Of the 8 limbs of yoga outlined in Patanjali´s Yoga Sutras, the first two attract me the most. These are the Yamas and Niyamas, which I read about over and over and try to embody. It´s not easy, but it´s not impossible. It takes practice though.
The Yamas and Niyamas are the foundation for a way of life that enables us to assume responsibility for our lives, all of our lives, past, present and future.
The Yamas and Niyamas provide tools to lead a life of self-responsibility and of daily practices that can help us choose our attitude, thoughts and behaviors. By studying and putting into practice these guidelines, we can become witness to our thoughts and emotions without allowing ourselves to be swayed by them.
One thing I LOVE about yoga philosophy is that it puts the responsibility on us. It is not a religion, it´s a philosophy that takes work and dedication.
The Yamas translate from Sanskrit to “restraints”: nonviolence (non harming, even with words), truthfulness, non stealing (also non stealing energy, time, etc), non excess, and non possessiveness (detachment). The Niyamas translate from Sanskrit to “observances”: purity, contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and surrender.
If you’ve never read about them, give them a try. Asana yoga is wonderful, but yoga philosophy rules, at least for me!
What do you know about the eight limbs of yoga and the Yamas and Niyamas?