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Yama- Restraints, moral disciplines or moral vows

This first limb, Yama, refers to vows, disciplines or practices that are primarily concerned with the world around us, and our interaction with it. While the practice of yoga can indeed increase physical strength and flexibility and aid in calming the mind, what’s the point if we’re still rigid, weak and stressed-out in day-to-day life? There are five Yamas:

  • Ahimsa (non-violence),

  • Satya (truthfulness),

  • Asteya (non-stealing),

  • Brahmacharya (right use of energy), and

  • Aparigraha (non-greed or non-hoarding).

Yoga is a practice of transforming and benefitting every aspect of life, not just the 60 minutes spent on a rubber mat; if we can learn to be kind, truthful and use our energy in a worthwhile way, we will not only benefit ourselves with our practice, but everything and everyone around us.

In BKS Iyengar’s translation of the sutras ‘Light On The Yoga Sutras’, he explains that Yamas are ‘unconditioned by time, class and place’, meaning no matter who we are, where we come from, or how much yoga we’ve practiced, we can all aim to instill the Yamas within us

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