Awaken the Foundation: A Journey Through the Yamas……

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The very first step on the eight-limbed path begins with setting rules for daily living. Known as the yamas in Sanskrit, the word itself translates to “restraint”.

The yamas themselves exist beyond time and space as universal applications practiced by everyone, no matter the gender, race, or religion. They promote living as a way of peace rather than suffering.

The word restraint may sound unpleasant as it indicates a sense of control to live a humane life and at times, we resist control. However, without structure in our ethical life, there will be no form not only for our personal lives but also in society. This can help not only our relationship with ourselves, but also our relationships with others while defining our moral character.

The concept of the yamas was expounded upon by the sage Patanjali in the second chapter of the Yoga Sutras, which outlines the system of ashtanga, or the eight steps to reach samadhi (enlightenment).

This first step of yama comes before the practice of asana, or physical postures, which means the practice of yoga begins with an inward-directed focus of control. This gives a certain depth and breadth to life beyond just the mundane, externally manifested world. It allows each person to have an inner experience of their interaction with the world around them.

The word restraint may sound unpleasant as it indicates a sense of control to live a humane life and at times, we resist control. However, without structure in our ethical life, there will be no form not only for our personal lives but also in society. This can help not only our relationship with ourselves, but also our relationships with others while defining our moral character.

The yamas of Patanjali are further broken down into 5 rules:

  1. Ahimsa – Nonviolence
  2. Satya – Truthfulness
  3. Asteya – Non-stealing
  4. Brahmacharya – Conscious Energy
  5. Aparigraha – Non-greed

Published on www.yogapedia.com/awaken-the-foundation-a-journey-through-the-yamas. Written by Lindsay Nova Calvert

 

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