When we decided to journey down a Path to Peace, Patanjali’s Eight-Limbed Path to Yoga seemed like the perfect map to get us there. It’s foundational information meant to lead us to find our own peace within.

The first two limbs of this eightfold path are the Yama and Niyama. Practicing these two limbs of yoga will allow you to become much more skilled at the practice of life.

The Yama: Review

The Yama, as we have discovered, contain 5 tenets of restraints. Not restraints in the negative sense of the word, restraints that actually allow you to live better and have more.
These 5 tenets deal with ethical standards, codes of conduct and our behavior toward others and ourselves. You can think of the Yama as yoga’s version of the Golden Rule.

Becoming familiar with, and regularly practicing the 5 tenets of the Yama, you will notice that you create space and lightness in your life, your relationships are easier, work flows better and you are kinder to yourself which allows you to be kind to those around you. All this makes room for the practice of the Niyama.

You can review each of the Yama we have covered here:
1. Ahimsa (Non-violence)
2. Satya (Truthfulness)
3. Asteya (Non-stealing)
4. Brahmacharya (Non-excess)
5. Aparigraha (Non-possessiveness)

The Niyama: An Introduction

Is this as good as things get? Want more joy in your life? Want to feel better and better every day?

The Niyama invite you to consider a way of living that says no, this is not as good as things get—there’s room for improvement and you can make it happen! They provide an opportunity for exploration and possibility in all aspects of your life.

Whereas the Yama are socially based, the Niyama are internally focused, addressing body, mind, and spirit.

The practice of Niyama helps us maintain a positive environment in which to grow and gives us the self-discipline and inner-strength necessary to progress along the path of yoga.

The Niyama are guidelines around choices that will allow for the betterment of our personal existence. Over the coming weeks we will explore them in detail:

1. Saucha (Cleanliness, Purity)
2. Santosha (Contentment)
3. Tapas (Self-discipline)
4. Svadhyaya (Self-study)
5. Ishvara pranidhana (Surrender)

We’ll start with Saucha next week. It’s all about cleaning house and we don’t mean cleaning your house. 😉 It’s one of our favorites!