Yama’s and Niyama’s

If you know me very well then you know I love yoga.  Yoga is so much more than the pretzel moves or the handstand that you may think of when you hear the word yoga. 

Yoga is made up of eight limbs and the physical poses or asana’s are only ONE of those limbs.  Yoga is a peaceful practice that is a lifestyle.  When studying yoga so much of it is focused on becoming whole.  Moving into stillness and into your real self. 

The study of yoga gives us ethical guidelines for living.  My intent is to live these in my daily life.  Over the next few months I am going to post about them in more detail moving through each guideline in an individual post.  I hope you enjoy it and that it leads you to study more about yoga.

Yama’s and niyamas are ethical guidelines for living. They make up the first limb of yoga.  Yama’s are considered the “outer” observances. Niiyamas are the “inner” observances – a guide for living soulfully. Patanjali teaches that there are 5 Yama’s and 5 Niyamas while other traditions teach that there are ten of each.

For the purpose of my blog series I am focusing on the five that are identified and taught by Patanjali.

Five Yama’s of Yoga

1.    Ahimsa ~ non-harm

2.    Satya ~ truthfulness

3.    Asteya ~ non-stealing

4.    Brahmacharya ~ using restraint

5.    Aparigraha ~ non-attachment


Five Niyama’s of Yoga

1.    Saucha ~ Purity

2.    Santosha ~ Contentment

3.    Tapas ~ Self-discipline

4.    Svadhyaya ~ Self-study

5.    Ishvara Pranidhana ~ Surrender

There are many thoughts you may have when you initially see these.  Perhaps they seem simplistic and you think “non-harm” well I don’t hurt people so that’s easy.  Truthfulness?  I am already honest.  Perhaps they seem difficult to you or maybe you don’t see the purpose in identifying ethical guidelines by which you live your life other than those you grew up with.  Whatever your initial thought was, I am asking you to keep an open mind and to take some time to delve into the changes these yama’s and niyama’s could create in your life.

I will be working on this series over the next few months so please check back and you just may find some life changing ideas.

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