Thursday, January 9, 2020

Niyama of Ashtanaga Yoga

Niyama is the second limb of the eight-part Ashtanga Yoga. The Sanskrit word Niyama has many meanings. The right one in the context of yoga is rule or discipline that must be observed.

Together with the Yamas (restraints), the Niyamas make up the Dos and Don’ts of spiritual living.

Niyama by Yoga at Amba Retreat

How many are the Niyamas?

Like the Yamas, the Niyamas are also five. Together they make up something like the Ten Commandments of spiritual living.

What are the Five Niyamas?

The five Niyamas prescribed in the Ashtanga Yoga is:

1.     Saucha: Cleanliness
2.     Santhosha: Actually means Happiness/ Joy – with respect to yoga it means contentment because contentment leads to joy
3.     Tapasya: Austerity
4.    Swadhyaya: Self Study – wrongly interpreted as studying the scriptures but actually study of one’s own Higher Self or Supreme Self or Self through introspection, meditation, etc.
5.     Ishwarapranidhana: Worship of God or the Supreme Self

If we notice the Niyamas are expressed in the positive – something to be done or observed like Cleanliness, Austerity, etc. Therefore they are termed as “Dos”.

We will examine the Niyamas in-depth in separate posts as they merit detailed study.

Benefits of Practicing the Niyamas

Practice of Niyamas is not only essential for progress in yoga but they bestow extraordinary powers on the practitioner.

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