What is Yoga? I always thought that Yoga is all about poses (Asana) and breathing. I am so wrong. Yoga is more than just that.
Most of us are accustomed to looking outside of ourselves for fulfillment. We are living in a world that conditions us to believe that outer attainments can give us what we want. Many times our experiences show us that nothing external can completely fulfill the deep longing within for “something more.”
I was introduced to Patanjalis Yoga Sutra, Yama and Niyama, the first two limbs of the eightfold paths of Ashtanga which literally means “eight limbs” These basically act as guidelines on how to live a meaningful and purposeful life. They serve as a prescription for moral and ethical conduct and self realization. They direct attention toward our health and help us to acknowledge the spiritual aspects of our nature.
Yama is the first limb that deals with our ethical standard and sense of integrity, focusing on our behavior and how we conduct ourselves in life.
There are 5 Yamas.
Ahimsa : Non Violence
Satya : Truthfulness
Asteya : Non-Stealing
Brahmacharya : Continence
Aparigraha : Non Covetousness
Niyamas is the second limb and has to do with self discipline and spiritual observances.
There are 5 Niyamas.
Saucha : Cleanliness
Santosha : Contentment
Tapas : Self discipline and Perseverance
Swadhyaya : Self Study
Ishwara Parnidha : Surrender to God
I am very sure the sutras serve as a constant reminder to check and to make improvement in our life. I have found that being conscious of the sutras, acknowledging where they apply in our life and then taking action has led to a higher level of happiness.