‘Wellness begins with you’

Yama & NiYama in Yoga

Yoga defines yama and niyama as the positive and negative aspects of behavior, respectively. Traditional texts mention ten yamas and ten niyamas but Patanjali’s Yogasutra, which is considered the original treatise on yoga, defines five yamas and five niyamas. It has been mentioned that in Manusmirti that it is more important to follow yamas than niyamas. Here we give a brief description on the yamas and niyamas to be followed:

• Ahimsa (Non-violence): this is one of foremost yamas. It means the lack of intention to hurt others. This intention need not be just physical but includes mental and emotional cruelty. Here the attitude is more important than the actual act of killing. You should not even have the intention of offending others.

• Satya (Truthfulness): this quality implies the honesty and sincerity in thoughts, words and deeds. This is possible only when one has conquered greed and ambition since these are the two major culprits which take you away from the truth.

• Asteya (Non-theft): in Sanskrit, “steya” denotes the enjoyment or keeping with oneself the things that do not rightfully belong to them. This is basically the act of stealing or theft. A person is inclined to steal only when he has no love and has some selfish motive. A yogi or a student of yoga has very few basic needs. He has learnt the art of loving himself as well as the others. Hence, he does not feel the need to exploit or steal from others.

• Brahmacharya (Celibacy): sex has been defined as on of the vital necessities of human existence. It ranks next only to food. Since ancient times, very few people have been able to master their sexual urges. If not satisfied, these urges lead a person to depravation and develop psychotic tendencies. Yoga lays a great stress on the celibacy. It considers not only the act of sex itself as sexual but even thinking, talking and looking at opposite sex as a part of sex and hence has to be avoided. Patanjali has declared that brahmacharya increases the mental strength also called veerya in an individual.

• Aparigraha (Non-gathering): this yama means not going on collecting wealth and objects just for enjoyment. Yoga teaches one to collect wealth and objects just to meet his primary needs. This is important because greed causes distraction and thus leads to increased strain on his mind and body.

The above-mentioned points deal with vairagya or the negative aspects of one’s behavior. Now we take a look at some of the niyamas or the positive aspects of the behavior as described by yoga:

• Shoucha (Cleanliness): This includes the cleanliness of the mind and the body. Yoga has described a clean mind as the one free of any prejudices, false beliefs, ignorance, and ego. Generally speaking, all the yamas come under this niyama since they deal with eliminating some or the other impurities.

• Santosha (Contentment): a yogi is taught to be happy and satisfied with his lot. He does not need to achieve any ambition.

• Tapas (Religious austerities): This niyama describes the rituals like fasting: needed to fortify the mind. Yoga believes that this increases the resistance power of the body and makes your body and mind stronger and thus you can face adverse conditions effectively.

• Swadhyaya (Reading of religious literature): This practice is very useful for overcoming ignorance and facing the adversities of life calmly. It helps to fill your mind with peace.

• Ishwarpranidhana (Devotion): this teaches you to rely on the divine will and to ascribe the effects of your action to the divine providence. This is a very useful habit to cultivate as you can accept everything as God’s will and can achieve peace of mind. This eliminates the fear and worry.


Our BELLA*Amico ‘Friends of Bella’ gives you FULL access to FREE workshops, podcasts, events, and more…SIGN UP NOW!

National Dance Council of America

Informed Consent & Disclaimer: Information on this web site is provided for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician  or other healthcare professional regarding any health concerns and before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

*We are GDPR & HIPPA Compliant*

© BELLA*LIFE All Rights Reserved 2020


Our BELLA*Amico 'Friends of Bella' gives you FULL access to FREE workshops, podcasts, events, and more...