Sage Patanjali,Raja yoga's foremost propounder, told us,
"These yamas are not limited by class, country, time (past, present or future) or situation. Hence they are called the universal great vows.
"These terms are translated as ”effort and relaxation” or “exertion and rest”. This stage consists in mastering fundamental ethic and psycho-hygienic rules of a spiritual seeker’s life.
"When a yogin becomes qualified by practicing Yama and Niyama, then the yogin can proceed to asana and the other means."
— Yoga Bhashya Vivarana (II.29)
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.Our practice begins with Yama and Niyama, and extends into asana and the other limbs of yoga.
The Yamas: Since Yama comes from the root word ‘yam’ ‘to hold’ or ‘to rule’, yama yoga represents the behaviours that ‘control’ certain negative tendencies (the ‘animal/instinctive nature’) that occur in all human beings.
1.Ahimsa -- Non-violence.Not harming other people or other sentient beings. Not harming onesself. Not harming the environment.
2.Satya -- Truthfulness. Note that sometimes we may know our words are literally true, but do not convey what we know to be truthful. This is a child's game.
3.Asteya -- Non-stealing. Not taking that which is not given.
4.Brahmacarya -- Sexual responsibility. Regarding others as human beings rather than as male and female bodies.
5.Aparigraha -- Abstention from greed. Not coveting that which is not ours. Avoidance of unnecessary acquisition of objects not essential to maintaining life or spiritual study.
6.Dhriti, Steadfastness:Foster steadfastness, overcoming nonperseverance, fear, indecision and changeableness.
7.Daya, Compassion:Practice compassion, conquering callous, cruel and insensitive feelings toward all beings.
8.Arjava, Honesty:Maintain honesty, renouncing deception and wrongdoing
9.Mitahara, Moderate Appetite:Be moderate in appetite, neither eating too much nor consuming meat, fish, shellfish, fowl or eggs.
10.Shauca, Purity:Uphold the ethic of purity, avoiding impurity in mind, body and speech. Maintain a clean, healthy body. Keep a pure, uncluttered home and workplace.
The Niyamas: The niyamas are the general actions that are necessary if we truly want to achieve a condition of health and deep balance within ourselves. The niyamas ask us to aim for:
1.Hri, Remorse:Allow yourself the expression of remorse, being modest and showing shame for misdeeds. Recognize your errors, confess and make amends.
2.Santosha, Contentment:Nurture contentment, seeking joy and serenity in life. Be happy, smile and uplift others.
3.Dana, Giving:Be generous to a fault, giving liberally without thought of reward.
4.Astikya, Faith:Cultivate an unshakable faith. Believe firmly in God, Gods, guru and your path to enlightenment. Trust in the words of the masters, the scriptures and traditions.
5.Ishvarapujana, Worship:Cultivate devotion through daily worship and meditation.
6.Siddhanta Shravana, Scriptural Listening:Eagerly hear the scriptures, study the teachings and listen to the wise of your lineage.
7.Mati, Cognition:Develop a spiritual will and intellect with your satguru's guidance. Strive for knowledge of God, to awaken the light within.
8.Vrata, Sacred Vows:Embrace religious vows, rules and observances and never waver in fulfilling them. Honor vows as spiritual contracts with your soul, your community, with God, Gods and guru.
9.Japa, Recitation:Chant your holy mantra daily, reciting the sacred sound, word or phrase given by your guru.
10 — Tapas, Austerity:Practice austerity, serious disciplines, penance and sacrifice. Be ardent in worship, meditation and pilgrimage.
· 8 years ago