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The Yogic Disciplines

A Yogi needs to live a disciplined life. People often complain that they are practicing Yogic techniques but are not getting any benefits. If you investigate you will find that such people often live an uncontrolled life. That is why life based on Yama and Niyama is very essential.

Yama

Yama refers to social disciplines. Yama consists of five disciplines. They are:

  • Satya (truthfulness)
  • Ahimsa (non-violence)
  • Asteya (non-stealing)
  • Brahmacharya (celibacy)
  • Aparigraha (non- possessiveness)
Satya

Satya means truthfulness. People often deviate from truthfulness in day to day life. This deviation can be as trivial as instructing your assistant to tell others on phone that you are not in the office even if you are or it can be lying to gain some monetary benefits. A Yogi must follow truthfulness at all levels.

Ahimsa

Ahimsa means non-violence of any kind. Often Himsa is considered as physical injury to others. However, hatred, bitterness and “mental” violence is also a kind of Himsa. Thus Ahimsa means total avoidance of any such activities physical, mental or otherwise.

Asteya

Asteya refers to non-stealing. Though the literal meaning of asteya is non-stealing, it includes the essence of honesty. In order to stealing something you need not be a thief. Cheating your relatives to grab larger share of your ancestral property is also stealing. All such acts of dishonesty should be rooted out from our life.

Bramhacharya

The literal meaning of Brahmacharya is following Bramhan or higher reality. However, more commonly it is referred to observing celibacy. It is important to know that celibacy not only refers to physical restrain but also to mental and verbal restrain. If you are unmarried it is better to stick to strict celibacy. If you are married, following moderation in sexual life is recommended.

Aparigraha

Aparigraha means non- possessiveness. Man’s greedy nature pushes him to keep everything he needs, presently or in future, in his possession. Desires for money and luxuries are never ending. He can’t live in a single house. He needs additional bungalows. One car is not enough, he needs four! Such an attitude should be banished.
 
As you can see Yoga has included values of life or ethics as a part of Yogic practices. In modern world you may find people who claim that in order to attain Yoga only certain Pranayama or Asanas are to be done. Take it for sure that such people do not know what Yoga is. It is the truth that Yoga is attained only by the one who has perfected himself in Yama and Niyama. Following Yama in strict sense might be very difficult for most of us. However, that doesn't reduce its importance. If you want good fruits then you must nourish the tree well. It's the same thing with Yoga.

Niyama

Niyama means self discipline. Niyama are five in number:

  • Shaucha (cleanliness)
  • Santosha (contentment)
  • Tapas (austerities)
  • Svadhyaya (study)
  • Ishwarapranidhana (surrender to God)
Shaucha

Anybody willing to pursue the path of Yoga must cleanse his body and mind. It is very important to note that keeping your mind clean is equally important to bodily cleanliness. It is very easy to get mind dirty with lots of impurities. Unless your body-mind equipment is not clean and strong you can’t attain higher stages of Yoga.

Santosha

How many of us are completely satisfied and happy with what we have today? Possibly very few. Everyone wants "something more" than what he has today. If you are not happy and peaceful you can’t practice Yoga perfectly. Your mind will always be distracted. That's why contentment is very important. Contentment is happiness with one's condition and situation in life, or the state of being satisfied.

Tapas

Tapas means practices of austerities. Note that Tapas does not mean torturing your body or mind. It is tuning your body and mind to face tough conditions. Tapas burns out all the impurities from your body and mind.

Svadhyaya

Svadhyaya refers to studying various Yogic techniques and scriptures. The most important thing in attainment of Yoga is regular practice of Yogic techniques. In addition studying scriptures is recommended because they give you wisdom and attitude for living.

Ishwarapranidhana

Ishwarapranidhana is offering everything that you have - good as well as bad - to God. Once you cultivate such devotional attitude you will find that your wrong deeds, bad habits slowly go away. Somewhere in mind you feel that - "I am offering all my deeds to the God. How can I offer such wrong, bad things to the God?". Naturally your offering to the God becomes purer day by day.

Yama and Niyama are not for just reading or telling others. They are to be strictly followed in day to day life. They are difficult to follow but trying your best to follow them decides your progress. On the one hand you are practicing "Yoga" and on the other, you are craving for "Bhoga". This will certainly take you nowhere. Such attitude will prove to be harmful to your spiritual progress.

 


Bipin Joshi is a software consultant, an author and a yoga mentor with more than 22 years of experience in classical yoga system of India. He is an internationally published author and has authored or co-authored more than ten technology books for Apress and WROX press. He has been awarded as a Most Valuable Professional by Microsoft. He has also written a few Marathi books including Devachya Davya Hati and Natha Sankentincha Danshu. Having embraced yoga way of life he also teaches Kriya and Meditation to selected individuals.

बिपीन जोशी लिखित देवाच्या डाव्या हाती आणि नाथ संकेतींचा दंशु या पुस्तकांची आपली प्रत आजच विकत घ्या. त्यांच्या अजपा योग मार्गदर्शनाविषयी अधिक माहिती येथे उपलब्ध आहे.


Posted On : 06 Jan 2007


Tags : Yoga Patanjali Kriya Yoga Ashtanga Yoga Courses Sadhana