The Eight Limbs of Yoga: Niyamas

Yoga Sutra 2.32
shaucha santosha tapah svadhyaya ishvarapranidhana niyamah”

Last month we explored the first limb of the The Eight Limbs of YogaYamas. This month, we move on to the five Niyamas.

The Niyamas are the practices of self-training, and deal with our personal, inner world. In other words, the Niyamas are largely how your actions and thoughts affect yourself. While the Yamas are how your actions and thoughts affect others.

  • Shaucha: purity of body and mind.
  • Santosha: contentment.
  • Tapah: training of the senses, austerities. A deep commitment to stirring up the fire, and sitting in the heat of discomfort. Self-discipline.
  • Svadhyaya: self-study, reflection on sacred words.
  • Ishvara pranidhana: surrender and dedication

The Niyamas are seen as tools to cultivate self-awareness and happiness. By working with the Niyamas, one can learn to make peace with the past, while providing strategic building blocks for navigating change. The Niyamas teach us to hold on to our commitments, dedicate our efforts to cultivating the Self, and surrender our actions to something bigger than us.

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.

Have specific questions about The Eight Limbs of Yoga? Comment below!

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