Yamas & Niyamas

The Yamas & Niyamas are the the do’s and don’ts or the ethical disciplines and comprise the first two limbs of Yoga’s eight-fold path. They are the foundation of skilful living.  Yama tells us what to avoid doing because it would do harm to the individual and that of society. ‘Yama’  is usually translated as ‘restraint’.

The five Yamas are:

  • Ahimsa (non-violence)
  • Satya (truthfulness)
  • Asteya (non-stealing)
  • Brahmacharya (control of the senses)
  • Aparigraha (non-possessiveness)

Niyama is the second step in the Eightfold Path of Patanjali. Niyama means ‘observance’ and describe actions and attitudes we should cultivate to overcome the illusion of separation and the suffering it causes.

The five Niyamas are:

  • Saucha (purity)
  • Santosa (contentment)
  • Tapas (austerity)
  • Svadhyaya (self-study)
  • Isvara Pranidhana (surrendering to God)

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