The Yama Niyama are like the Ten Commandments of the East, sometimes referred to as Do’s and Don’ts. In last week’s blog, I discussed the five Yamas or Don’ts.
This week, I want to talk about Niyama, which is inner discipline and responsibility… how we treat ourselves. The Niyamas would be considered the Do’s. There are five Niyamas:
- Purity (shauca). Purity is achieved through the practice of the five Niyamas, which help clear away the negative physical and mental states of being. Keep yourself, your clothing, and your surroundings clean. Eat fresh and healthy food. The next time you joke about treating your body like a temple, think of this Niyama.
- Contentment (santosha). Cultivate contentment and tranquility by finding happiness in what you have and who you are. Seek happiness in the moment, take responsibility for where you are, and choose to grow from there.
- Austerity (tapas). Show discipline in body, speech, and mind. The purpose of developing self-discipline is not to become ascetic, but to control and direct the mind and body for higher spiritual aims or purposes.
- Study of the sacred text (svadhyaya). Study sacred texts, which are whatever books are relevant to you and inspire and teach you. Education changes a person's outlook on life. As B.K.S. Iyengar says, a person starts "to realize that all creation is meant for bhakti (adoration) rather than for bhoga (enjoyment), that all creation is divine, that there is divinity within himself and that the energy which moves him is the same that moves the entire universe."
- Living with an awareness of the Divine (ishvara-pranidhana). Be devoted to God, Buddha, or whatever you consider divine.
Practicing these Do’s might feel restrictive at first, depending on where you are on your journey, but in time they do bring about peace and harmony in your life and all those around you.
To sign up to receive newsletters and updates from Michael, scroll to the bottom of the Ah-Man Web Site. You’ll find additional information and resources in the latest issue of the Ah-Man Newsletter. Read about his new book, Returning to WHOLENESS… Discovering Ah-Man at Amazon.