Niyamas (plural) is derived from Sanskrit meaning ‘positive duties’ or ‘observance’ (according to Wikipedia)
Yoga niyamas are the recommended habits that should be adopted by everyone for healthy life and living. Niyamas are present in the second limb of Ashtanga yoga (eight limbed yoga) and they provide what to do and adopt for a healthy, fruitful, respected life.
There are five niyamas (rules) in the 2nd limb which describe how to live and are very important to those who wants to become true yogis and knows the depth of yoga. While learning yoga, the yoga teacher will teach you yoga but at the same time he will also impart written or oral knowledge to you about various important aspects of yoga and information related to it.
In our yoga teacher training in Goa and yoga teacher training in Dharamsala, we have developed a team of yoga teacher training in India from Mahi Yoga who have full knowledge from minor to major aspects and in-depth knowledge that a yoga student needs.
Before describing them, I want to tell that they are not some simple five lines of rules that can be memorized and you are done-not so fast!
These rules have so much value that I can’t help but compare them to oxygen without which living beings won’t survive including us. These niyamas are oxygen for your yoga life because without their practice you can’t survive as a yogi and you can’t understand true and last aim of doing yoga.
The five niyamas are as follow:-
In 200 hour yoga teacher training certification programs, purification can be done in many ways and for many purposes. There is mind purification, body purification and speech purification.
By observing Shaucha, a person should not speak ill, degrading words and cursing to others and for others, he should develop self restraint on his tongue to purify his way of speaking. It is very difficult for persons who have already developed these habits but they have to go for their own betterment.
A person should purify his/her body from toxins or drugs and try to achieve the sound health-internal and external to create body harmony otherwise that person can’t be free from diseases and drugs. Through asanas (postures) and pranayamas (breath control), a person can clean his/her body of all the ailments that shouldn’t be present.
A person should purify his/her mind to achieve the eternal bliss that yoga focuses on. The purification of mind is necessary because of our mind becoming weak because of today’s life tensions and shrinking peace of mind. This peace can be achieved by pranayama which focus on control and taking breath rhythmically.
It was the first niyama of all the fives and the starting point for us.
Acceptance of their self and others in a person eyes and being happy in what god has given to that person is Santosh. A person who has santosh is free from greed, lust, scheming, plotting against others as they don’t run behind money or fame; they are happy and content as who they are and what they have.
This niyama is important in the view of today’s life and you must have seen yogis who don’t want anything from people because they know that money is nothing but a printed paper, they know that even their body will not go with them after death so how can jewels, cars, houses and money can go with them.
It is very hard for people to achieve content but after a period and practice, it is possible to very depth.
In our yoga retreats, we give full knowledge about all the five niyamas.
Tapa is the self-discipline of true yogis as they do this for self resolution, in the form of deep and concentrated meditation and for realizing of god. It is very hard to do and that’s why new yogis are given tapasya for a brief period and it become more long and long as time passes. Tapasya (state of being in tapas) can stretch from some days to many years depending upon the ability of yogi to carry out full tapasya without interpretation.
In tapasya, yogi don’t eat or sleep or drink, he/she cut themselves up from materialistic world and get lost in their spiritual world to meet with god or to realize their real purpose for coming on to this world. Tapas is a multi dimensional aspects that need time and devotion to understand and practice.
Svadhyaya means reading about own self by own self or can be said that understanding ourselves with the help of only our self. This means understanding owns habits, personality, reactions, goodness, evilness, all in all understanding our deep thoughts and realizing what lay beneath us.
It means realizing and recognizing our soul (the divine light present in us) and seeing the real purpose of our being present here, on this earth. The ancient texts written by great sages help we guide in achieving god and fulfilling our own purpose of life.
Svadhyyayya is of complex nature as it requires for us to understand ourselves which is not an easy task as it looks and it can done only when a person has achieved all the three previous niyamas.
Ishvara Pranidhana (devotion)
Ishvara Pranidhana is called Completion of truth or God. In Hinduism, it is believed that wherever is truth there is god meaning god is truth and truth is god and that’s what this fifth niyama make us understand.
This niyama teach us devotion to god and surrender ahead of him and do karma yoga (work). The yogi who master this niyama do all the things according to god be it help of others or living life in jungle, he believes that everything in this world is happening because of god and he is the eternal truth and each and everything present in this world.
These were the five niyamas that teach us how to create harmony among body, mind and environment and help us understand deep aspects of yoga.
If a person masters them then he/she can become true yogi.