The Yamas & Niyamas: A Guide to Happy Living

Every moment is an opportunity to change, to make different choices, shift our path toward positive, meaningful goals. Yet there is something about the beginning of a new year that feels fresh, full of opportunity. This winter session at Eden Yoga, we will be offering tidbits of inspiration and guidance to help you craft a blissful 2017.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras have been a source of guidance and inspiration to yogis for around 2000 years, so it seems a great place to start. Patanjali codified a system referred to as the “Eight Limbs of Yoga”.  The path begins with the yamas (moral codes) and niyamas (personal observances), on which we will focus here. The path then leads to asana (yoga poses), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), darana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and finally, samadhi (enlightenment).

I will write in more detail about each of the ten yamas and niyamas each week during this session, and we will briefly discuss them in class. For now, here is a list of the five yamas and five niyamas and their translations:

Yamas (morals codes):
~Ahimsa – nonviolence
~Satya – truth
~Asteya – refrainment from stealing
~Bramacharya – self-control, celibacy, directing your energy & efforts mindfully
~Aparigraha – non-hoarding, renunciation of unnecessary possessions

Niyamas (personal observances):
~Saucha – cleanliness
~Santosha – contentment
~Tapas – austerity
~Svadhyaya – self-study, study of scripture
~Isvara Pranidhana – surrender to God or the infinite, humility

 

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