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:
Ahisma– Non-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.
Satya – Truth. 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.
Asetya – Non-stealing. Asetya also means releasing the desire to possess that which belongs to another.
Aparigraha – Non-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.
Brahmacharya – moderation. 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.