|Traditional and daily yogic practices for your health and healing
Niyama - The Second Part of the Eight Fold Yoga Path of Patanjali
|Niyama and Yama are the do's and don'ts, or ethical disciplines, which have existed in the human race since the
beginning of civilisations. Yama and Niyama are traditional whether one is from the civilisations of the East or
the West. By following these traditional precepts, with are closely related in many ways to the Buddhist Eight
Fold Path, we work towards individual development of the body, mind, and soul.
Niyama - Observance
Niyama is religious observance. It is the second step in the path of the Eightfold Path of Patanjali. It contains five principles
which are control the organs of perception, which are the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue and the skin. It consists of
purity, both internal and external (Shaucha), contentment (Santosha), the practice of austerity (Tapas), the study and
learning of religious books (Swadhyaya), and self-surrender to God (Atamivedana).
The five Do's of Yoga:
Purity in thought, deeds, & body ~ Contentment with self ~ Spiritual discipline ~ Spiritual learning ~ Surrender to God
Shaucha - purity, cleanliness;
Shaucha consists of purity externally and internally, too. This would fall under the old saying of, "Cleanliness is next to
Godliness." So for a yogi or yogin, to keep the external parts of the body clean by bathing, oiling the body, and wearing fresh
clean clothes made from natural fibers. Part of a yogi's external cleansing should also include keeping the hair clean and
combed. For internal cleansing one should look to having right diet eating Sattvic(pure) foods that are conducive to
meditation and come from pure sources. The best foods to eat are ones that come from organic sources grown with respect
of the earth and the environment. See the section on yoga diet for more information on proper foods.
When looking at asanas we can tell if the body is irrigated and pure on each side by how we bend and come into the posture.
If we are able to bend well on one side, with harmony, then that side is cleansed. If we are not within harmony then that side is
not properly cleansed and is out of harmony. This in turn will limit the amount of prana or biological energy carried through
that area of the body. Shaucha happens when both sides are cleansed and irrigated.
Santosha - contentment, peacefulness;
B.K.S. Iyengar tells us that when we perform asanas we make blood fall on every cell like water onto turbines. Generating and
releasing hidden energy of our bodies and brings new light to every cell. The more light we bring into the body, into the cells,
the more we shall experience Santosha. An inner peace and contentment shall overcome us and fill us with joy and
Shaucha and Santosha entails physical health and happiness of mind. They allow one to enjoy the pleasure of the world and
be free from disease. For these two aspects there is no need to change one's diet. Beyond the contentment of Santosha,
there is a higher form of contentment and a higher level of performance of asana and yoga practice. To bring about this state
one must add the following to their practice and lifestyle...
Tapas - austerity, practical (i.e, result-producing) spiritual discipline;
Some may define Tapas as austerity, however, it may be better to explain it as a burning desire to cleanse every part of the
body and mind. This is to make to senses and the body permanently pure and healthy. leaving no room for impurities,
whether physical or mental, to enter the body. Tapas can be defined as karma-yoga, the yoga of action, because it requires
us to act to keep each part of the body and mind clean and pure.
Swadhyaya (Kriya Yoga) - self-study, spiritual study;
Atmanivedana or Ishwara Pranidhana (Kriya Yoga) -offering of one's life to God
The last three parts of Niyama are known as auspicious yoga and enables us to reach the highest state of mind, to be free
and dissociated from the vehicle of the body and allows us to become one with the soul. We could call these last three
Niyamas as tools for building spiritual health in which our diet plays an important roll. Without introducing right sattvic diet as
part of one's daily routine then Tapas, Swadhyaya, and Atmanivedana can not practiced or obtained for one's spiritual
developement. Without a Sattvic diet and practice, wisdom and the fruits of Niyama will evade the student.
of the day
Without a Sattvic diet and practice, wisdom and the fruits of Niyama will evade the student.
From Having Purity of Mind One's Mind is Cheerful
|The First Step on the Path of Yoga - Yama
Yoga and Natural Materials/Fibers
|:|: Yoga Cleansing :|: Yogic Diet :|: Sattvic Diet :|: Jali Neti :|: Yama :|: Niyama :|: Gunas :|: Asana :|: Pranayama :|: Daily Practice :|: Yoga Lifestyle :|:
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|Niyama is the Observance of Yoga,
the Second Step in the Path of Yoga