The niyamas are the counterpart to the yamas. The yamas are the guidelines prescribed to yogis to co-exist in the world. The niyamas are the guidelines prescribed for ourselves.
The niyamas lay out a prescription of self-care to prepare the body and mind for the practice of yoga. They are:
- Saucha-cleanliness of mind, body, and spirit
- Tapas-heat or discipline
- Svadyaya-self-study, seeking knowledge
- Ishvara Pranidhara-surrender to the divine
The yamas apply to our relationship with the world. The niyamas apply to our relationship with ourselves. It is easy for me to take a good hard look at the way I exist in the world. Taking a good hard look in the mirror, now that can be intimidating. I mean who of us really wants to admit our faults, to be open and honest with ourselves, take accountability and responsibility for own happiness and the quality of our lives?
“Resist what is resisting you and become yourself.” This is a quote from the Mahabarata, an ancient Indian text from which the Bhagavad Gita is but a chapter. The niyamas are an invitation to explore resistance within ourselves. By examining the hows, whats, and whys, of whatever brings us out of our authenticity we are better equipped to move forward along the lines of personal transformation.
Winter is upon us here in Phoenix. This is a time of self-reflection, of turning in. Let’s take this journey of self-discovery together yogis. Stay tuned to our blog for more on the niyamas. Stay tuned to yourself for more information on how to grow, flourish, and thrive, through your personal exploration of these principles.
With love, k
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