Summary: This blog aims to provide its readers an insight into the five yamas or rules of yoga science.
When a yogi sets out to attain the deepest skills and knowledge of yoga, they come across one of the 8 limbs of yoga that help them achieve the absolute state of self-awareness or ‘Samadhi’ – a state where the conscious and the unconscious merge into one divine state of spiritual excellence.
This limb, known as the ‘yama’ is a set of five ‘regulations’ that are meant to help a yogi designate himself to the practice of yogic lifestyle – which further helps him reach the final state of transcendence.
These set of ‘ýamas’ must be followed by all those whose primary purpose in life is to commit themselves to be a true yogi.
What are these five yamas? Let us discuss these in a more explicit manner.
Ahimsa simply denotes the divine act of ‘non-violence’. Following ‘ahimsa’ or nonviolence is the first yama of the five yamas of yoga. Being a preacher of ahimsa has both mental and physical implications. Hurting a person in blood or in words – both deliver a soul to the road of violence or ‘himsa’. Hence, a soul is advised to be careful in choosing their words and actions to ensure neither hurts another being during the course. However, an act of violence committed in self-defence to protect themselves from causing a predator any harm can be an exception to this rule, provided the person commits this act without harbouring prevailing cruel intentions.
The second most vital regulation of the five yamas of yoga is the act of ‘satya’ or ‘truth’. Speaking the truth, believing the truth, nothing but the truth. Analyse the reason behind — why do we feel the urge to lie? Is it to protect ourselves from great despair, distress or sorrow? Or is it to protect someone we love from these disruptive emotions? Even though the former is for a selfish cause and, the latter is not — forging the reality for any kind of gain blocks our way from following the path of ‘truth’.
The third integral niyama is ‘asteya’ or the regulation to never ‘steal’. Stealing does not only refer to illegally pilfer tangible goods or objects you do not have any claim upon – it also implies not to blindly copy or forge someone else’s identity in an attempt to be someone who actually is not. Mindlessly following someone else’s acts or bootlegging another soul’s actions are assumed to be just as depraved as stealing someone else’s tangible property. Emotional stealing is a very usual happening in the lives of several people. Both advertently and inadvertently, most of us have submitted ourselves to the act of emotional stealing. One who desires to attain the true state of samadhi should try and get to know themselves first – develop a unique identity of their own, which is unaffected by anything else whether mortal or immortal.
The fourth Yama of yoga is the state of moderating one’s senses or following the act of ‘brahmacharya’. This yama which seems quite complicated to hear, is actually more than simple to understand. ‘Brahmacharya’ simply refers to gaining control over one’s actions that leads us to the path of immorality. This niyama is about respecting one’s individual choice and following it with due diligence within the moral parameters. Whether abiding by the practice of abstinence if one has vowed for it, or being mentally, emotionally and spiritually committed to the one person you are truly in love with. The rule of ‘brahmacharya’ simply discourages the practice of committing an immoral act or demonstrating licentious behaviour.
The fifth niyama is the act of ‘aparigraha’ or delving into a state of ‘non-possessiveness’. This regulation simply claims ‘do not over claim anything and do not let yourself be owned by it’. If you possess a thing or an object, care for it, but also prepare yourself to let go of it whenever time summons for it. Do not be possessed by the presence of anything in your life – instead cherish it with divinity and respect.
These regulations or ‘yamas’ form the inane core of being a true yogi. Even though these yamas are extremely difficult to follow and certainly not an every soul’s game — these are the only tools that truly test you and put you on the path of self-discovery and transcendence.