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नियम The Niyamas

Posted by Julie Andres on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 Under: niyamas
The yamas are universal tenets, the first of yoga's eight limbs. When practiced mindfully, they weave a moral fabric that forms a base from which we live. These encompass principles that most of us learn right from the beginning - don't lie, cheat, steal, hurt ... but it goes much deeper than that.
My previous postings have focused on the yamas, exploring them in a brief manner. Volumes could be written about each one (and have been); my intention is to ignite a spirit of inquiry in myself, and maybe in others as well.
My musings on the yamas has shown me that they are, indeed, like the fibres of a weaving - together they create a whole that fills and envelops us with the capacity for right mindfulness and right action. In my examination of the yamas, I found a common theme to be the ways that we have conditioned our minds to allow some measure of transgression - great or small - in each area. Our work in practicing yoga is to change our habits and curb our destructive self-permissions. That's where mindfulness comes in. Once we can see how we behave by paying attention to our thoughts we can consciously work to make improvements in our actions.
I continue my writings with sketches of the second of yoga's eight limbs as outlined in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras - the niyamas - personal observances. In our practice of the niyamas we form our unique relationship with yoga. This can be done with focus as we develop our daily sadhana, particularly through mantra and meditation. I find that setting the intention each morning to learn about and practice the yamas and niyamas to be profound and quantifiable. My thoughts, responses and actions are shifting over time. Being patient with myself feels like it is paying off.
The five niyamas are saucha (purity), sahtosha (contentment), tapas (austerity), svadyaya (spiritual studies), and ishvara pranidhana (constant devotion to the Divine). My next blog entry will be about saucha.

"It's not likely that we will master each of these precepts right from the start, especially given the underlying imbalances around us. But contemplating and doing our best to embrace and live them raises our consciousness and helps to make us better citizens of the world."

Bhava Ram, The 8 Limbs of Yoga - Pathway to Liberation, 2009; Deep Yoga, Coronado, CA

In : niyamas 

Tags: yoga  ashtanga  eight limbs  yamas  niyamas  mindfullness  right action  patanjali's yoga sutras 

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