The Yamas

February 4th, 2014

Hello Urban Yogis,

The month of February has arrived. For some of us our resolutions and intentions we set at the beginning of the year are in full swing.  For others, maybe the commitment to our best selves has wavered.  This month let’s allow our yoga practice to guide us back to a place of commitment to the self.

Resolution comes from the root word, resolve, which has several definitions. The one most associated with making a resolution being to reach a firm decision about.  As in, I resolve to do more yoga 🙂

A couple other definitions I really love are: to deal with successfully, to clear up, to find an answer to, and to make clear and understandable.

Yoga provides many tools for us to see the world and ourselves more clearly and with more understanding.  The Yamas, the first limb outlined by Patanjali in the Eight Limbs of Yoga are a really great starting point to work from.

The Yamas are a yogic set of guidelines. They are meant to influence our attitude and behavior towards ourselves and as we engage in life and the world.  Yama translates to restraint or abstention; basically the “do nots” of yogi philosophy.

Ahimsa, the first yama, refers to nonviolence and inflicting no injury or harm to ourselves and to others.  Ahimsa can also be translated as non-violence in thought, word, and deed or very simply put, to be kind.

Satya refers to truthfulness in speech.  This can also be interpreted as “right” speech, no lying, exaggerating, or even fibbing.  For me I like to think of the Four Buddhist Rules of Speech when thinking about satya:

  •    Is it kind?
  •  Is it necessary?
  •   Is it honest?
  •     Does it improve upon the silence?

Asteya refers to non-coveting, non-stealing, and/or not desiring something that doesn’t belong to you.  This can be defined very directly; do not steal.  This can also be defined as stealing another person’s time or energy.

Brahmacharya refers to moderation of the senses.  Meaning, to make “right” choices concerning who and what we give energy and time to.  Everything we encounter, what we read, listen to, watch on TV, time spent on the internet and the people we interact with all leave a psychic blueprint.  Choose wisely.

Aparigraha refers to non-hoarding and non-clinging.  To sum it up, be content with what you have, but at the same time, be content with the idea that you may not always have it.

Wherever you stand in your resolve for the upcoming year let the yamas aide you.  Allow these guidelines to shine clarity and understanding on your desires and goals, and then work “in” from there.

Stay tuned to the Urban Blog through the month of February for more information and practical application of the yamas.


as always, with love, ~k













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