In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, we are given the 8 Limbs of Yoga as a guide and a philosophy to our yoga practice.
The first limb is called the Yamas or restraints, universal morality or the 5 wise characteristics. Let’s take a closer look.
- Ahimsa – Non-Violence, Peace, Love, Compassion
- Satya – Truth
- Asteya – Non-Stealing
- Aparigraha – Non-Hoarding
- Brahmacharya – Moderation, containing your energy
1. Yama – Ahimsa – Non-Violence
Ahimsa or non-violence, implies not causing pain or not causing harm to any living creature, either by thought, word, or action.
Ahimsa is not only negative it can also be positive as in cosmic love. It is the development of a mental attitude in which hatred is replaced by love, forgiveness, compassion and kindness. When a person is practicing Ahimsa they emit harmonious vibrations. This is the peace, love and good vibe Yama.
2. Yama – Satya – Truth
Satya is to live in established truth and honesty. When we establish this honest state, the fruits of our work will come to us. We will not need to run after things, things will run after us. To live in complete and clean truth is the ultimate in manifesting our authentic life.
The more honest we are, the more honesty wants to be in our life. As we lead a more open life, we become fearless and live our dreams.
We must remember that Ahimsa and Satya work together. To share a truth that will pain another, is harmful. To share a truth that is positive, is love.
3. Yama – Asteya – Non-Stealing
Asteya is a balance of taking and then giving, often in service to others. We must receive nature’s air as we breathe with reverence as we serve others, is non-stealing.
We all unknowingly steal a little bit here and there: take up too much of someone’s time, arrive late chronically, take long showers, cheat on our taxes, eat in gluttonous excess and more. We must share our abundance with those around us.
Being content with what we have and not seek to acquire more money, land, possessions and people. It is important to allow things to come and go.
Asteya calls for a focus on how and what you consume, energetically and karmically. We create a major imbalance if we take and don’t pay back.
4. Yama – Aparigraha – Non-Hoarding
Aparigraha is non-hoarding or not receiving gifts. Often we receive gifts with the understanding of a future obligation. Aparigraha is the non-attachment or freedom from that obligation and then to receive with gratitude. We can also clean out closets or social media friend lists. We can release biting clichés spoken and our grasp on possessions that weigh you down. Let it go!
It is the removing of fear, hate, guilt, disappointment, attachment, anxiety, pain, judgement, approval, blame, comparing, regret, worrying, competing and anger.
Aparigraha is freedom from desire and craving from the outside for satisfaction on the inside. It suggests to be content with what we have, right now. It is the attitude with gratitude.
5. Yama – Brahmacharya – Moderation
Brahmacharya is often synonymous with celibacy but that is not moderation. If we contain the energy for sex, or work, or substances or junk food then we become less scattered and intentional in our use of our energy.
It is easy in today’s lifestyle to burnout, we must maintain our vitality through the art of self-restraint with Brahmacharya. As we dedicate our resources to our goals, we ensure success. By avoiding non-produce energy devouring sources, we become wise investors in ourselves.
Do you practice the Yamas? How can you apply the Yamas moving forward?
Tell us in the comments.
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