About the Practice of Yama and Niyama…

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The first Yogic Scholar to document the Tenets for the science of Hatha Yoga was Shri Patanjali in his text Hatha Yoga Pradipika, written at least 3,000 years ago in India.  Hatha Yoga science is not a religion, it is a philosophy for the Art of conscious living.  Hatha Yoga science embraces all faiths, creeds and religions.  The original text was written in Sanskrit and the following is a transliteration that approximates the original context.  Do know Classical Indian Hatha Yoga was scientifically developed as a “101” course to allow people to be strong enough in mind and physical body to be able to sit still for extended periods of time for Raja Yoga: Kriya Yoga/meditation to develop the highest state of Conscious Living. 

There are ten tenets: five Yama known as the ethical practices and five Niyama or conscious observances.  In today’s post I will share the five Yama/Ethical Practices:

AhismaNon-violence.  Ahisma means causing no harm to any living being, including oneself, in thought, word or deed.  Non-violence is the basis of all the other Yama and Niyama.  True non-violence is love.

SatyaTruth.  Satya means not only abstaining from falsehood, but also seeing the inherent good in everyone.  Whenever possible, practicing periods of silence will greatly support one in this Yama.  A suggestion: try to be silent one morning or even one day in the week.  If that is not possible , create times where social interaction is minimized, (including FaceBook and internet!), in which you only speak when necessary with truth and sweetness.

AsetyaNon-stealing.  Asetya also means releasing the desire to possess that which belongs to another.

AparigrahaNon-possessiveness.  We all need certain possessions.  However, many of us not only accumulate more than we need, but continually desire even further luxuries.  Thus engaged, we disturb our peace of mind.  The more simply we live, the more energy can be devoted to our spiritual practice.

Brahmacharyamoderation.  Through Brahmacharya in all areas of our lives, the seeker saves, and thus accumulates great energy that can be channeled into his/her spiritual experience.  This practice is imperative for those wishing to embark upon the spiritual path.

Please do look for part two: Niyama in the next post.  Perhaps take some time to reflect on what the above Yama signifies for you.  For those who keep a journal the Yama and Niyama give us much to think and weave into our daily thoughts and actions.  Best wishes for deep Reflection, Namaste.

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190 responses »

  1. I found it so fascinating how the practice of yoga (which the article states) was earliest documented 3,000 years ago, and how it embraces all religions and faiths and what have you. That being said, it makes me wonder how much the practice has changed, if at all, since then. I know that in India Hatha yoga remains genuine and traditional but many classes over here are questionable whether they’re serious for the benefits or for the “workout” that is included with the practice. Also, the fact that it was stated 3,000 years ago that Hatha yoga was to accept all faiths must’ve been a powerful statement. This practice is such an important part of Indian culture that this detail was surprising.

    The five yama or ethical practices in this entry are so direct that I feel like I actually understand them. Since mostly everything about yoga is stated in a different language and may not pertain to me at all, it’s sometimes hard to follow. I feel that this isn’t the case with these. Also, they seem like such simple, moral things to follow but can be very complex. Even practicing Ahisma can be difficult because it can be hard for someone to love themselves, and this practice is saying you must in order to be non-violent. I see these yamas a sort of “don’ts” in life.

    I read an article saying that recently, Lulu Lemon launched a new bag series that includes the five yamas. Lulu Lemon mistakenly used the term “brahmacharya” on their bags which translates in Sanskrit to celibacy. Apparently, Lulu’s marketing team failed to do any research before creating this shopper series exploring the yamas as the side of the bag defines brahmacharya as moderation and gives a short explanation for it. I read this article because I’m starting to have distaste towards people practicing yoga and not taking it seriously, or exploiting yoga to look cool or show that you have a different side that may be unique.

  2. Amber Ferguson
    What drives people away from yoga, is the thought that it has something to do with a particular religion. However this is not the case. It is a philosophy of art and conscious living. There are ten tenets in total. Five Yama known as the ethical practices, and five Niyama or conscious observances. Some examples of Yama are; Ahisma- non-violence, Satya- truth, Asetya- non-stealing, Aparigraha- non-possessiveness, and Brahmacharya- moderation.
    These five Yama ethical practices is not just to be achieved during yoga. This is what we should strive to achieve daily. If an individual were to choose to live their lives with all of these practices in mind, the energy that is projected into the universal in a whole will be much more positive. It is understandable as to why someone who believe this is a religious practice. As a Christian, I do my very best to live my life this way day by day.
    I am a big fan of the story and history of Gandhi. This is almost exactly what he believed in. He lived his life by these ethical practices. A famous quote of his “Be the change that you want to see in the world”, says it all. What you project and the way you live your life are the energies that the world receives. With the Yama ethical practices, positive and good vibes are released in the universal.

  3. It’s amazing how old yoga is. Shri Patamjali’s Hatha Yoga Pradipika is 3,000 years old. Yoga to me can be a universal thing that everyone can participate in. It is way of living that can be included in any style of living. Nothing is required to practice this philosophy, just your body and soul.
    There are five yama which are ethical practices and five niyama which are conscious observations. The yama I most relate to would be satya or truth. We live in world where your suppose to look and act a certain way, especially in high school and college. If your aren’t then your outcasted. Your not cool or attractive enough. Im lucky to in such diverse place such as Purchase that there is more variety in who you can be. Still there is a standard for what cool and acceptable is. People, trying to fit in, will then change who they truly are to fit that mold.
    I do this sometimes to. As stated in the article that everyone should practice periods of silence. This is something I greatly enjoy and, as being an introvert, may require extra periods of silence. This sometime puts me apart from society’s standards of what a college kid should be. The stereotype that one should be out all night and should always be with a group of friends when I would rather be alone on my dorm in the middle of the afternoon. I’ve learn to accept that side of me and to take time for myself whenever I have the change, even if it means turning down the opportunity to fulfill society’s standards.

  4. I genuinely enjoyed learning about the Yama, or the ethical practices. I am a psychology and theatre and performance double major, and I am a strong willed, however hypocritical, believer that you must love yourself before anyone else can love you. Negativity comes to those who think negative thoughts, and vice versa in regards to positivity. As I mentioned at our last yoga class, however, I am a negative person, and will be the first person to admit that I do not love myself. I do not remember thinking to myself that I am beautiful, or I am loved, and now knowing that Ahisma is the basis for the rest of the Yama practice, I know now that self-love is important in every culture, and in every practice. Satya also ties in with Ahisma, because one must be honest with him or herself to allow love to enter and flow. If a negative thought enters the brain, it is hard to push it out, and it is hard to remain silent in the face of gossip or peer pressure. These two practices in the larger Yama practice draw me in the strongest, because I am aware that I lie to myself everyday, whether it be laying in bed and telling myself that there is no point for me to go to class, or taking a test and telling myself that I am not intelligent. I am in desperate need of positivity and self-love, and the first step I need to take is to tell myself that I do not deserve to hurt myself, and I am worthy of love.
    I will admit that I live in a middle-class home, with two loving parents, three older brothers, and two dogs. I attend a beautiful college with the luxury of not having to worry about how much money I can spend that week. However, I always find myself desiring more. I find myself hoping that I graduate with honors, or I have the ability to attend a great graduate school for drama therapy. I look at someone skateboarding across campus and wish I had their talents, or a fellow student in class and desire their intelligence. While Asetya speaks of non-stealing in the physical sense, I interpret it as not stealing the limelight. I view it as having the ability to sit and congratulate another for their accomplishments without trying to draw attention away. This correlates with Aparigraha, that which reminds me of “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood. Atwood tells the story of a dystopian society, where everyone has a role. The handmaids are considered the “birth-givers,” and their only goal is to produce a child in order to be free from this society. They display the opposite of Aparigraha, as they clearly portray jealousy on their faces when they come in contact with women who are pregnant, or who have escaped the society of Gilead that they live in. This jealousy ultimately leads to the principal character’s downfall, and I believe that if we do not follow the Aparigraha practice in our everyday life, we will have the opportunity to meet her same fate.
    In the final portion of the overarching Yama practice, Brahmacharya speaks of moderation, a foreign word to my internal dictionary. I have always been someone who puts their all into everything they complete, until finally burning out when another project comes into play. I have finally realized that life is not about how much you do, but how well you do what you take part in. I have figured out that I need to incorporate moderation into my daily life so I can spend more time bettering my spiritual experience, instead of laying in bed because I crossed over my limits. The Yama practice really speaks to me, because I struggle with my spirituality, and I am hoping that, if I slowly start taking steps in the Yama practice, I will find my way down the path easier than before.

  5. In reading about the Yama ethical practices I found that many of these I use in my daily life. Many of these seem to be things that many people would normally do however I was unaware that they would have any bearings in the world of yoga and self-wellness. However, I am better at doing some than others.

    For example, I am working on becoming a more truthful person. Satya focuses on only speaking the truth and in some exercises, not even speaking unless you are entirely certain that you are speaking from the truth and only the truth. Aparigraha is the second practice I am trying to improve upon. I do desire material things, however I am consciously aware that they will only momentarily fill me with joy and then I will no longer be happy and then the cycle will only repeat. I am trying to devote energy into becoming a better person overall and not funneling energies into material possessions. Brahmacharya is another section in which I do not feel I excel in as I am not a spiritual person at all. I find it hard to put energy into spiritual practices that I know I will have a difficult time following.

    I however feel I am doing quite well in certain aspects of this. Such as Ahisma. I would never dream of intentionally causing harm to another person. I have had self depreciating thoughts before but I feel that everybody has these at least to some extent and that it becomes difficult to completely erase one’s even occasional bad self thoughts or actions.

  6. Learning about the practice of Yama and Niyama rather intriguing and I was surprised that the practice of Hatha Yoga was based on science and not religion. It excited me to find out that Hatha Yoga included all religions and cultures, this is crucial to the spread of more mindful practices. The practice should be more utilized in today’s culture especially because of the rapid pace people live day to day. Technology seems to distract us from being present to the point where you can’t have a conversation without someone checking there phone.
    All five Yama/ Ethical practices are realistic to become a well-rounded individual. Three that should be practiced more by the population of my generation is Satya, Aparigraha, and Brahmacharya. Social media platforms allow people to have an online presence that doesn’t reflect their truth. By practicing silence one will become in tune with there own soul and learn about there true self. In time people would accept themselves and wont feel the need to curate their online presence. Aparigraha is also a major way to become in tune with you’re true needs. This practice may keep people grounded and realize how lucky they are. Sometimes stress over homework may come over us but we must remind our self how lucky we are to be able to receive an education. Lastly, Brahmacharya, moderation can allow us to begin our journey to higher self with open arms.

  7. When looking into all of the different elements that encompass the Eightfold Path of Ashtanga, and directing some of them, it is interesting to me how not just beneficial they can be, but also how simple they are to act upon.

    The concept of yoga as a whole is complex, yes, but a lot of it has to do with being in tune with yourself along with those around you. As someone who deals with anxiety it is very hard to get out of my mind. A lot of times I feel very much trapped within it, and assume that is the reality that surrounds me. A lot of the things that I have practiced prior to yoga are similar to some of these concepts of Yama and Niyama. Being good towards yourself was always important, but also acts of mindfulness therapy remind me of some of the parts of Yama and Niyama. Recognizing things like purity and contentment, along with acts of non-violence, truth and moderation are already important factors to me. Also, noticing the asanas that I have already practiced and how they can reflect my emotions is also a very interesting point and something that I want to consider more in the future.

    By practicing the remaining acts of Yama, Niyama along with the asanas that have been discussed, I will hopefully continue to feel a significant difference, and benefit my overall health and well being.

    Monday 6:30-9:50

  8. ~Isaiah

    After reading the ten tenets I found myself agreeing with basically all of them. However, one stood a bit from the rest for me: Aparigraha. I found this one to be extra important because I feel the society we live in is only putting more and more power into the dollar and it is leading many to have tunnel vision on becoming rich and in the process not pay any attention to life and their minds and bodies. When one is not satisfied with what they need they become addicted to consuming and they start an unhealthy cycle that usually cannot be quelled. I think if people took more time to care for their bodies and their mental health through methods such as yoga, people would be a lot more happy in general.

  9. “Hatha Yoga is not a religion, it is the philosophy for the art of conscious living”- this introduction was again a very helpful explanation for understanding my intentions in my practice. I am anxious to further develop my practice with these five concepts in mind, and look forward to learning about and reflecting on the rest.

    A few ideas stuck out at me in particular:

    In considering non-violence, I feel very comfortable with the concept of ashram and find it necessary in our current state of being as a species. Violence is undeniably present in 2016, and continues to infect our species at an alarming rate.Also relevant is truth: I feel as though it is not only important to reveal truth to others but also to yourself, letting yourself develop organically. Aparigraha is indeed necessary to consider in the 21st century western society where so much of our lives rely on unnecessary things such as apps and video games which take us away from a greater consciousness instead of inhibiting it. I am alway reminding myself of which of my positions are necessary and those that are not.

    Again- having these concepts with me and attempting to explore them further in my practice is something I look very much forward to. Additionally, I hope to spread the messages which support them. Equally as compelling is learning the 3,000 + years of history of the science of yoga. The subject seems to be very accepting of those whom have interest in studying it, and its rich teachings.

  10. When we do yoga, we do a lot of different things with our bodies and I think these posts helped explain a little more of what yoga is composed of. There are many different techniques that we practice and they don’t all feel the same or have the same effect on us. There are different practices for different achievements and these posts explain them and their importance.
    Having done some of them before reading about them was significant in my understanding because you feel the difference before you know whether or not they’re doing what they say they are. It’s more about the conscious act of participating and focusing on doing everything for a purpose—not necessarily for an outcome.
    I have done Isha Kriya five times this week—twice since our last yoga class and each time I notice I am more comfortable and appreciative of its benefits. I do it in my room on my bed with my back against the wall. Challenges are allowing myself to let go and focus for 20 minutes—I still get distracted midway but then adjust thoughts. I enjoy the practice in the beginning of my day before I leave my apartment for the day. Today I did it in the middle of the day. I wasn’t feeling too well this morning—I was tired and cold, not feeling very motivated, but at around 5pm I decided to do Isha Kriya. Right away I felt somewhat better and did my homework. It gave me that boost of energy/motivation I needed. It clears my head of the thoughts that hold me back, because it makes me focus on what is really important.

  11. After reading both posts on Yama and niyama I feel like I have more of an insight of what happens with my body and gained insight of specific tools that help me recieve full benefits. I have practiced isha kyria about 10 times this week, all at different times of the day which allowed me to figure out what time of the day I like to practice it which is at noon and at night. Hatha yoga has been practiced for centuries and its still around today because it doesnt belong to any religion. Isha Kryia has allowed me to be strong minded and to discipline myself which has just made me feel at peace.

  12. I find it interesting that the text doesn’t state that this is a religion, but then states tenants similar to something like The Ten Commandments. I think its powerful and important that we not only do good upon others and ourselves for the benefit of reward or the promise of a nice afterlife. Putting the tenants in this context is better because it focuses on how following these rules will help create inner balance and peace within yourself.

  13. Aliena Ali

    Of the five ethical practices, aparigraha, meaning non-possessiveness stood out to me the most. In comparison to the other four ethical practices, I saw this as an umbrella term for the rest of the ethical practices. I feel like desire for material possession is one of man’s biggest problems We all desire materials whether they are lavish or necessity – still we allow these desires to get the best of us often time. I feel as though if we can somehow find it in ourself to crave less of the unnecessary things that we do, we can find a greater deal of inner peace.

    I completed the Isha Kriya four times this week for about ten to fifteen minutes each in my room. I practiced the meditation three times at night and once in the morning. I follow along with the video and am able to keep time in that way. From past experience, I’ve found that I tend to meditate better in the evening because that is when I find that I am at my most mentally available. However, I would like to get myself to the point where I can able to meditate for a few minutes regardless of my hectic schedule. This is why I tried meditating once in the morning. The first few times I tried doing so, I was very new to performing the Isha Kriya and found it almost impossible to keep still. This time around, keeping still was not a big of an issue and I was even able to keep my mind at bay. Also, since I was feeling some discomfort last time, I rested my back against my closet for the duration of the meditations.

  14. Yama, or the ethical practices, are guidelines on how to better oneself. The breakdown of the original sanskrit text and the translation helps to marry the eastern and western worlds. It allows us to connect with the ancient text, and mold it according to our world now. Yama is broken down into five practices: Ahisma, Satya, Asetya, Aparigraha, and Brahmacharya. At first, these tenets seem obvious–something that we are taught from a very young age. However, the root meanings of these words can often get lost within us as we grow older. For example, Asetya can be translated into “not stealing.” This doesn’t mean simply not taking away something physical from another person. It could mean not robbing yourself of opportunities, sleep, good nutrition. In the article, it is defined as, “…releasing the desire to possess that which belongs to another.”
    The first of the other four tenets, Ahisma, translates to non-violence. Non-violence of all types is the basis of Ahisma. This also parrots the basis of self love. Being kind to yourself, others, and nature, allows for a certain degree of self-fulfillment I find. When you allow room for love all all types to come in, you see life in a different way. This also ties into the concepts of vegetarianism and veganism, with respect for all forms of life. As the article states, “True non-violence is love.” The second is Satya, or truth. The connection between silence and self reflection is created. By taking moments to separate yourself from the world, you can look into yourself and see your true feelings in regards to people, and events.
    Next, we examine Aparipraha, or non-possessiveness. This takes immense strength to go into oneself and find exactly what we need as individuals. In Western society, we are blessed with overabundance. This does not only apply to items such as food. Media saturation, which can lead to lowered confidence and self esteem. I don’t believe this calls for the banishing of all that we desire, but I do think it’s important to understand what you truly need in life. Lastly, comes Brahmacharya. This does tie into Aparipraha, with the basic concept being that of moderation. By understanding what you need, and including moderation into all aspects.
    After reading about the five Yama, I realize that continuous education regarding Hatha Yoga subjects are becoming more, and more important to me. As I continue to become more conscious, and put the Tenets, the Kriya, and yogasanas into action, I feel all the more comfortable and calm in my skin. This week, I was able to practice the Kriya five times. I have been practicing with the original video when I feel I am having difficulty practicing, and without when I feel rather focused. The video helps me to time myself, with the video being around 18 minutes. I tend to practice in my living on the floor, where it is quite roomy.

  15. This was a truly inspiring post. I have for a long time considered the benefits of veganism and this article has given me a lot more information on the subject. It was very different from other types of information on veganism. I really enjoyed this post.

  16. Learning about the practice of Yama and Niyama was so interesting. I appreciate that that Hatha Yoga includes all religions and cultures, which is very important in spreading love, understanding and open-mindedness. I think everyone could benefit from embracing these practices. It is a very tense time in America, and I think as a society we have forgotten how to talk to one another. We focus on listening to respond rather than listening to understand, as well as distracting ourselves with easily accessible technology.

    All five Yama/ Ethical practices are very similar to the codes or morals that society preaches but doesn’t necessarily follow through with. They are all important and are meant to improve our quality of life by investing time and thought into how we treat others and ourselves.

    In reading about the Yama ethical practices I found that many of these I use in my daily life and work towards improving. I would like to improve my Brahmacharya and Satya. Focusing on the truth to abstain from negativity and falsehood is something that can be very hard. I would like to practice silence and see how it changes my perspective. I would also like to increase my energy in order to better pursue spiritual practices.

  17. I like how the five Yama/Ethical practices can be molded into anyone’s life, regardless of their faith or religion. It says a lot when these practices can be adapted so fluidly. They are really mindful and beautiful. I especially liked Satya, and I think that practice really goes hand in hand with mindfulness. It shouldn’t be hard to follow these practices but we are flawed human beings and live in a world of complexities and nothing is simple. But I do believe these practices can be achieved and incorporating them into our lives can be extraordinarily beneficial not only to us, but to others around us.

    – Lilah Tsudome

  18. The techniques of Yama and Niyama are more of a philosophical technique than a regular yoga technique. I thought it was interesting because it is brings a peaceful thought to your mind. It also helps people feel better about themselves because they know they won’t commit these acts. I have been practicing the Isha Kirya three times a week and I have practicing it in my room around night time because it helps de-stress for the day.

  19. It’s amazing how old yoga is, and how many religions and cultures it includes and how it is stated in the article, “it is not a religion, it is a philosophy for the Art of conscious living”. I like the idea of the five Yamas, I can relate to Satya which is also truth and Brahmacharya which is also moderation. I think in practicing Hatha Yoga and learning about it has really brought more meaning to yoga for me. I have done yoga in the past, but never thought of how much history and meaning was behind it.

    I have practiced the Isha Kriya, 4 times this week. I have noticed that I feel more relaxed, in tuned with my inner being and mind and feel less stressed. It helps me to practice in the morning to start my day off right but also at night before I go to sleep for a better sleep and an easier time falling asleep.

  20. The more I read about the foundations of Hatha Yoga and the various branches of practice and cognitive understanding that make up the philosophy, the more I wish I had begun to learn about Hatha Yoga earlier. In a more societal perspective, it’s not impractical to believe that if more people were open to accepting even a portion of the teachings of Hatha Yoga that the world would be a better place, a ridiculous request of such a self-absorbed and materially possessive society, I know.

    I found the part about silence in the Satya Tenet to be the most interesting part of the first half of the ten Tenets. To suggest silence for an entire day, especially including social media, would be nearly impossible for the vast majority of the population. I find it hard to believe I’d be able to do it, yet the challenge is what makes it the most tempting. However, the compromise of minimizing interaction is certainly attainable, and I’d be curious to see what would result from such practice.

    Isha Kriya Response:

    I’ve been able to practice the Kriya three times already this week, and I plan on doing it at least once more this weekend. One thing I’ve noticed is a slight feeling of weightlessness (as I hope is the intent) the more I figure out how to immerse myself. It’s not incredibly easy, as I still find my mind wandering, and the moment does not last as long as it should, but the progression already from the beginning of the semester is certainly noticeable.

  21. I read this article as well as the next one on the five Niyama and while I don’t think the tenants are philosophies I have never come across before it is profound to me that they keep coming up in my life. Obviously, the practice of non-violence is a subject that will always be talked about but Santosha is also something I am very aware of everyday. I must admit though, while I agree with these practices and their benefits I do at times consciously not follow them. For example, Aparigraha or non-possessiveness is something I do comprehend. I understand that we can be distracted by our material possessions and let them control us and the acquisition of such object control us. But I don’t always believe that’s a bad thing. What motivates you can be hard to find, what pushes you to achieve your goals is at times fickle. For some people, however, motivation is those material things. It can be very small, for example when I was a kid my mother would motivate me to get my reading done with a small snack if I completed it. Materialistic motivation may not be the strongest motivation but I don’t think it’s the worst.

    I was also conflicted when it came to Saucha, the idea of so much being impure and vexed is hard to agree with. I understand that in order to reach this goal of conscious living you need to do it, but it seems that at that point you are getting rid of so much and if everyone in the world adopted this philosophy we would lose so many things we love. Perhaps I am uncertain about what an “impurity” is. But if I don’t give up all my impurities (which I don’t think I intend to do) and continue to practice Hatha Yoga then am I really practicing Hatha Yoga? Is there a happy medium?

    I try to keep a very open mind, always looking to try new things. I hope that throughout this semester I can hone in on what these tenants are saying and how they will help me reach a level of understanding that would have otherwise been impossible.

    -Laskaris

    I have practiced my IK one time so far this week. Judging from my times last week experimenting with morning, afternoon and night I have decided to continue with the night time practice. I found that to be the best time for me and there was someone in our class who mentioned trying to shy away from technology that close to bed time that I agree with. My biggest issue now is clearing my head. I am often distracted but practice makes perfect.

    • Yes be patient with the yogic tenets, and yourself, in time the mysteries will become answers. Do keep your IK practice going it’s important for your success on the mat and off the mat, Namaste

  22. SAMANTHA COFFEY

    Journal Entry #3

    “About the Practice of Yama & Niyama”

    This passage has been extremely eye opening. Coming to think of yoga and specifically the practice of Hatha Yoga as being a “science” is quite interesting. This reading was worded almost like the pages of a textbook or a pamphlet, easy to follow with clear message and even included vocabulary. When you label something as being scientific and therefore proven it tends to be a little easier to swallow. Some who come into yoga for the first time or those that avoid it all together fall into this category of people that choose to not be more open to the idea. Everyone’s automatic assumption of doing yoga is that it’s just “fancy stretching” or some type of strictly spiritual path that requires some type of religious belief to do it, or rather they see pictures of people doing this complicated poses and they think, “I’m not flexible enough for yoga”. To read about yoga as being a scientific course that can prove to not only make you feel better than your FDA approved advil but to also leave you living your best life… who wouldn’t feel better about it? I absolutely love yoga and the way it makes me feel. With every assignment I feel my opinion of the practice strengthening. The passage starts off saying, “Hatha Yoga is not a religion. It’s a philosophy…” It is the foundation work for the structure of your whole being!

    “Isha Kriya” (weekly hw)

    I practiced the Isha Kriya 3 times this week:

    Tuesday 2/14 @ 4:00 pm
    Wednesday 2/15 @ 11:30 am
    Wednesday 2/15 @ 9:00 pm

    I am loving the way I feel after each kriya practice. I often find myself very preoccupied with life and overwhelmed with the tasks of everyday life, so sometimes I feel that I really don’t want to set aside the period of time required for the Isha Kriya… but I am always thankful after I do. I look forward to the time when I no longer notice the worries of life and the kriya becomes second nature. Being stressed out and busy really kills your spirit. It tears you down and makes you feel like you’re almost physically ill. But I’m coming to realize that the Isha Kriya works like a tonic.

  23. These five Yama tenets make complete sense in achieving inner peace. I already strive to accomplish these values in my everyday life, hoping to one day live a completely minimalist lifestyle. It is also important to have empathy and forgiveness towards others, kindness towards animals and our earth, and balance in our priorities. I appreciate that these values are directed toward the self, unlike the Ten Commandments, for example, which are made to gain acceptance from Jesus Christ. Yama are ethics given to help guide yourself to a peaceful existence, and are followed because you yourself believe in them which is important to me.

    Isha Kriya:

    Thursday February 16
    Friday February 17
    Saturday February 18

    I decided to try practicing in the morning this week, and it has been very beneficial in clearing my mind before my day starts, helping me to remain focusing and organized throughout my classes. I honestly think I may switch the time that I practice this meditation depending on my needs of that day. I still find it helpful to practice before bed sometimes as it helps me sleep more deeply and peacefully.

  24. The importance of non-violence and doing no harm (ahisma) spoke to me. I am only speaking from my own experience, but I feel that a constant message that was given to me as a child was to “do good.” I can’t say it is a bad message, but as I got older, I realized that perhaps it was a bit presumptuous of me to impose my “good act” on others. We all see things from a different lens and what may be a good act from my perspective, might inhibit or harm someone else. I’m talking about something as simple as interrupting someone if they are struggling to find a word. Our instinct is to help out that person, but at the same time, it can have an effect on one’s self-esteem. Or when a group of missionaries feel that their religion helped them, personally and assume that it will have the same affect on others. These people have good intentions, and they are “doing good,” by their standards, but harm can come from this. It is the law of unintended consequences. Doing no harm comes from a purer place. The ego isn’t making decisions for others. I do my best to not assume what is right for others. All I judge is what seems to work for me.

    Isha Kriya

    I have practiced 3 times this week. I had a 13 hour day of classes on Thursday, which was, of course, overwhelming to even think about it. Instead of resenting my 9am class and sluggishly dragging myself to school, I got up a little early, to practice IK. Once I completed my practice, I felt a different attitude. I can’t say that I was skipping with excitement about the thought of the long day ahead, but I felt a sense of calm. I just chipped away at each class/hour, and the next thing I know, I had a productive day!

  25. Although I believe religion is important, I am not religious myself. I do believe that having a sense of self and morals is important and I appreciate the philosophy of Yama and Niyama for that reason. While embracing all religions, it also can provide somewhat of a religion for those who don’t follow one. I can see how providing ethical and conscious tenets while practicing Hatha Yoga and Isha Kriya would be helpful, because it would allow for one to have a clear mind while in practice. Brahmacharya is one tenet that many people, especially in western culture, should become more aware of. Overconsumption can lead to a plethora of issues in ones life that bleeds out to affect other people more than one might be aware of. Moderation is a much needed practice that people tend to forgot or are just not concerned with at all.

    Isha Kriya Response:
    I have not done Isha Kriya as much this week as I did last week however I have done many Hatha Yoga for beginners videos on Youtube. After doing about 3 of these videos over the course of two days, I practiced Isha Kriya again and I regret not doing it prior to Hatha Yoga practice because I feel like I messed with my progress from last week. It took me a little longer to focus on my breathing this time and let go of this weeks stresses. Nonetheless I still felt the benefits of Isha Kriya in my breathing and my posture.

    • Do keep to your Isha Kriya practice as it is a scientific practice that will keep your yogic energies balanced throughout the week. Also IK will slowly but surely help you build your breathing abilities which is necessary while deepening the yoga practice each week. Don’t cheat yourself, OM

  26. I always find tangible principles like the Yama tenets helpful because they give me clarity about whatever practice they are related to and provide a mindset for how to approach that practice. These tenets set a foundation for hatha yoga and serve as concrete starting points I can always refer back to when orienting myself before or during the times I practice yoga.

    I especially like the concept of Satya, or truth, because it is presented here as more all-encompassing than simply being honest with yourself and others. It is difficult to always see the inherent good in every person, but if we are being completely truthful, we know that virtually everyone has good qualities whether we recognize them or not. I agree with the mention of a connection between silence and truth, and feel that creating times of complete silence helps us find absolute truth. Without any distractions or outside noise, it is easier to dismiss any ancillary influences and be completely honest with ourselves. I try to find times when I can eliminate as much sound as possible to calm myself down and concentrate on whatever task I am immersed in. Before I start homework or practice yoga, I spend time making my environment as silent as possible. If I don’t, I will inevitably lose focus or find it impossible to put all of my concentration on my breath or the words I am saying or thinking. Stopping my work or practice to get up and shut a window or turn the fan off disorients me and detracts from whatever I am involved in, so it is crucial for me to create silence before I begin.

    Since last class, I have practiced my Isha Kriya every morning except one since our last class. I try to practice it every morning, but slept too late on Friday morning to practice before work. As I practice more, it becomes easier to make time for my Isha Kriya. I initially made sure to have the video as a guide, but then grew comfortable enough to say the phrases to myself without the accompanying sound. Now I am working on focusing on my breath and the phrases without saying them out loud sometimes, so that I can feel absolute silence while still having something to keep my focus. It is more difficult to shut out my other thoughts as a result, but I am hopeful that more practice will help.

  27. All these rules are great ways in making one feel better about their self, mainly moderation. I have seen so mainly failures in life due to people jumping to conclusions. While all these rules stand ground as most important, I believe that moderation is the one most overlooked. This is most likely because it has the least consequence when disobeyed.
    As of today, I have completed the Isha Kriya one time this week. I am still waking up much earlier than usual and find that I have a lot more energy to spare throughout the day. I had an experience where my foot fell asleep halfway through the session and I had to take a break to stretch it out.
    I am finding a significant improvement in my breathing. For the most part, I am able to consistently take breaths in the nose and out without losing track of myself. This is making the process much more fluid for me. I feel as if I am starting to ease into it more and more with each session.

  28. I am continually amazed at the depth of history behind yoga. When you think more deeply on the five Yama, they seem like a logical step up from the basis of yoga. Yoga is meant to focus on the mind on the body. The worldly things that the practitioner is asked to do without by following the Yama can be distractions when trying to focus on the connection between mind and body.
    Four of the five Yama, not including Ahisma, can be products of our fast paced, consumerist, image based society. We are all more concerned by the perception of others rather than taking care of the body and mind as one.

    I have been performing the Isha Kriya three times this week with the intention of of performing tonight as well. At the suggestion of my professor, I have performed the Kriya after waking and before sleeping on the two days a week I have neither class nor work. The meditation is very helpful and peaceful. It sets my days off on a good path. I have a sensation of sinking into the thing I’m sitting upon, even though I know I’m still stationary.

  29. I thought the combination of these five ethical reminders were quite beautiful. These five include Ahisma, non-violence, Satya, truth, Asetya, non-stealing, Aparigraha, non-possessiveness, and Brahmacharya, moderation. These moral grounds pave the way for conscious living. Conscious living I believe it not only the active and lived ideological grounds of love and balance for one’s self or one’s life but in fact for all people. The Yama preaches of ridding of all desires that are disastrous for selfless, considerate and empathetic living. This passage explicitly explains that to find inner-peace one must create that peace around them and that is accentuate in Satya, through seeing inherent good in everyone, Asetya, from denying the often, materialistic and consumptive tendency to want from another and Ahisma, the strict refrain from causing any harm to another or anothers. Appreciation for more simpler routes of living and goes along wonderfully with conscious living as everything that surrounds you is more than enough therefor you must do right by them by loving them and knowing that they are enough. This passage also emphasizes how the increasingly harmful desires of possessiveness, to cause harm to others when someone when their security is compromised, lying to others, stealing from others, and therefor, never grasping moderation in actuality drains the bank of energy that we were made to utilized for love and peace. I liked this passage and will hope to be assigned the second section, Niyama soon.
    This past week was an incredibly hectic one. Not only did my workload for my internship and classes pick up tremendously but issues with my family took the reigns of my cognitive focus. This week anxiety and stress prevailed. Missing class only disturbed my inner-peace and balance of anxiety even more so and I soon regretted it. Because of how busy I was I only was able to do it twice, both times unable to fully envelope myself within the practice and calm my thoughts of all of the work I had to do and how much more time I needed in the day to be a super-human. I felt off-centered, noticing the imbalance between my left and right side. I had relayed most of my physical and mental stress on my right side and it was difficult to relax it during meditation. The second section of the Isha Kriya though did suit to sooth me a little as the releasing of vocal breath simultaneously breathes out stresses tucked into my body and throat. Doing it this morning I felt much more relaxed than I had all week and I hope to revert back to the progress I was making prior to this stressful week.

    • Truthfully, IK should be done twice daily, to put in place the amount of balance to counter old patterns and to bring a new energetic pattern after 45 days. It sounds like you really need to adhere to this schedule to bring a new pattern into place, best wishes, OM

  30. I find it interesting that there while yoga has specific doctrines yet makes no claims of being a religion. As someone who relatively recently stopped being religious, it’s very refreshing. The idea that you can follow certain principles without having to have some form of formalized prayer is appealing, especially because these are generally agreeable ideas. Even from a western point of view, these ideas should be universal. However, in the Judaeo-Christian tradition there isn’t an equivalent idea for three of the five Yamas. As far as I am aware there is nothing written of truth, non-possessiveness, and moderation. Of course these ideas are encouraged, as they are all very good for the soul, but nothing official. I wonder why that is.
    I’ve practiced (or attempted to practice) Isha Kriya six times this week. I’m still mainly doing it in my dorm in the afternoon. Once or twice a noise (such as one my suite mates coming home) has snapped me out of it, I think a more seclusive spot may be in order. One thing I’ve been struggling with is posture, it’s hard to keep my back straight for so long and I find myself slouching a lot, sitting a chair helps a little but not totally. However I do find myself being able to focus on the mantra for longer and longer periods, I’m already controlling my thoughts better. Yesterday I had by my favorite experience with Kriya so far. I went on a hike and happened a upon a big rock overlooking a small lake, and seemed like a perfect spot to meditate. Meditating outside made a huge difference, feeling the wind and the sun, made me feel much for in control. And having something nice to look at when you open your eyes doesn’t hurt either!

    • Try to use a cushion or roll a towel for support for your back. Wonderful that you took advantage of the good weather and practiced your IK outside to boost the benefits, Namaste

  31. I tried to keep the Yama in mind throughout the week. The ones that come to mind most frequently are truth (Satya) and moderation (Brahmacharya). Truth is interesting to me in that more than finding some fact or holding some truth it is also a revogintion that people are compex – both good and bad. Truth is optimism in that sense. Moderation is becoming increasingly urgent to me. I find I eat and drink too much junk food and so in that sense I think about moderation all the time. But I’ve also come to think of moderation as the division of time and energy. Finding time to study or meditate is as important as finding good foods to eat.

    I had always thought of yoga as part of a religious practice and it is enlightening to think of it as a philosophy and health practice instead. That removes stigma and focuses on the health benefits and subsequently makes the moral standards like the Yama easier to understand in that context. I try to practice the Isha Kriya three times during the week. I didn’t often find times of extended silence this week so twice I did it in my room and once silently in the car. I notice the vibrations and the deepening of my breathing from beginning to end. I also noticed that I find it easier to keep my eyes closed the longer I meditate. I miss the group chanting in this respect as the vibrations become more resonant and palpable.

    -E. Nolan

  32. Last year I felt this utter need to live minimally. I tried cleaning out my closet and following the steps of Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. I lived more minimally for a while, but insignificant possessions made there way into my life again. During this reading I came across Aparigraha. This tenet brought a smile to my face and reminded of what I once tried to accomplish.
    I want to try to declutter my life again and try to use the tools that I have learned through yoga to do so. I feel as if I am embracing things my heart has always wanted, but didn’t have a name for.

    The other tenet that really spoke to me was Satya. I have been trying to work on this aspect of my life and make a more conscious effort to be loving and think loving thoughts. The practice of silence for a day sounds like such a good way to train myself to be more aware. I look forward to trying Satya on tuesday and seeing how it affects my mind.

    This week I practiced IK twice.
    I have found that the ohms instead of aaa’s have significantly helped quiet my mind.
    During the day I have tried to make a more conscious effort to tuck in my pelvis to protect my lower back so that when I meditate I don’t feel as much stress on my lower back. I feel as if Isha Kriya is reminding me to take personal time during the day to be still and pray. Although I haven’t practiced IK as much as I would like to, I am thankful that it has made me be more conscious of my spirituality.

    Times:
    Thursday 9:00p.m.
    Sunday 12:45 p.m.

    I plan on practicing IK on monday morning to see how it affects my day.

    • Try to allow yourself to keep to a schedule for the IK practice and it slowly but surely will unpeel layers and let you blossom, but it must be attended to for this to happen twice is not going to get you there, have confidence and don’t cheat yourself, Namaste

  33. It’s interesting how Hatha Yoga is not a religion, but it shares many of the parallels with religious guidelines and practies. In reading the above, I find yoga to be of great spiritual importance, in that its many practices yield benefits and ways for one to lead their lives, but unlike religion, it does not demand you to incorporate these guidelines in your life. For me, yoga is more of a leading tool, something that acts more as an older friend as opposed to a parent. These 5 ethical practices remind me somewhat of the 7 principles in Quakerism. Much like Hatha, Quaker philosophy is founded on the individual selecting aspects of the religion to better their lives and make them a more positive member of society through ethical and moral guidelines centered on one’s self, which I find more beneficial than certain aspects of major religions.

    I have practiced the Isha Kriya twice since our class last Wednesday. While I didn’t notice many differences since last week, I found that after watching the science behind yoga video, I’m looking forward to doing it with greater frewuency. After learning about the scientific benefits, I’d like for my body to yield more benefits from the yoga other than what the weekly class will provide. The video gave me this sense of encouragement and intrigue with how centering myself multiple times a week could help me in other aspects of life and I look forward to seeing how this pans out over the next three weeks that I will be looking at as a trial period in consciously furthering my Isha Kriya experience.

    -Sebastian Jean

  34. I found it very interesting that the practice of yoga has been around for over 3,000 years, and there are still people doing it an benefiting from it. It’s incredible to know that even though we are thousands of years apart, today we can practice what they did and experience the same results.

    Most of these yama practices would be very beneficial to today’s society. We are so wrapped up in ourselves and social media that we forget how to disconnect. We should pay more attention to Satya and Aparigraha. We need to remind ourselves of our presence in the world and be grateful of what we receive from the world, instead of taking everything we can get, for granted.

    I had the flu this week so I was unable to practice as much as I had intended. I had a 103 fever so when I did try I struggled a lot. I’m still not feeling great, but I will try to practice before I go to bed tonight and hopefully have some success.

  35. I enjoyed reading that Hatha Yoga is not a religion but a philosophy. It is comforting to know that it encourages and accepts all different beliefs. The 5 ethical practices were fascinating to read. Satya is a practice I feel I’ve been working on without even realizing. It’s fascinating to stay silent hearing the words from others around you whether you actually want to be engaged in the conversation or purposely stay out of it. Sometimes I will force myself to not engage in conversations that I do not agree with because I choose to not portray negative energy. This exercise can be a challenge at times. Something I see in myself that I need to work on is seeing the good in everyone therefore continuing to stay silent at times will help me to think more about my actions and my thoughts on others.
    This week I practiced Isha Kriya 3 times. I am happy to say that this week has been the most positive when practicing my meditation. I felt very comfortable and focused. On Thursday, in dance class, I had done a movement that really aggravated my hamstring and it was really painful to stretch the rest of the day. That night I practiced Isha Kriya to help me focus on the pain in a positive way to help relax the muscle. It was extremely beneficial to my body. Once completed I actually received a burst of positive energy. The next morning my leg pain had improved dramatically. I feel that as I continuously practice this meditation I think more positive thoughts.

  36. I resonated with all of the five Yama and was interested in thinking about how the opposite of each ( violence, lies, stealing, possessiveness and luxury) manifest in my own life. I think its very natural, but untruthful, for us to imagine ourselves in the best light. Our ego becomes an obstacle. So I thought to think of my own actions in terms of the opposites of the Yama. It was very refreshing but becomes difficult, like most people I am not violent in the strictest sense. Its not culturally appropriate to physically hurt another person. However I began to think about other forms of violence, psychological and spiritual, that manifest very acutely, without notice. How do we harm ourselves in the smallest of ways? Simple questions like these help me check in with myself. I also found it interesting to think about what I possess, what material objects do I find important and to what extent? I am studying photography at Purchase and something I’ve had to learn is to let things go, in a very non material way. At first I would get upset at myself when I couldn’t take a picture, for whatever reason, I had lost the moment and was upset I hadn’t gotten it, it wasn’t mine. I quickly realized how selfish that process is, how consumed I became in getting the photograph rather than letting certain things go. I now practice framing, in my mind, but am completely okay with letting certain things go, either by choice or by chance. For me it is not the distinction between living in the present and not being able to because of the camera, rather it was learning to become comfortable with not owning that particular moment.

    A separate idea that I had was how close these qualities are to the core of my own self but more generally, my family. My father was born in Africa and raised in Delhi, India, so many of these qualities are culturally engrained in him. He is not overtly religious but the society as a whole creates a space where these qualities are observed. They are part of the fabric of the culture, and very much a choice. There are ton’s of people who have grown up in and around India or Asia that do not observe these qualities, despite the fact that their cultures have traditionally been stabilized by them. However, my father and mother chose to live like this and passed it onto their children. For example, we always ate at a table, with no phones, and talked to each other. Each person had a job during dinner and around the house. We shared everything, from clothing to toys and despite their wealth, my parents do not splurge. We always make fun of them for not spending their money and say its a product of an immigrant mentality. For this reason, I have found meditation so easy. Frequently when on road trips, we would all sit in silence and “meditate” although we did not call it that. So naturally it became very comfortable. Now I am able to sit in silence with myself and reflect.

    The Isha Kriya has become very helpful thanks to this early practice of “meditation” with my family. I am able to focus on my breathe and keep the benefits of silence rather than forcing myself to stay still. Again, I am meditating 3 times a week and have found consistent great results.

    • One day you may enjoy reading “In an Antique Land…” by Amitav Ghosh…. he writes about himself a Hindu from India, in Africa researching about a Jewish person who traveled to India for business, centuries ago, but the place is now inhabited by a Muslim community who protect and honor the Jewish history.

  37. Leah Ashton-Facin
    The ethical practices of the Yamas is especially useful to me with my practice of Isha Kriya. Through my own reclamation of this space and energy in my mind I have been able to reach fuller realizations. I refrain from using my phone so often and take time to practice my meditations throughout the week. The link between body and mind has grown more apparent to me. This transient connection made me realize the fluidity between my sensuous perception and the link between body and mind. Everything that I could feel and experience was full of variation and even my own perception and reality shifted throughout. Through this I realized that this fluctuation is a constant. I was able to feel a multitude of sensations which informed my observations by sitting alone with my eyes closed in my living room. The body and the mind are linked to who we are and how we perceive but this is not necessary without the exchange between the environment. Even in a quiet moment of mediation there is a fluidity between the internal and the external as the self is shown to be fragment contributing to the entirety of life. I have been able to focus on my own truths and moderation in my own life.

  38. I think it’s rather fascinating how despite how old yoga is, it still remains relevant regardless of the misconceptions of it. I believe many people are hesitant to practice yoga because they think is solely based on exercise. Though yoga does have many aspects of exercising, many of yoga practices consist of meditation. I enjoyed the way you describe yoga as “a philosophy for the Art of conscious living.” This week I have done the Isha Kriya four times. In my other post, I spoke about how yoga has made me more relaxed and has allowed me to focus on the important things in life. Practicing the Isha Kriya has also made me more conscious and aware of my role in life. I need to be able to take care of myself physically, mentally and emotionally. I believe that if people follow the five ethical Yama practices, they could live a happier and more peaceful life.

  39. The notion of Hatha yoga embracing all types of people and religions is incredibly special and important to me. This creates an open space, a welcoming space not only for different skin colors, backgrounds, religions and nationalities but also of body types. Dressing modestly in the class and practicing this notion of acceptance for all bodies and peoples is what makes the yoga space and community so special. In addition, these ethical practices/ yama and niyama, conscious observances, are really important both within yogic practice and mindfulness but also within relationships with people of all kinds and your interactions in your every day life.

    The notion of non-pocessiveness stuck out to me a lot and really provoked some intense thoughts about letting go of things, especially control or desire for control over another persons life and learning to live your life the way you choose and allowing other people to make their own decisions and in response you can mindfully act accordingly. These notions of truth and non-violence are very relevant in today’s political climate and can help rebalance us in terms of the way we are interacting with the people and world around us, specifically, for example, in relation to activism and combatting governmental practices or the political sphere. Moderation is based in balance as well and that is very important to me and reminds be to be more aware of how much I am eating, working, sleeping and spending time with friends. These all impact our yoga practice and every day lives and are balancing concepts that help us in all ways.

    I have practiced the Isha Kriya 4 times this week and I am working on testing it out in different times of the day. I think for this week, it helped me get to sleep faster as I have been practicing at night. Recently, I have been relying on natural herbs like melatonin to help me get to sleep lately and I am working toward getting away from the supplements and looking towards more natural and mindful ways to get to sleep so I think this is helping me with the transition. It is getting more comfortable to practice Isha Kriya and I am enjoying my evolution of this practice and through the class.

    Raechel Teitelbaum

  40. This week, I practiced the Isha Krya four times. I have discovered that, thus far, the most optimal time of day for me to practice the Isha Krya is early in the morning, when my apartment is still idle and quiet before the bustle of the day. I particularly enjoy having a cup of coffee as I practice my meditation, as this combination feels like a reward and helps me bring positive connotations into my motivation to meditate (though I understand that for more active yogic poses, drink and food is obviously not conducive). I have not yet experienced a spiritual or transcendent state of mind during my meditation, however by the end of the 12 minute mark, I feel as if I have only been in a deep and true meditation for the last third of the portion of time; I wonder there if a longer meditation would result in a more productive and insightful meditation.

    • Great you are keeping up with your IK practice but it is not recommended to eat or drink while doing the practice especially stimulates like coffee will alter your own awareness. Namaste

  41. Learning about the 5 yama is very interesting to me as someone who is not religious, as they are more of a philosophical approach to how one should live their lives. I believe if one can try and practice and follow the 5 Yama they may live fuller lives.

    This week I practiced Isha Kriya three times, the 17th 18th and 19th, and taking your advice, I tried it in the morning.I found this time to be much more relaxing although I was still very tired, but perhaps I have to get used to waking up 30 minutes earlier. Maybe if I have acup of coffee beforehand it will help me stay awake as I try to sit still for my morning Isha Kriya. Moving forward, I will try to do so.

  42. Ahisma + Asetya both stand out to me out of these 5 Yama. Ahisma’s idea of love ruling all thought or act of violence is probably most important. I think that Asetya’s rule of not stealing put also not WANTING someone else’s possessions is very important to remember. I’ve been practicing 4 days a

  43. Looking at the five Yama, I feel that I can identify a lot with all of them. The teaching of ahimsa being non-violence towards everyone including the self not only through action but through thought as well is such an important teaching. It teaches us to be so much more mindful and caring towards others by keeping intelligent, positive mindsets. That mindfulness helps us become better people and creatures. I believe that the belief in apairgraha and asetya are very connected. They both teach us that nothing belongs to us. Nothing is truly our own and for that reason we must learn to communicate with others and not be fueled by our desire to have what others have. It teaches us that our peace of mind comes from the lack of owning a certain thing. The entire idea of living a minimalist/simplistic lifestyle not only helps us literally declutter but also helps us practice non-possessiveness. I also truly connected with brahmacharya. The moderation of everything is something that I believe is difficult but important to learn. We have to know that there are certain levels of things we can partake in and we must respect ourselves and our bodies to know when something is enough.

  44. It is amazing that Hatha Yoga have been there for more then 3000 years. Looking at the text stating that the classical Indian Hatha Yoga was scientifically developed as a “101” course, I am hoping that I could learn all of the “101” course over this semester.

    There is nothing harmful to try out the five Yama known as the ethical practices, included non-violence, truth, non-stealing, non-possessiveness, and moderation. Moreover, these practices are beneficial for our living from my point of view. It feels easy to follow, but hard to follow in our actual life.

    I did the Hatha Yoga four times this weeks right before I sleep. I could clearly feel practicing yoga before sleeping will improve my sleep quality. I am not talking something spiritually, it just happened. Hatha Yoga releases all of my stress and muscle from a tiring day. It stops me from thinking too much before bed. The improvement of my mental healthiness is the most as of today. I will keep on maintaining my daily practice to explore the max benefits of Hatha Yoga.

  45. These are very good principles by which to try and live your life! It’s fascinating that many religions also espouse these sort of guidelines in their core philosophies, but often in practice those values get lost under the trappings of ceremony. Many people of faith I’ve known have been so busy adhering to the letter of their law that they wholly neglected the spirit of it. By contrast I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who actively participated in one of the mindful philosophies (I’m including Buddhism here) who focused on some aspect of the philosophy to the exclusion of the practice.

    This week I managed to practice Isha Kriya four times before our Monday class, although I didn’t manage to get this journaling done in a similarly timely fashion. It’s quite restful. I find that it’s better for me to use the chant internally, because my vocal training means that any time I make sound it ends up generating distractions as I focus on finding a healthy resonant place, etc. I did two days each of speaking and not speaking and it’s much easier to focus when I don’t.

  46. I have been slacking with my Isha Kriya practice I have only done it twice this week. I don’t feel much of a difference from the first time that I started. But with time I know there will be a gradual change. Usually, i feel an overall calmness and my mind is a little bit more quiet. I think what’s most interesting is my willingness to practice (or not) the Isha Kriya and the self-discipline it takes to make time to sit down for a couple of minutes in my schedule. Why is it so hard to do that? And why do I feel guilty? Why do I feel like I’m wasting time?

    These thoughts never come up when I’m on Facebook or doing anything else unproductive. But Facebook is stimulating and provides constant gratification. Social media is the reason why I can’t sit still with my thoughts for awhile. How well am I using my time and why am I not making time for things that are going to be beneficial to me in the long run?

    I’ve been trying to change my thought pattern from seeking instant gratification from everything I do and practicing doing things in moderation (Brahmacharya). I believe, that is my biggest issue. I’m impatient I want everything now and I tend to take on too much at one time and overwhelm myself. This makes me frustrated.

    (Aparigraha) Non-possesiveness can be applied not only to material possessions but also to relationships that we have with other people but also the relationships that we have with ourselves. Especially in romantic relationships. I don’t believe anyone belongs to anyone whether you are in a relationship or not. Making a commitment to someone is a choice and it shouldn’t feel like you are chained to someone. Some people only like others when they work within the confines of what they want them to be and once they go out of that, there is conflict. I also feel the ego makes us bound to a certain idea of ourselves that could be stifling. Attaching ourselves to our identity and what we think we are doesn’t cultivate growth.

    Who we think we are and the identities that we latch onto are sometimes is not truthful (Satya). As much truth is about seeing the good in everyone I also feel that it is about seeing the bad and the problematic and the toxic. Somethings can’t be glossed over by seeing the good in everyone and seeing the good in ourselves. Being truthful is not being naive. Being truthful is not easy. Being truthful means thinking critically. Being truthful sometimes means being patient in order to see the good in people. Sometimes being truthful also means non-possessiveness and detaching ourselves from certain situations to see the full picture.

  47. Wow, I truly believe that through these five Yama, or ethical observances one can find a higher consciousness. One based on love and compassion. Non-violence, or Ahimsa, should be practiced more world wide. Wars are so blinding and absolutely wrong, I believe there is nothing worth fighting for and that there is so much more that unites us as people than divides us. If only others could see that it really can be that simple, if we were all in it together. Truth, or Satya allows people to come to peace with themselves, and their path. In order to grow and become more enlightened or happier, one must accept the choices they have made in their life in order to become the person they truly strive to be. Non stealing is all about honesty and ethics, not taking something that Stay yours comes from a place of honesty and compassion, aspects that sound always be amplified in our lives. Non posesiveness allows us to set others as well as ourselves free. Understanding that we cannot own or control pretty much anything but our minds will set us free from the chains that control and posessiveness put us in. Finally, moderation allows us to be more appreciative and grateful of what we have. Sometimes things in our lives can be taken for granted and when that happens we lose sight of the greatness and beauty that is everything.

    • The Sapta Rishis and the Adi Yogi hope for all humanity by sharing hatha yoga is for those who have the courage to practice will set an example for others. Thereby, the more folks who practice genuine classical hatha yoga a ripple effect may evoke others and in time the Yama and Niyama will become known, practiced and true transformative force for humanity. Namaste

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