Definition & Practice Tips • Yoga Basics

The second limb of Patanjali's eight-limb yoga system accommodates the 5 inside practices of Niyama (observance). These practices prolong the moral codes of conduct contained in its first limb, the yamas, to the interior setting of the working towards yogi of physique, thoughts and spirit. The observe of Niyama helps us keep a optimistic setting through which to thrive, and provides us the self-discipline, humility, and inside energy essential to advance on the trail of yoga.

The 5 niyamas of yoga

  1. Shaucha (Purification and cleanliness) is a central purpose of many yoga strategies and the primary precept of Patanjali's 5 observations. The yogis found that impurities each in our exterior setting and in our inner physique adversely have an effect on our way of thinking and stop the attainment of actual knowledge and non secular liberation. The practices of asana, pranayama, and meditation purify and purify the thoughts and physique and strengthen their skill to take care of a pure state of being. We should additionally consciously work to encompass ourselves with a clear setting (together with meals, drink, associates, leisure, dwelling furnishings, and transportation) in order to not return exterior contaminants to our physique or thoughts.
  2. Samtosha (Contentment) doesn’t lengthy for what we do not need, and doesn’t want the possessions of others. The yogis inform us that once we are fully happy with all the pieces that life offers us, we get actual pleasure and happiness. It is simple for the thoughts to be deceived that we will acquire lasting happiness by way of possession of objects and items, however each our private expertise and the teachings of the sages show that the happiness gained by way of materialism is simply momentary. Practicing contentment frees us from the pointless struggling of at all times wanting issues to be completely different and as a substitute fills us with gratitude and pleasure for all of life's blessings.
  3. tapas (Asceticism and self-discipline) is a yogic observe of intense self-discipline and the acquisition of willpower. Basically, tapas does one thing that you just don't need to do this has a optimistic impact in your life. When our will conflicts with the need of our spirit, an inside "fire" arises that illuminates and burns our psychological and bodily impurities. This inside hearth may also be used as a supply of non secular vitality. The yogis say that simply working towards tapas can result in the discharge of Kundalini and attainment of enlightenment. Tapas transforms and purifies us and allows acutely aware consciousness and management over our unconscious impulses and unhealthy habits. Tapas builds the willpower and private energy to make us extra dedicated to our yoga observe.
  4. Svadhyaya (Self-study and self-reflection) is the flexibility to see our true divine nature by way of considering the teachings of our lives and meditating on the truths revealed by seers and sages. Life is an limitless alternative to find out about ourselves. Our errors and weaknesses give us the chance to develop and our errors allow us to study. The examination of our actions turns into a mirror to see our acutely aware and unconscious motives, ideas and wishes extra clearly. The yogic observe of Svadhyaya additionally consists of the research of sacred and non secular texts as a information to our inside world through which our true selves reside. Self-study requires each seeing who we’re within the second and seeing past our current state to be able to notice our reference to the divine.
  5. Ishvara Pranidhana (Surrender and self-surrender) is the give up, give up and give up of the fruits of 1's observe to the next energy. This private statement brings collectively two widespread facets of yoga: the give up to one thing higher than the self and the selfless motion of karma yoga. Patanjali tells us that to be able to obtain the purpose of yoga we should dissolve our self-centered nature and let go of our fixed identification with ourselves. For this to occur, our yoga observe and all the advantages that we will draw from our observe should be seen as a suggestion for one thing higher than ourselves. Through this easy act of give up, we’re reminded of our connection to our greater energy and our yoga observe turns into sacred and full of grace, inside peace and nice love.

Tips for working towards the Niyamas

The fundamental hyperlinks of Patanjali's eightfold yoga path, Yama and Niyama, kind a stable basis and a robust container in order that the yogini can penetrate the deeper ranges of yoga with focus, inside energy and success. By merely studying and searching on the Niyamas, we start to observe them. However, the each day observe of aligning our ideas, behaviors, and actions with these private pointers will be troublesome and difficult. Ideally, the observe of the Niyamas ought to be approached slowly over a few years and mixed with a particular hatha yoga observe.

For one of the best success, observe making use of the Niyamas to your life utilizing a structured methodology reminiscent of the next seven steps. Take one step at a time and proceed with compassion and with out worrying about perfection. As Swami Sri Kripalvanandaji stated, "If you choose one petal from the garland of Yamas and Niyamas, the entire garland will follow."

  1. Start with a niyama. Begin by studying, understanding, and considering every of the 5 Niyamas. As you ponder how every precept would evolve in your present life, notice your ideas and emotional responses to adjustments to help every one. You'll probably discover one or two which have a heavy load on you. Depending on the quantity of inside energy and the help from the group, you possibly can select to begin with essentially the most burdened or go away it for later. Make a transparent and acutely aware choice to dedicate your self to working towards this niyama for a set time frame. A great begin is 40 days of targeted observe.
  2. Start working towards in your mat. Begin to observe the notice and skillful exertion of your chosen observance in your yoga mat. Use your niyama because the intention or sankalpa of your observe and let it’s the information for the way you interact together with your breath and physique as you stream from pose to pose. Don't decide when your makes an attempt fail, simply swear to strive once more. Be affected person, type, and compassionate, but additionally be dedicated, willful, and targeted.
  3. Reflect and monitor your progress. Keep a journal or discover another methodology to trace your engagement and progress. It is sort of attainable that you’ll come throughout revelations or uncover vital insights that will likely be useful to doc. Thinking and reflecting in your expertise of working towards the Niyamas will even be useful in additional incorporating them into your yoga observe and life.
  4. Deepen your statement and exploration. If you proceed to give attention to a niyama as you progress by way of your yoga or meditation observe, you’ll start to note patterns and habits in your ideas and feelings. Take a while to tug the strings of those patterns and decide the place they got here from. These patterns will almost definitely come from a samskara, an ingrained wheel of struggling. Niyamas are a strong software to direct the sunshine of consciousness onto these darkish and murky areas of the self and to reprogram our samskaras.
  5. Take your niyama off your mat. Once you are feeling comfy and competent in making use of your chosen observance in your yoga or meditation observe, you possibly can start to observe it in your each day life. As you progress out of the managed and outlined setting of your observe, it’s possible you’ll really feel like you’re retreating in your progress. Note all facets of your life (work, household, relationships, well being, cash, and so on.) that seem like kryptonite to your Niyama. If this space is just too difficult or overwhelming, after you will have succeeded within the different facets of your life, give your self permission to observe your niyama.
  6. Commit to the subsequent niyama. Once you are feeling that the problem and trouble of working towards your private adherence has subsided, it might be time to commit to a different. As your inside consciousness will increase, you could possibly settle for multiple niyama at a time, however it’s nonetheless beneficial to not rush into the observe of niyamas. Before deciding on a brand new one, you need to replicate in your earlier expertise and resolve on adjustments or refinements to your strategy.
  7. Peel the onion additional. The Niyamas are thought-about to be vows that you just take for all of yoga observe. Practice will get simpler over time, however you’ll probably discover that every statement has a number of completely different ranges of observe and discovery. You can select how deeply and fully you observe every one – solely absolutely devoted audio system ought to swear to observe the Niyamas fully and fully. As you proceed to peel off the layers of every niyama, your inside transformation will deepen, your consciousness will likely be strengthened, and your coronary heart and thoughts will likely be purified.
  8. Discover different limbs and the philosophy of yoga. These first two limbs of Patanjali's Yoga Sutra present a stable basis for delving deeper into the deeper practices and philosophies of yoga. The Yoga Sutra is simply one of many many core texts that may inform a yogi and result in a state of oneness and liberation. The extra understanding you will have of those many subtle sides, the extra knowledge you possibly can achieve to be able to expertise the jewel of yoga.

Goals of the Niyamas

Practically talking, working towards the Niyamas creates a robust and pure bodily container for the deeper practices of yoga. When we observe the Niyamas, we search more healthy, holier, and extra peaceable lives whereas strengthening our powers of consciousness, will, willpower, and discernment. The extra we observe acutely aware and skillful motion, the better it turns into to navigate by way of robust feelings and damaging thought patterns – and the much less probably it’s that we act by way of unconscious programming.

Engaging in these practices is just not a straightforward activity, but it surely does strengthen our characters, enhance {our relationships} with others, deepen our equanimity, and promote our progress on the trail of yoga.

Books to check and observe on

Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and the Yamas and Niyamas are wealthy philosophical matters that may be explored and studied in depth. If you need to research and deepen these practices, you need to learn a number of particular books on the topic. Below are our suggestions that you need to learn to study extra:

In the Book of Yoga Sutras

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