Yama And Niyama In Yoga

Yama And Niyama In Yoga

Yoga defines yama and niyama as​ the​ positive and negative aspects of​ behaviour respectively. Traditional texts mention ten yamas and ten niyamas but Patanjali’s Yogasutra,​ which is​ considered the​ original treatise on​ yoga,​ defines five yamas and five niyamas. it​ has been mentioned that in​ Manusmirti that it​ is​ more important to​ follow yamas than niyamas. Here we​ give a​ brief description on​ the​ yamas and niyamas to​ be followed:

• Ahimsa (Non-violence): this is​ one of​ foremost yamas. it​ means the​ lack of​ intention to​ hurt others. This intention need not be just physical but includes mental and emotional cruelty. Here the​ attitude is​ more important than the​ actual act of​ killing. You should not even have the​ intention of​ offending others.

• Satya (Truthfulness): this quality implies the​ honesty and sincerity in​ thoughts,​ words and deeds. This is​ possible only when one has conquered greed and ambition since these are the​ two major culprits which take you away from the​ truth.

• Asteya (Non-theft): in​ Sanskrit,​ “steya” denotes the​ enjoyment or​ keeping with oneself the​ things that do not rightfully belong to​ them. This is​ basically the​ act of​ stealing or​ theft. a​ person is​ inclined to​ steal only when he has no love and has some selfish motive. a​ yogi or​ a​ student of​ yoga has very few basic needs. He has learnt the​ art of​ loving himself as​ well as​ the​ others. Hence he does not feel the​ need to​ exploit or​ steal from others.

• Brahmacharya (Celibacy): sex has been defined as​ on​ of​ the​ vital necessities of​ human existence. it​ ranks next only to​ food. Since ancient times,​ very few people have been able to​ master their sexual urges. if​ not satisfied,​ these urges lead a​ person to​ depravation and develop psychotic tendencies. Yoga lays a​ great stress on​ the​ celibacy. it​ considers not only the​ act of​ sex itself as​ sexual but even thinking,​ talking and looking at​ opposite sex as​ a​ part of​ sex and hence has to​ be avoided. Patanjali has declared that brahmacharya increases the​ mental strength also called veerya in​ an​ individual.

• Aparigraha (Non-gathering): this yama means not going on​ collecting wealth and objects just for enjoyment. Yoga teaches one to​ collect wealth and objects just to​ meet his primary needs. This is​ important because greed causes distraction and thus leads to​ increased strain on​ his mind and body.

The above mentioned points deal with vairagya or​ the​ negative aspects of​ one’s behaviour. Now we​ take a​ look at​ some of​ the​ niyamas or​ the​ positive aspects of​ the​ behaviour as​ described by yoga:

• Shoucha (Cleanliness): This includes the​ cleanliness of​ the​ mind and the​ body. Yoga has described a​ clean mind as​ the​ one free of​ any prejudices,​ false beliefs,​ ignorance and ego. Generally speaking,​ all the​ yamas come under this niyama since they deal with eliminating some or​ the​ other impurities.

• Santosha (Contentment): a​ yogi is​ taught to​ be happy and satisfied with his lot. He does not need to​ achieve any ambition.

• Tapas (Religious austerities) : This niyama describes the​ rituals like fasting: needed to​ fortify the​ mind. Yoga believes that this increases the​ resistance power of​ the​ body and makes your body and mind stronger and thus you can face adverse conditions effectively.

• Swadhyaya (Reading of​ religious literature): This practice is​ very useful for overcoming ignorance and facing the​ adversities of​ life calmly. it​ helps to​ fill your mind with peace.

• Ishwarpranidhana (Devotion): this teaches you to​ rely on​ the​ divine will and to​ ascribe the​ effects of​ your action to​ the​ divine providence. This is​ a​ very useful habit to​ cultivate as​ you can accept everything as​ God’s will and can achieve peace of​ mind. This eliminates the​ fear and worry.

Yama And Niyama In Yoga

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