yama and niyama

yama and niyama

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.



  1. Ahimsa – nonviolence
  2. Satya – truthfulness
  3. Asteya – non-stealing
  4. Brahmacharya – non-excess
  5. Aparaigraha – non-greed



  1. Saucha – purity
  2. Santosha – contentment
  3. Tapas – self-discipline
  4. Svadhyaya – self-study
  5. 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? 

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  1. This was really interesting to read. Ive done yoga on and off over the years but this year I really want go get into it more and be more disciplined with it!

  2. I have never been to yoga so had not heard of these before, but really found your post interesting and got me thinking x

  3. the Yamas and Niyamas you cited above is really important facts. I do Yoga but don’t do on daily basis. I try but unable to continue it daily.

  4. These sound like Hindu and Buddhist terminology. However, I have zero knowledge about Yogas and it was great to read about them.

  5. I don’t usually practice yoga, just with my students and they are only 3 years old. I would have to research more to understand this post more.

  6. You are right. Sometimes we look at the things we need to do and they seem so obvious. And yet things like self-discipline can be so difficult to master when it really comes down to it.

  7. Konstantina Antoniadou

    I don’t know much about yoga but I definitely want to learn more. Thank you for sharing!

  8. I’m a yoga new be so these terms sound like a precious and mysterious code for me 🙂

  9. I started doing yoga last year, I haven’t done it much lately, but this post inspires me to pick it back up. I would love to give it a try again.

  10. Definitely cool, yoga is such a healthy experience. My husband isn’t impressed when I do yoga because he feels I should be doing more physically, but it is such a satisfying experience.

  11. I have heard a lot about Yoga. I would love to try it one day.

  12. This is so interesting! I’m looking into starting up yoga, so this is some great food for thought in understanding.

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