The 2nd limb of Patanjali Yogasutra is Nimaya i.e. Rules. You will observe at the end of this post that Yoga is not what we have believed it to be i.e. health and fitness activity. It is much beyond the limited health purpose.
Sage Patanjali in his 2nd stanza of Patanjali Yoga Sutra in Samadhi Pada writes,
Yogah Cittavriti Nirodhah
Which means Yoga is the cessation of movements in consciousness.
This is what the ultimate objective of the Yoga as seen by the Sage Patanjali.
We have read in the previous post about the first Limb i.e. Yama. Yamas are a code of living in society. Niyamas are a code of living with the self. These 5 Niyamas are about the self-conduct for the higher pursuit.
Here are a brief understanding of 5 Niyamas:
Sauch – Purification
Physical, mental, and emotional purity is essential for progress in Yoga. Our body, as well as our thoughts, has to be pure. Therefore, this purification process should be regular and continues for Yoga practitioners.
Bath and our daily cleanliness practices bring external purification. Asana, Pranayama, Swadhyay help in internal purification.
Santosh – Contentment
A greedy mind will not yield much benefits of Yogic practices. Contentment is doing your Karma without expectations. This mindset will bring cheerfulness and detachment from the economic activities and the practitioner will be able to focus on spiritual growth.
“We seem far from grasping the concept of “enough.” Deborah Adele.
Tapas – Penance / Self Discipline
This is an advanced form of purification. Being ready for physical and mental toughness is necessary as the practitioner progresses on the Yogic path.
Every religion recommends Penance / Tapas as a means of self-purification. Tapas enliven the qualities of the Soul.
“Life without tapas is like a heart without love.” B.K.S. Iyengar
Swadhyay – Self Study
‘Swa’ means self and ‘Adhyay’ means study. Studying scriptures and studying self-behavior is necessary for spiritual progress. The study opens up the mind and self-study opens up the awareness about the self i.e. Soul.
Regular practice of reading and studying scriptures, allocated time to review self-behaviour., self-conduct and self though process gives an opportunity of self-improvement.
Swadhyay is very important of all Niyamas.
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Ishwar Paridharna – Devotion to God
Do your Karma and leave it to God. God in Yoga means Nature or Karma. Devote everything good or bad happen to you to nature. This is the easiest way to get rid of Ego and Victim mindset. This is the way to remain happy and light-hearted.
In Bhagwad Gita the law of Karma says – do your act and leave it to God. Unless the practitioner believes in this principle, her Ego and Pride will not die down. This could be the biggest hurdle of spiritual growth.
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These 5 Nimayas are necessary practices for Yoga practitioners. Only practicing Asana and Pranayama without Practising Yama and Niyama is like building a house without the proper foundation. It will be on shaky ground and it can’t be big.
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