13 January, 2014

10 Yamas & 10 Niyamas

Happy new year!

I thought I would share an updated version of the Yamas-Niyamas which I was happy to see included compassion, faith, patience and generosity. The yamas and niyamas are the ethical foundation of Yoga. In Patanjali's Yogasutras (which is an important study for many a yoga teacher), the list is 5 of each, but in the much older Varuha Upanishads, Gorakshanatha's Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Tirumular's Tirumantiram there are 10 of each referred to.

The 10 Yamas - ethical restraints

1) Ahimsa - "Non-injury": Not harming others by thought word or deed.
2) Satya - "Truthfulness": Refraining from lying and betraying promises.
3) Asteya - "Nonstealing": Neither stealing, nor coveting, nor entering into debt.
4) Brahmacharya - "Divine conduct": Controlling lust by remaining celibate when single, leading to faithfulness in marriage. The proper use of sexual energy.
5) Kshama - "Patience": Restraining intolerance with people and impatience with circumstances.
6) Dhriti - "Steadfastness": Overcoming non-perseverance, fear, indecision and changeability.
7) Daya - "Compassion": Conquering callous, cruel and insensitive feelings toward all other beings.
8) Arjava - "Honesty, straightforwardness": Renouncing deception and wrong-doing.
9) Mitahara - "Moderate appetite": Neither eating too much nor consuming meat, fish, fowl, eggs.
10) Saucha - "Purity": Avoiding impurity in body, mind and speech.

The 10 Niyamas - ethical practices

1) Hri - "Remorse": Being modest and showing shame for misdeeds.
2) Santosha - "Contentment": Seeking joy and serenity in life.
3) Dana - "Giving": Giving generously without thought of reward.
4) Astikya - "Faith": Believing firmly in God, Gods, guru and the path to enlightenment.
5) Isvarapujana -"Worship of the Lord": The cultivation of devotion through daily worship and meditation.
6) Siddhanta sravana - "Scriptural listening": Studying the teachings and listening to the wise of one's lineage.
7) Mati - "Cognition": Developing a spiritual will and intellect with the guru's guidance.
8) Vrata - "Sacred vows": Fulfilling religious vows, rules and observances faithfully.
9) Japa - "Recitation": Chanting mantras daily.
10) Tapas - "Austerity": Performing sadhana, penance, tapas and sacrifice.

In Patanjali's more recent work, his list of yamas include ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya and aparigraha (non-covetousness), and his list of niyamas include saucha, santosha, tapas, svadhyaya (self-reflection, scriptural study), Isvarapranidhana (worship).

For the most part, I have kept the language found in Dancing with Siva, written by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami in 1996, which reflects more purely than I could the culture and time in which the original works were written -- or, at least the culture.

Ann Moradian