If you have been to yoga classes on a regular basis, you may have heard the terms yama and niyama come up. Yama and niyama are the ethical guidelines for yogis. Think of them as the 10 commandments for yogis.
What are yama and niyama and where did they come from?
The yamas and niyamas are the first two limbs of the eight limbs of yoga. The earliest mention of Yamas was found in the Rigveda and Patanjali lists the Yamas and Niyamas in the Yoga Sutras.
The yamas refer to self regulating behaviors involving our interactions with other people and the world around us and the niyamas refer to personal practices that relate to our inner world.
- Ahimsa – nonviolence
- Satya – truthfulness
- Asteya – non-stealing
- Brahmacharya – non-excess
- Aparaigraha – non-greed
- Saucha – purity
- Santosha – contentment
- Tapas – self-discipline
- Svadhyaya – self-study
- Ishvara Pradidhana – surrender
Some of these concepts seem like no brainers on the surface. But when you really start working on them, they can be harder to follow than you might think. It is possible to follow Yama and Niyama. Some might need to take baby steps to get there. I know I am still a work in progress. To learn more about each of the Yamas and Niyamas follow the links. I will keep updating content as I keep on my journey.
Tell me your thoughts about Yama and Niyama. Have you heard of these terms?