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Yamas & Niyamas

In our last post we briefly discussed the yamas and niyamas. These are the first two "steps" on the 8 limbs of yoga.


According to the Sutras, "Yama consists of non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-greed." These are the abstinences or regulations. If you were brought up in a Christian or Jewish tradtion this would be very similar to the 10 commandments or "regulations" of living.


The Yamas are as follows,

1. Ahimsa- nonviolence (towards others, towards one-self, towards all life)

2. Satya- truthfulness

3. Asteya- non-stealing

4. Brahmacarya- continence, moderation of drive (also can be translated as celibacy)

5. Aparigraha- non-greed, or non-grasping


According to the Sutras, "Niyama consists of purity, contentment, accepting, but not causing pain, study of spiritual books and Worship of God [self-surrender]." The Niyamas are known as the observanses. "They are the foundation stones without which we can never build anything lasting."


The Niyamas are as follows,

1. Sauca- purity

2. Samtosa- contentment or true joy/bliss/ananda (not to be mistaken with satisfaction)

3. Tapah- accepting pain, to be purified by heat

4. Svadhyaya- study of spiritual book for self-surrender

5. Isvara Pranidhana- worship of God in means to self-surrender


These first two limbs of the "Yogic Path" are the stepping stones to build a greater awareness of oneself. In accordance to these values one becomes content and in true harmony with bliss. By these social conducts, by purifying the body and mind, and by devoting oneself to God or whatever you resonate with Samadhi is attained.


The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Translation and Commentary

Sri Swami Satchidananda



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