Yoga’s Yama and Niyama

By on March 20, 2016

The practice of yoga is not just about health and fitness it also teaches one to live a life based on the mode of goodness. When one practices yoga he will know the Absolute and this truth will set him free from miseries and suffering of material life.

If you want to seriously practice yoga, you should practice Yama and Niyama. These two limbs of yoga have been practiced by great yoga teachers since time immemorial. It helped them become disciplined, focused, and happy in life.

 What is Yama?
Yama, means restraints, this involves five aspects: Brahmacharya, Satya, Ahimsa, Asteya and Aparigraha. Practicing these five directives will help one control his mind and his senses.

  •  Brahmacharya is a stage of life when a person studies and educates himself about life, Vedic sciences, and the process of yoga. During this time strict sexual abstinence is practiced. Celibacy is practiced in Brahmacharya because this will help one focus better and control his senses.
  • Satya means truthfulness or honesty. This involves practicing honesty and telling the truth.
  •  Ahimsa or non-violence or to do no harm. Every living being has life, is sacred, and within them resides the Paramatma, or the Divine. This is why if one wants to achieve spiritual advancement and enlightenment they should practice Ahimsa. As much as possible harm, quarrel, and misunderstandings should be avoided. A yoga practitioner do not want to cause suffering to other living beings, this does not only refer to people but also to plants, animals, insects and all things around them.
  • Asteya is not stealing, this practice in yoga disciplines ones desire to accumulate things that they do not own. One can tame desires for material enjoyment through Asteya.
  • Aparigraha means not being possessive or greedlessness. This practice involves living a simple life and avoiding accumulation of material wealth. All things in this world is temporary and collecting material things such as luxurious cars, beautiful homes, and properties is only a waste of time, because in the end you will be living it all behind at the time of death.


What is Niyama?
To be successful in yoga practice one should also practice Niyama or moral observance. It involves Tapas (austerity), Santosha (contentment), Ishvara-pranidhana (worship of the Supreme Person), Svadhyaya (study), and Saucha (purity). Incorporating these habits in your life will surely help  you  achieve the  ultimate  goal of  yoga.  Living  in  austerity  is Tapas; it is  also sacrificing to achieve spiritual advancement. Being contented with one’s own life is Santosha,one who practices this will feel happy and satisfied with his life. One who is not contented will endeavor to achieve material wealth, fame, money, and power but in the end, this will only bring him more suffering. Worshipping God or Ishvara-pranidhana helps one develop his relationship with  God,  it  also  purifies  him  and  helps  him  strengthen  his  connection  with  the  Lord. Svadhayaya or study means searching for knowledge, and understanding their purpose, essence, position, and duty in this world. Saucha or purity entails keeping one’s body, mind, and thoughts clean. It involves good hygiene, abstaining from thinking unclean thoughts, performing dirty deeds and activities.

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