a yama is a duty or observance recommended by yogic philosophy and teaching as part of the eight-limbed path of yoga. the word, yama, originally meant “bridle” or “rein” and refers to the restraining nature of the yamas. they are a way of applying the behavioral codes of yoga to the way the yogi relates to the world. practicing the yamas is said to give the yogi the opportunity to live in a way that is healthier and more peaceful.
preceding the niyamas, which compose the second limb of yoga, the yamas describe the restraints needed to live an ethical life, while the niyamas describe the necessary observances. this can also be thought of as the yamas being the “dont’s” and the niyamas being the “dos.” there are believed to be at least 60 ancient sacred texts that describe the yamas, many of which are written in sanskrit. to help you bring attention to your doshas and to identify what your predominant dosha is, we created the following quiz. try not to stress over every question, but simply answer based off your intuition.
takeaway: the yamas serve as a foundation for yoga practice, a character-strengthening base from which to explore the steps beyond. in addition to other well-known practices, such as meditation and pranayama, the other limbs of yoga provide a set of moral, ethical and spiritual guidelines for peace and wellbeing. (learn more in the foundation of the yoga sutras.) yama is sanskrit for “bridle” or “rein.” in much the same way that you can bridle and rein a horse in a particular direction, yamas are intended to guide us along the eight-limbed path of yoga. and yet, ahimsa is so much more than sticking to a plant based diet; it is the recognition that we are all connected.
of course, this encompasses speaking truthful words to others, but the root of satya is to be true to ourselves. the meaning here is not celibacy, but a moderation of all impulses and desires. aparigraha is the practice of letting go of all that is not completely necessary, of realising that we already have everything we need. the eight limbs of yoga build on one another to forge a clear path to health, happiness and peace in body, mind and spirit – and trust me, it’s a lifelong journey. rachel bilski is the manager of yoga pod saigon and co-founder of shanti niwas, a yoga collaborative currently holding yoga retreats and classes in portugal and vietnam.
the yamas, and their complement, the niyamas, represent a series of “right living” or ethical rules within yoga philosophy. it means “reining in” or “control”. these are restraints for proper conduct as given in the vedas and the yoga sutras. they are a form of moral imperatives, commandments, rules or goals. the self-awareness you gain by practicing the five yamas can help you transform negative energy and cultivate a deep, abiding sense of peace. the yamas are the first limb of the ‘eight limbs of yoga’ originating from the ancient indian philosophical text, ‘the yoga sutras of patanjali’. the eight limbs of yoga ; yama (moral discipline) ; niyama (observances) ; asana (physical postures) ; pranayama (breathing techniques) ; pratyahara (sense, niyama yoga, niyama yoga, 5 yamas of yoga, yamas and niyamas, what is yama.
the five yamas of yoga ahimsa is the practice of non-violence, which includes physical, mental, and emotional violence towards others and the yamas means “restraint” in sanskrit. religious texts of hinduism and jainism outline five social restraints and moral codes known as the the yamas (sanskrit: यम, romanized: yama), and their complement, the niyamas, represent a series of “right living” or ethical rules within yoga philosophy, how to remember yamas and niyamas, benefits of yama and niyama, what are the 10 yamas and niyamas, yamas and niyamas in daily life.
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