Yama Yoga

Do You Know Practicing Yama Can Transform Your Life?

In Mahabharata, Abhimanyu died as he did not know the complete strategy to break the Chakravyuh. Knowing what you need to know in its entirety is very important. Most of us Practice Yoga but are oblivion of its 8 limbs.

We all are aware of Asana and Pranayama. These are 3rd and 4th limbs of Yoga. But knowing 1st two limbs is important. Unless the Yoga practitioner is not well aware of the Yama and Niyama, i.e. 1st and the 2nd limb, practicing Asana and Pranayama will not be as effective as it should be. It will not help you get the complete benefit of Yogic way of life.

Patanjali Yoga is 8 limb Yoga. A complete pathway to liberation i.e. Samadhi. Ideally, you should start with the 1st limb i.e. Yama. There are 5 Yamas which are explained in brief below.

  1. Non-Violence (Ahimsa)

This is basic. Compassion towards all living beings and not killing them is fundamental to any spiritual progress.

Ahimsa is defined as not hurting any living beings with thought, words or action. Practicing Ahimsa is the core of Jainism also.

One of the 27 questions Mahatma Gandhi asked his Spiritual Guru Shrimad Rajchandra says the level of Ahimsa one is expected to practice.

If a snake is about to bite me, should I allow myself to be bitten or should I kill it, supposing that, that is the only way in which I can save myself?

One hesitates to advise you that you should let the snake bite you. Nevertheless, how can it be right for you, if you have realized that the body is perishable, to kill, for protecting a body which has no real value to you, a creature which clings to it with love?

For anyone who desires his spiritual welfare, the best course is to let his body perish in such circumstances.

But how should a person who does not desire spiritual welfare behave? My only reply to such a question is, how can I advise such a person that he should pass through hell and similar worlds, that is, that he should kill the snake?

If the person lacks the culture of Aryan character, one may advise him to kill the snake, but we should wish that neither you nor I will even dream of being such a person.

Violence under no circumstance is justified. Practicing Ahimsa with thought, action, and words is the first principle Yoga practitioners need to follow.

  1. Non-Stealing (Asteya)

Not taking anything, which is either not given to you or nor owned by you. This includes not honoring our debt and tax dues. Keeping anything that is not your and though with you but owned by others and due for the payment is equated with non-stealing.

Many of us are not a formal thief but fooling others for money, tax evasion, frauds, not paying to creditors, lenders all are the forms of stealing. Taking or keeping what is not yours is stealing. Exploiting someone is also a form of stealing.

Sage Patanjali recommends no form of stealing shall be indulged by Yoga practitioners. It may sound difficult than doing Sirshasana but this is necessary for the Yoga practitioners.

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  1. Truthfulness (Satya)

This is what Gandhiji followed and wrote about in his autobiography – My Experiments with Truth. It may sound easy but perhaps very difficult to practice in our life.

Credit: https://www.azquotes.com

Be truthful at all cost. Honesty is the best policy we tell our children but it is still the best policy for the parents too.

  1. Continence (Bhramacharya)

There cannot be any language without vowels. You cannot draw a picture without a canvas or a wall. Similarly, you cannot have health and spiritual life without Brahmacharya.

Brahmacharya literally means achara or conduct that leads to the realization of Brahman or one’s own Self.

This is necessary to break the bond with our attachments. The sexual act is the highest form of attachment for any living being. This requires tremendous willpower to practice Bhramacharya. Even sages find it difficult to practice complete Bhramacharya,

Swami Sivananda Saraswati in his article meaning of Bhramacharya writes; You must control all the organs–the ears that want to hear lustful stories, the lustful eye that wants to see objects that excite passion, the tongue that wants to taste exciting things and the skin that wants to touch exciting objects.

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  1. Non-hoarding (Aparigraha)

This is what is now known as Minimalism in the west. However, Aparigraha is considered virtue in many Indian religions, especially in Jainism.

Even socially it is relevant.  As Mahatma Gandhi had said; There is enough on Earth for everybody’s need, but not enough for everybody’s greed.

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Excessive hoarding which entails accumulation of possessions is a disease. Unless we give up the mindset of hoarding our spiritual journey cannot begin.

Sage Patanjali’s 8 limb Yoga is a road map for the spiritual journey. This is not only about health and disease free life as most of the Yoga practitioners believe.

You may also like to read: Know Virat Kohli’s Yoga Inspiration


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