Y A M A & N I Y A M A
Yama is Sanskrit and when translated to English means social code, how to treat people in society. Within yama is five social codes to follow in order to become a better yogi and a better person.
Ahimsa, which means ‘Non Violence’ towards any other person, animal or nature. Non violence in the form of not harming physically, verbally, or with bad thoughts towards anyone. Ahimsa means non violence towards anything in nature so that all can live in peace. If this is not followed then bad consequences can follow further down the line, so we must all remember that everything is connected.
Satya, means to be truthful and to always speak true no matter what your situation or consequence will be. A lie will always lead to another lie, even the smallest of lies, so Satya is telling you to refrain from this to continue on your path of peace. Being true to others is also an important part of Satya Yama.
Asteya, which is the act of not stealing from others, to not take that which does not belong to you. It means honesty and with this interpretation is closely linked with Satya, telling the truth. If you do not have something then it means you are not supposed to have it, to be strict with yourself in this way will allow you to think differently, to make a better you.
Brahmacharya, To not live in the sensual desires, or on the path of brahman. A disciplined brahmachari practices celibacy, to refrain from sexual thoughts and acting upon them. We lose alot of vital energy from sexual pursuits, so the yogi keeps that energy contained in the body. Sirsasana will alleviate these desires. To continue the journey of yoga you must train yourself to let go of these desires. Some desires can only be experienced before burned, but desires in the end will turn to anger or depression if not fulfilled.
Aparigraha, is the art of non possessiveness or hording. It means to not have in your possession unnecessary materials, objects like cars, houses, clothes and to reduce your attachment from them. This requirement may be difficult for some in today's world. People have sentimental attachments to certain objects that may have been handed down in the family, or thing's they have collected. They are all distractions in the end, and you must simplify your life and donate all possessions to people who need them. This will make you lighter mentally, creating a peaceful and calming mind that is unburdened by so many things. By donating your possessions you are also performing a selfless act, which is the way to inner peace. Karma yoga.
Niyama is sanskrit for our personal code which you should follow to better yourself and create a peaceful mind that is sustainable to you.
Saucha, is cleanliness or purification. It is important to follow strictly your personal cleanliness as this routine will plant the seed of discipline. You can be clean by bathing regularly, brushing your teeth and wearing clean clothes when you can. You should also have a clean digestive system and to clean your body internally by using some shatkarma techniques. Cleanliness applies also to a persons thoughts and you should have a pure mind to continue down the true path.
Santosha, means to be completely content in everyday life, in every moment and situation that you come across. It means that you are accepting of the way things are in the world around you, and saying to yourself that everything is allriight. When you can train your mind to achieve this level of being, then you can experience bliss. It is said that you are where you are in life because of past Karma's, so be content.
Tapas, means austerity and living a life without all the unnecessary materialistic matter that you as a human do not need. It means living without comfort and living outside of the comfort zone. Practicing austerity and depriving your mind of it's desires is hard, but in doing so you will train the mind be silent. The mind is a tool and not the master. Master the mind with silence.
Living with comforts has the effect of weakening your nature to be strong in mind and body. Animals in the wild are strong because they have never abandoned their natural ways.
Svadhyaya, is about self study, to be able to turn your thoughts inward and to focus and learn who you really are. It can also be named self-reflection, where you can take some time in your day to reflect on your life and where you want to go. Svadhyaya is to always have that desire inside to keep extending the boundary of your knowledge, to learn from any source, like your teachers, books, travel etc. There is more to life than what you see.
Ishvara Pranidhana, is the total surrender and devotion to a higher power, to that inner light that we all share. Life is a gift given to you and your mind, body and soul belong to this higher power. It is the knowing that the energy that sustains us and moves our body and mind is something beyond our ego mind. Study what is real to become a better and wiser person. See god in everything.