Philosophy of yoga : the five niyamas of yoga The secondhand limb of patanjali s eight - limbed yoga system contains five internal practices of Niyama ( observance ) These practices extend the ethical codes of conduct provided in his first limb , the Yamas , to the practicing Yogi 's internal environment of the body , mind and spirit . The practice of Niyama helps us maintain necessary to progress along the path of yoga . Shaucha: purification is a central aim of many yogic techniques and is the first principle of patanjali 's five Niyamas . The practices of asanas , pranayama and meditation cleanse and purify the body and mind , as wl as strengthening their capacity to maintain a pure state of being , we must also work at surrounding ourselves with a pure environment ( including food , drink and friends ...) Samtosha ( contentment ) : is to be happy with what we have and when we are perfectly content with all that life gives us then , We attain true joy and happiness . Tapas : ( asceticism ) is a yoga practice of intense self discipline and attainment of will power . Tapas is doing something you do not want to do that will have a positive effect on your life . When our conflicts with the desire of our mind an internal "fire " is created which illuminates and burns up our mental and physical impurities This inner fire can also be used as a source of spiritual energy , the yogis say the sole practice of tapas cane ad to the release of kundalini and attainment of enlightenment . SVADHYAYA: self study is the ability to see our true divine nature through the contemplation of our life's lessons and through the meditation on the truths revealed by seers and sages . Life presents an endless opportunity to Learn about ourselves , our flaws and weaknesses give us the opportunity to grow and our mistakes allow us to learn. Examining our actions becomes a mirror to see our conscious and unconscious motives, thought and desires more clearly . ISHVARA PRANIDHANA : devotion is the dedication , devotion and surrender of the fruits of one's practice to higher power . This Niyama fuses two common aspects of yoga within it : the devotion to something greater than the self and the selfless action of karma yoga. The foundation limbs of patanjali 's eight fold path of yoga Yama a d Niyama create a solid foundation and strong container for the yogini to move into the deeper stages of yoga with focus inner strength and success . Naima philosophy