The Eight Limbs of Yoga

According to Patajali’s Yoga Sutras, Asanas are only one of the eight aspects of Yoga. For me, Yoga in its true sense is a way of life and teaches us to be the best version of ourselves. I found the aspects of Yama (moral code) and Niyama (personal conduct) which are two of the eight limbs of Yoga relatable to a lot of religious teaching in India. 

I was born in a Sikh family and Sikhism practices talk a lot about being and doing good to the world rather than following religious practices blindly. I believe similar principle applies to other religions around the world. While Yoga does not necessarily relate to or encourage any religion or religious practices, I do believe that majority of the principles of Yoga and religion are overlapping. The focus in both cases is to be self aware, to live a morally positive and disciplined life, be good and do good to others. 

The five Yamas:

Ahimsa: non-violence
Satya: truthfulness
Asteya: non-stealing
Brahmacharya: non-excess (often interpreted as celibacy)
Aparigraha: non-possessiveness, non-greed

The five Niyamas:

Saucha: purity
Santosha: contentment
Tapas: self-discipline, training your senses
Svadhyaya: self-study, inner exploration
Ishvara Pranidhana: surrender of the ego

While one focuses on following the age old religious practices without knowing some of their true meaning, one should also focus on being positive and content individuals. My takeaway from these learnings is to practice the principles of Yama and Niyama to the extent I can.

Aman (200 Hr – January 2017)

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