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Yamas and what they mean in your Yogi journey

Yamas of yoga ilustration

Yamas are a set of guidelines for practicing yoga and one part of the 8 limbs of yoga as described by Patanjali. These guidelines reflect the positive attributes of a yogi fully immersed in the unitive state of yoga. Although attaining such purity may not be our immediate goal, the Yamas serve as valuable principles to navigate a conscious, honest, and ethical life.

The Five Yamas of Yoga embody principles essential to a yogic lifestyle:

  1. Ahimsa (non-violence) teaches us to refrain from causing harm, whether physical, mental, or emotional, to ourselves and others. By cultivating compassion, we replace judgment and anger with kindness and acceptance, fostering a loving heart even in challenging circumstances.

  2. Satya (truthfulness) encourages us to live and speak our truth authentically. While honoring Ahimsa, we must exercise discernment, refraining from speaking truths that may cause harm. Embracing truthfulness fosters integrity and provides clarity on the path of yoga.

  3. Asteya (non-stealing) urges us to respect the possessions and boundaries of others, refraining from theft in all its forms. Practicing Asteya promotes generosity and combats greed, contributing to a just and equitable society.

  4. Brahmacharya (continence) emphasizes moderation and control over our impulses and desires. By cultivating discipline and balance, we harness our energy for spiritual growth, enhancing vitality and wisdom.

  5. Aparigraha (non-coveting) invites us to let go of unnecessary possessions and desires, recognizing the impermanence of worldly objects. By releasing attachment and embracing simplicity, we connect with our true Self, fostering openness to receive what is truly essential in life.

Yamas are practiced as part of the way life is lived off the mat. While refraining from physical violence may seem straightforward (Ahimsa), the impact of our words can be equally profound. Harm isn't solely manifested through explicit name-calling or blame; often, it's the seemingly innocuous sarcastic remarks casually uttered that leave lasting wounds. We find this sort of behavior normal since it's used as a form of humor. By expressing yourself this way are you really practicing Satya? Most likely not and are hiding what you would really want to say. With this one example both Ahisma and Satya have been disregarded. As the Yamas become integrated into everyday, more situations will arise where a correlation how to practice will become more evident.

The objectives of the Yamas hold practical significance in our lives. By adhering to these principles, we reduce the accumulation of negative karma and prevent the depletion of our energy caused by living inauthentically or unconsciously. Through practicing the Yamas, we aspire to lead healthier, more virtuous, and peaceful lives while enhancing our awareness, willpower, and discernment. Cultivating conscious and skillful actions enables us to navigate strong emotions and negative thought patterns more effectively, reducing the likelihood of acting based on unconscious conditioning. Though challenging, engaging in these practices strengthens our character, enriches our relationships, and propels us forward on the path of yoga.

Essentially do better and be a better human.

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