Sunday, December 7, 2008

Yamas and Niyamas

Yamas and Niyamas are ethical rules, and they are necessary on the path of Yoga. These rules are important, because when the practicant of yoga follow these rules, he/she will have calmer mind, and will have less distractions in the practice of meditation. The practicant, of course, cannot fulfill all the rules, but he/she must follow the rules as much as he can.

Yamas have 5 rules, and Niyamas also 5 rules. Yamas are rules of social discpline, and Niyamas are rules of individual discipline. They are the next:

Yamas:

Ahimsa - non-violence. This rule means not harming other people, any other sentient beings, and oneself. Also, not harming the environment. We must be tolerant even for that which we dislike, and not speaking that which, even though truthful, would injure others,

Satya - truthfulness. This rule means not intending to deceive others in our thoughts, as well as our words and actions,

Asteya - non-stealing. This rule means that we do not take that which do not belong to as, or it is not given to as,

Brahmacarya - sexual responsibility. This rule means treating others as human beings rather than as male and female bodies. Here we must comserve our energy for the purpose of spiritual practice. This includes not only sexual restraint, but protecting our energy for instance by avoiding endless chattering with no clear purpose,

Aparigraha - abstention from greed. This rule means not wishing something that is not ours. We must avoid here unnecessary acquisition of objects that are not essential to maintaining life only, or that are not essential to spiritual study;

Niyamas:

Sauca - cleanliness. This rule means external cleanliness of the body, as well as internal cleanliness such as avoiding the impurities of anger and egoism. Also, we must be here moderate in eating,

Santosa - contentment. This rule means not spiritual complacence, but acceptance of ours external situations we have in our life,

Tapas - austerity. This rule means deep commitment to our yoga practice,

Svadhyaya - self-study. This rule means spiritual self-education. This is contemplation and application of the scriptures or sacred texts of our path,

Isvara pranidhana - surrender of the self to God. This rule means that we must surrender the fruits of our actions to God. It is giving up our egotistical illusion that we know best, and accepting that the way life unfolds may be part of a pattern too complex to understand. This is not passive inactivity, it is also action. We must be modest and humble.

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