Tag Archives: The Practice of Yama and Niyama

Some tips about the secret…

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After finishing the chapters on the five Yamas from John McAfee’s book, “The Secret of the Yamas,” the above link is a continuation of my readings.  Getting to the core of this self-discipline Yama practice that Shri Patanjali layed out for us so long ago begins with McAfee’s summation.  A quote from this chapter:

“…It is an illusion to believe that fundamental change requires time, that we must work diligently toward a goal and gradually become better, wiser, happier, and more spiritual.  Such an approach uses the present moment as a tool to obtain future fulfillment; the present is used for planning, dreaming, working toward a result.  Consequently, our lives are lived in the future and we are in constant relationship to the past; and the field of life – the present moment – is missed entirely…”

Namaste

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Continuing about Niyama- Conscious Observances…

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The practice of Yama and Niyama creates a strong fortress of physical, mental and emotional purity for the seeker/practitioner.  If this purity is not created as a foundation, many complications can manifest later to obstruct one in their practice.  For example, as one progresses on the path and more power is accumulated, diversions/temptations may arise that can distract a seeker from a genuine experience, causing the loss of valuable time and energy, as well as getting lost.  Here are the five NiyamaConscious Observances: 

SauchaPurity.  An impurity is anything on the physical, mental or emotional level that obstructs our optimal functioning.  It is our impurities that stand between us and our highest realization  All the practices of Yoga are designed to remove these very impurities.  Some simple examples are the various cleansing regimens of hatha yoga that help purify the physical body and mantras that help cleanse the mind and emotions.  The more work a practitioner has  put into willful cleansing disciplines, the easier, swifter and more successful towards spontaneous development.

Santosha Contentment.  Santosha is the art of being happy with whatever life brings.  It is learning not to expect or desire more than one needs.

TapasTransformative Spiritual Practices.  Tapas creates the heat that purifies and strengthens our bodies and minds to make them fit vehicles for self-realization.

SvadhyayaSpiritual study.  This is not merely study in the usual sense, but a deep contemplation, digestion and integration of the deeper and often hidden essences contained in the Yogic scriptures.  It refers to an intensity of contemplation in which this deeper knowledge is revealed to the seeker from within themselves.

Ishvara Pranidhana dedication to Divine Energy.  Actual practices can include any type of devotional worship, singing of bhajans, repetition of mantras, etc.  These practices purify the heart and mind.  There is a deeper impact when using the original sanskrit for these chants, mantras, bhajans/songs.  The Yogi Scientists of long ago took the time to develop the sounds for the actual idea so that when uttered that same idea is created inside the cells, and this is why Sanskrit is today still so very valuable as a benefit.

This now completes the ten tenets for Yama and Niyama.  These are the first two rungs on the Ladder for Self-Realization on the Path of Classical Indian Hatha Yoga/Ashtanga.  Oftentimes we can see many who are accomplished at doing asana but have not come close towards compassion for their own spirit.    To not get lost in the physical body and to rise beyond via higher consciousness these ten steps must be explored and fully understood.  When we are on the path to Self -Realization it is a different and thorough process above and beyond mere exercise.  Do find a way to keep these Yama and Niyama close to you in your practice via Journal, or any other format that works best for you to re-visit important concepts for your personal development.  Shri Patanjali designed a complete course for us in Personal Development and Self-Realization that is a very Holistic psychology.  Namaste

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.