In the Yamas of Yoga I pointed out how the practice of Yoga is much more than doing poses or having a cute yoga butt. Rather, it is as set of 8 principles, called the “Eight Fold Path” of living the healthiest, most stable and content life possible.
When talking about the Yamas, I also mentioned how it is complementary to any religion or as a standalone practice because yoga is not a religion. Please check that article out later if you haven’t had the opportunity because it talked about the first of the Eight Fold Path.
The second path, or set of Yoga principles, are the Niyamas, and those are about cultivating inner discipline and responsibility and there are five recommended observances to follow.
The Niyamas of Yoga
1. Purity. Being pure in body and mind is achieved in part by practicing the Yamas, or the first principle of Yoga, because that works to clear negative physical and mental states. It also means, pursue cleanliness and eat fresh, healthy food. (Shauca)
2. Contentment. Stay calm and look for what’s good, stay focused on what you want instead of what you don’t want and take responsibility for where you are in life. (Santosha)
3. Simple Living by controlling your speech, body and mind. That doesn’t mean you have to become boring or go without life’s pleasures, it means to develop the self-discipline to control and direct your body and mind for the highest purposes. In other words, do your best with everything you do, simply. (Tapas)
4. Study Sacred Texts. What this looks like for you could be the Bible, or other religious texts, or self improvement, personal development texts and it meant to help you remain grateful for life beyond just enjoying momentary pleasures. (Svadhyaya).
5. Be Present with the Divine. Whatever your divine is your inner/higher self, God, Goddess, or whatever else, you will find it in the present moment. Keep your awareness focused on living from that part of you. (Ishvara-pranidhana).
As you can see, the Niyamas of Yoga are all about self-development, where the Yamas were all about how you face the world. Give them a try and see how it feels to become a practicing Yogi. In the next article about Yoga, I will talk about the Asanas, or poses of Yoga, so get your yoga pants out and get ready for some physical activity!