ‘The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’, which many yoga teachers or teachers-in-training will have attempted to decipher at some point. Patanjali is known as a sage, but it’s very unlikely that one man wrote these texts – and far more likely that the texts are the culmination of what a group of Patanjali’s disciples wrote over a period of time. 

I. Yama

  1. Non-violence (Athimsa) means not to hurt any creature mentally or physically through mind, speech and action.
  2. Truthfulness (Satya) is the presentation of a matter as perceived with the help of sense organs.
  3. Non-stealing (Asteya) means notticovet and acquire physically, mentally or by speech others’ possessions.
  4. Cosmic Regimen (Brahmacharya): Brahmacharya is the self restraint to follow the code and conduct of Nature. It means the appilication of natural habit and explores true nature. It follows the biological cycle on need base, not a desires and expectations.
  5. Non-acquisitiveness (Aparigraha) means abandoning wealth and means of sensual pleasures.

II. Niyama

  1. Cleanliness (shauch) means internal and external purification of body and the mind.
  2. Contentment (santisha) is a state of mind by which one lives happily and satisfied in congenial or uncongenial atmosphere.
  3. Austerity (penance/tapas) is the conquest of all desires or sensual pleasures by practicing purity in thought, speech and action.
  4. Self study (swadhyana) means exchange of thoughts in order to secure in thought and accomplish knowledge.
  5. Surrender to God (Ishwara Pranidhana)  consists of devotion to god and surrender to all actions to him.

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