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The Eight Limbs of Yoga (Part 2 – Niyama)

17 January 2013

Niyama – In Sanskrit, means “observance,” or religious observance (aka, the 5 dos of Yoga)

Niyama is the second step in the Eightfold Path (the 8 Limbs) of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and contains the five internal practices of Niyama. These observances outline the five principles which are control (or regulate) the organs of perception; the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue and the skin. As these sense organs are brought under our conscious control, it will reduce attachments and help to free the mind of its clutter.

Niyama extends the ethical codes of conduct described in Patanjali’s first limb (the Yamas) to the yoga student or practicing yogi’s internal environment, i.e.; the body, mind and spirit. The practice of Niyama helps to maintain a positive environment in which to grow, giving us the self-discipline and inner-strength required to insure continued progress along the path of yoga.

Patanjali considered all five of the Niyamas as interesting tools for self assessment and personal growth. Applying these concepts, can shift a situation; so often our thoughts and attitudes dictate out past experience, and these practical observances help us to see where we actually are and improve upon that. The Niyamas refer to a positive attitude that we may adopt regarding ourselves, as they empower us to create a code for living purposefully and meaningfully.

Cultivating Niyamas allows you to cultivate discipline and responsibility. They are ultimately designed to help purify your body, mind and emotions.

Niyama: The Five Dos of Yoga:

  1. Shaucha (purity, cleanliness)
  2. Samtosha (contentment)
  3. Tapas (austerity, asceticism)
  4. Svadhyaya (self-study, spiritual-study)
  5. Ishvara Pranidhana (devotion, worship)

As we progress towards living a more balanced life, the qualities presented in the Niyamas will tend to naturally arise in us. In reality they may be viewed as evolutionary qualities that are a reflection of our connection with universal spirit. As such the Niyamas can be considered milestones along the path of our spiritual growth.

Related article, click on: The Eight Limbs of Yoga (Part 1 – Yama)

Check back soon for “The Eight Limbs of Yoga (Part 3 – Asana)”

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