Niyamas Yoga

Niyamas - Personal Observances and Disciplines

A Code to living more soulfully

1. Sauca – Purity of body and mind

Sauca means purity and cleanliness. It has both aspects of inner and outer cleanliness. The inner cleanliness has to do with our health, our organs functioning and the clarity of our mind. Outer cleanliness simply means keeping ourselves clean and our lives uncluttered. Practicing asanas (yoga postures) and pranayama (using the breathen to strengthen our live force) are essential for the inner sauca. Asanas tones our physical body, creates stamina and removes toxin from the body, while pranayama cleanses our lungs, purifies our nervous system and oxygenate every cell of the body. The physical cleansing is the cleansing of the mind of any disturbing emotions, such as hatred, sadness, lust, anger, passion delusion and pride. When we unclutter our personal environment we are able to remain focus on the higher aspect of living more consciously and more fully. We are less likely to be distracted by outside stimulation that takes us away from our center.

2. Santosa – Modesty

Santosa means being happy with what we have and have a sense of modesty. Being at peace with what we have means acceptance – accepting that there is a purpose in everything. Thus we can cultivate contentment and compassion.

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3. Tapas – Burning desire to reach self-realization

Tapas literally translates to “heat” or purifying the body. It also refers to excitement to learn and understand the tools of life to self-realization. Another form of tapas is to observe our body postures, eating habits, breathing patterns, and honor the body as a vessel that makes our human experience possible.

4. Svadhyaya –Self study and observation

Any activity that cultivates self-examination can be considered Svadhyaya. It means finding self-awareness intentionally even to the point of embracing our limitations. This teaches us to be non-reactive and centered to the dualities of being human and spirit at the same time and to wash away self-destructive tendencies so we can live in harmony with all aspects of ourselves.

5. Isvarapranidhana – Surrender to the Divine flow

Isvarapranidhana means to “lay all your actions at the feet of ____.” Fill in the blank with what you have faith in, whether it is Buddha, Mother Teresa, Yourself, God, etc,. It is recognition that spirituality spreads everything. Through our attention and attunement, we begin to realize our role as a great whole and see the good in everything. There is a greater force that is guiding and directing the course of our lives, and seeing each little thing as a divine expression.

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