What Are Yoga Principles?

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Yamas and Niyamas Explained

Here at Sojourn, we aim to cultivate a healing space open to all - no matter where you're at in your journey. Part of this goal entails us educating our members of the ancient practice of yoga. Believe it or not, yoga as a physical practice is just one element of what it means to be a "yogi." If you've taken a class with us or received our monthly newsletter, you might have noticed we have been incorporating a monthly "yama." These yamas and niyamas are the first two "limbs" of the Eight Limbs of Yoga created by Patanjali. Without even realizing it, you might already be familiar with the third limb- "Asanas" which are our yoga postures or poses, basically where we derive our physical practice.

For this blog post, we will be going over the first two of the eight limbs- yamas and niyamas. Consider these both as a code of conduct, if you will. Invite them as an opportunity to take your yoga off the mat and guide your thoughts and behaviors in your daily life. 

Yamas

Yamas are a way to guide your integrity, as Yoga Journal states, "Yamas are universal practices that relate best to what we know as the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.""

The five yamas are:

Ahimsa: non violence
Satya: truthfulness
Asteya: non stealing
Brahmacharya: continence
Aparigraha: non grasping

Niyamas

Niyamas are a guiding force when it comes to discipline and spirituality. This could take form in many ways- a yoga or meditation practice, prayer, or even attending church.

The five niyamas are:

Saucha: cleanliness
Samtosa: contentment
Tapas: heat; spiritual austerities
Svadhyaya: study of the sacred scriptures and of one's self
Isvara pranidhana: surrender to God

So there you have it, our yamas and niyamas in a nutshell. As mentioned, we will be dedicating every month to a yama and/or niyama to further familiarize you with this extraordinary practice of yoga. For the month of October, we will be diving into the practice of Satya (truthfulness). So be sure to visit us in our beautiful Banker's Hill space so you can explore and connect with each yama and niyama personally.