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Yama & Niyama

The first limb of yoga is Yama. A Yama is a restraint that you put on yourself to decrease the suffering of another being.

5 yamas:

  1. Ahimsa – nonviolence
  2. Satya – truthfulness
  3. Asteya – non-stealing
  4. Brahmacarya – celibacy/moderation
  5. Aparigraha – non-hoarding/non-possessiveness

The second limb of yoga is Niyama. A Niyama is a restraint you put on yourself to decrease your own suffering.

5 niyamas:

  1. Saucha – purity
  2. Santosha – contentment
  3. Tapas – discipline
  4. Svadyaya – self-awareness/self-study
  5. Ishvara Pranidana – surrender to a higher power

*Several verses in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali deal with yama and niyama. These verses are found below:

Book II, verse 35.
Ahimsa pratisthayam tat samnidhau vaira tyagah.
In the presence of one firmly established in non-violence, all hostilities cease.

Book II, verse 36.
Satya pratisthayam kriya phalasrayatvam.
To one established in truthfulness, actions and their results become subservient.

Book II, verse 37.
Asteya pratisthayam sarva ratnopasthanam.
The one established in non-stealing, all wealth comes.

Book II, verse 38.
Brahmacarya pratisthayam virya labhah.
By one established in continence, vigor is gained.

Book II, verse 39.
Aparigraha sthairye janmakathamta sambodhah.
When non-greed is confirmed, a thorough illumination of the how and why of one’s birth comes.

Book II, verses 40 & 41
Saucat svanga jugupsa parair asamsargah.
By purification arises disgust for one’s own body and for contact with other bodies.

Sattvasuddhi saumanasyaikagryendriyajayatmadarsana yogyatvani ca.
Moreover, one gains purity of sattva, cheerfulness of mind, one-pointedness, mastery over the sense, and fitness for Self-realization.

Book II, verse 42.
Samtosad anuttamah sukha labhah.
By contentment, supreme joy is gained.

Book II, verse 43.
Kayedriya siddhir asuddhi ksayat tapasah.
By austerity, impurities of body and senses are destroyed and occult powers gained.

Book II, verse 44.
Svadhyayad istadevata samprayogah.
By study of spiritual books comes communion with one’s chosen deity.

Book II, verse 45.
Samadhi siddhir isvarapranidhanat.
By total surrender to God, Samadhi is attained.