Philosophy – Ethics

In Ashtanga Yoga philosophy there are the 10 ethical main points. The five Yamas (actions, which we consciously avoid) and the five Niyamas (actions which we consciously cultivate). For me personally, the attention of Yamas and Niyamas is a basic requirement to integrate yoga into everyday life and to lead a conscious peaceful life and to be a good role model for others.

Many of the great spiritual traditions of the world have as their foundation ethical rules and guidelines which help the student/ aspirant to have harmonious relationships with their fellowman and with society as a whole. An example would be the Ten Commandments in the Judeo-Christian tradition or Ahimsa (non-violence) in the Buddhist teachings.
In this path of Ashtanga Yoga, the sage Patanjali compiled the Eightfold Path (Ashtanga, meaning eight limbs or stages). The first two limbs are composed by the restrictions and observances called the Yamas and Niyamas.
These are the requirements through which the student will be prepared for the internal stages the will ultimately lead to liberation from suffering and union with the Self or God or whatever conception of a Higher Power the individual holds.

 

The five Yamas/ Restrictions:

Ahimsa – Non violence
Satya – Truthfulness
Asteya – Non stealing
Brahmacharya – Sexual abstinence or celibacy
Aparigraha – Non possessiveness

The five Niyamas/ Observances

Saucha – Cleanliness
Santosha – Contentment
Tapas – Self discipline
Svadhyaya – Self-study
Ishvara Pranidhana – Surrender to God