Philosophy of Yoga

The most fundamental ethical precepts, the first limb of the eightfold path is yama, which is a ‘moral restraint’ or rule for living virtuously.  Patanjali considers this a universal morality; self-restraint and self-discipline necessary to head towards fulfillment of dharma or our life purpose. It is concerned with the attitude we have towards things and people around us, about how we use our energy in relationship to others and ourselves. The 5 yamas: non-Violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence and non-coveted are oriented towards our individual behavior, allowing us to coexist harmoniously with others. Practicing of the five yamas will also help to transform negative energy and cultivate a deeper sense of peace.

Ahimsa basically means non-violence, not just physically but also in our feelings, thoughts and words. At root, it means kindness, friendliness and compassionates all living things. It implies that we should adopt considerable attitude and do no harm when we are dealing with negative situations.

Satya means truth, non-lying. Be truthful in our feelings, thoughts, words and actions. Living in your truth creates honor, respect and integrity. It is important to refrain from telling lies and speak with kindness and compassion (fulfilling ahimsa first).

Asteya means non stealing. It entails to not committing theft physically (in actions or words) and mentally. Asteya occurs usually when we, as human beings, are not contented. When there is a  perceived lack of abundance, it turns into greed.

Brahmacharya means continence. It is the practice of moderation of the senses, to free one from dependencies and cravings. To observe our mind and senses inwardly, so that we may attain greater control over our physical impulse of excess (sexual) energy. It is used mostly in the sense of abstinence in relationship or sexual activity. As such, energy is conserved and can be applied for other higher spiritual purposes.

Aparigraha means to be non-coveted, take what is necessary and not be greedy. It is the greed that’s rooted in jealousy. The desire to be like someone else or the desire to possess something that someone else has is being coveted. Practicing aparigraha helps to let go of our physical attachment to things which are impermanent, in turn, to be contented with what we already possess.

 

J (Nov 2014, 200Hr Weekday)