In the simplest of terms, yoga is like a tree comprised of eight limbs. Each one of these limbs represents a different level of the practice.
The yamas and niyamas comprise the first and second limbs respectively and are ethical precepts that apply to how one relates to oneself and to society. By the most essential definition, the yamas are restraints while the niyamas are observances.
In a nutshell, the yamas are as listed below :
- Ahimsa – non-violence
- Satya – truth
- Asteya – non-stealing
- Brahmacharya – continence
- Aparigraha – non-attachment
Seems pretty cut an dry, right? Avoid these things, behave yourself and you’re golden.
Except we all know that it’s not that easy. If it were, we’d live in a world free of horrible things like assault rifles, child brides and TMZ.
Let me explain them as I understand them. I’ll keep it simple.