The Eight Limbs of Yoga: Yamas

Yoga Sutra 2.30
“ahimsa satya asteya brahmacharya aparigraha yama”

As we posted last month, The Eight Limbs of Yoga are the building blocks of the practice. They can be seen as steps, or different avenues, that lead to the ultimate goal: happiness. 

This month the Office Yoga® team is focusing on the first limb: Yamas.

The Yamas focus on our behavior and how it affects others. There are five:

  • Ahimsa: Non-harming.
  • Satya: Truthfulness.
  • Asteya: Abstention from stealing.
  • Brahmacharya: Consciously choose life purpose, eliminating frivolity. Protecting the life force of the body, and remaining abstinent from activities that are draining.
  • Aparigraha: Non-possessiveness or non-grasping (often rooted in jealousy or greed).

The actual name yama originally meant “rein.” It was used to describe a restraint that we willingly placed on ourselves to focus on our efforts. Much like a bridle on a horse, and how it allows the rider to guide the horse, this type of self-restraint is seen as a positive force, and a necessary self-discipline that allows each of us to clear the way for our dharma (life purpose).

By using each yama, we can cultivate the level of restraint necessary to keep a keen eye on the road before us. Challenges will arise, which is why it is so important to learn (and re-learn) these steps, for they are the true guidelines to turning towards your life’s greatest work.

We will continue to make our way through the Eight Limbs of Yoga, as outlined by Sri Swami Satchidananda’s rendition of Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  Our hope is to discuss ways to incorporate each limb into your day to day lives. In the OYO community, we’re all about taking theoretical ideas and making them digestible.

Do you have specific questions or problems you’re running into? Reach out to us. Tell us what’s going on, and we’ll make sure to highlight (without calling you out) some ways to navigate difficult scenarios in our day to day lives, using the yogic texts. Office Yoga® is here to help.

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