The Yamas and Niyamas for “Normal” People

Ok, I just said that to get you here 🙂

Last year, as part of yoga teacher training, my class had to spend a bit of time on the Yamas and Niyamas.  The Yamas (practices for adjusting your interactions with other people) and the Niyamas (practices for adjusting your relationship with yourself) come from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  But that could be a month-long session in itself, so let’s stick a pin in that one, ok?  Suffice it to say, the Yoga Sutras are very important to yoga students and instructors, and I’m a yoga instructor (and will forever be a student), so we’re going to talk about them!

Now, the Yamas and Niyamas are:

Yamas
Ahimsa
Satya
Asteya
Brahmacharya
Aparigraha

Niyamas
Saucha
Santosha
Tapas
Svadhyaya
– Ishvara Pranidana

You know what’s fun?  I’m not going to tell you what all of them mean right now.  Just click on a word that appeals to your mental palate (as the links appear) and go with it!  I find that when you are drawn to something naturally, you learn it much more permanently than if you force it upon yourself.  So check out the list at your leisure and see what strikes you.  (And I mean “strike” in a totally non-harming way.)

Before we jump into this adventure, I’ll share with you what prompted this.  As I read about each principle last year, I found that many of them seemed rigid, or lofty, or otherwise impossible to execute while living in America with a full-time job and a family and bills.  So what’s a yogini to do?

I’ll tell you what – jump in and figure it all out!  I am hoping that over the next couple of weeks, we figure out together how to make them work in our lives.  The point isn’t that we “attain” or “perfect” any of these principles – we’ve already talked about that, right?  The point is that we continue to explore what they mean for us, and how we’re going to practice them everyday.  So, join me back in a couple of days, and we’ll begin – ok?

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13 thoughts on “The Yamas and Niyamas for “Normal” People

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