Friday, February 6, 2009

yummy yamas and niyamas

say that five times fast... :)

I recently decided to add a "Yama of the Month" to my blog. Don't worry if you're not a yogi or yogini; as I've mentioned before, yoga is much more than just a physical practice: it is a way of life. And, the practice of the yamas and niyamas are a very good way to focus your intentions and live in a fully compassionate, ethical, loving way. For those wondering exactly what a yama or niyama is, I will attempt to break it down in a user-friendly sort of way:

There are eight limbs in the astanga yoga path. These eight limbs help us live our lives to the fullest and move towards a blissfully divine existance. The first two limbs of the eight are the yamas and the niyamas. The yamas and niyamas are universal guidelines for all: They extend beyond age, race, class, religion, time, or circumstances.

There are five yamas, or restraints, and each of them help us focus on being compassionate and living a life of dignity and respect for self, the world, and each other. Here are the five yamas:

1. Ahimsa (nonviolence)
2. Satya (truth)
3. Asteya (nonstealing)
4. Brahmacharya (moderation)
5. Aparigraha (greedlessness)

There are also five niyamas and these guidelines focus more on our own internal regulation. They outline how we interact with ourselves and the focus is on our internal world. Here are the five niyamas:

1. Saucha (purity)
2. Santosha (contentment)
3. Tapas (austerity)
4. Swadhyaya (self education and study)
5. ishvara pranidhana (surrender to the divine)

The yamas and niyamas are not about right or wrong. They are about living authentically by learning to manage our energy, balancing our lives, making conscious decisions, and connecting our inner growth with outer restraint and compassion. No matter who we are, most of us could use a little more yama and niyama focus in our lives!

Here is your yogathought for the day:

"I change myself, I change the world." --Gloria Anzoldua



Pink Heels said...

Woo-hoo! This is going to be a great new feature on your blog! I can't wait for the discussion to begin!

Teal Marie Chimblo said...

Awesome! I am always so happy to see fellow teachers talking about all the others parts of yoga that are so great, not just the wonders of asana practice. Asana is just the beginning...