Having recently started yoga teacher training I have spent a lot of time reading about the yamas and niyamas over the last few weeks so have decided to share as what I have read has really captured my mind.
I will start with the yamas or the rules of social behaviour.
The first of these is ahimsa or non-violence. This can also be considered as living with compassion for all living beings. Donna Farhi explains this well as “Are my thoughts, actions and deeds fostering the growth and well being of all beings?” (Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit by Donna Farhi). We need to start by having compassion for ourselves and having a kind internal dialogue.
The second is satya speaking truthfully and having a commitment to living your truth.
The third is asteya non-stealing or honesty. From what I have read on this I think it means to have an appreciation for what you have both materially and emotionally and trying to ensure not to demand more than we need either personally or physically.
Brahmacharya or “merging with the one” can be interpreted as using as our sexual energy to regenerate our connection to our spiritual self. It also means not using that energy in a way which might harm another. Brahmacharya means merging one’s energy with God.
Finally there is aparigraha or not grasping. This could be described as a decluttering or letting go, the realisation that what we need comes from within.