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What are the 5 Yamas?



Posted on Aug 30, 2019 #yoga


Because our teachers are our greatest source of knowledge, let's see how Geeta explains the Yamas:

The Yamas are practices in how you treat others in your environment. Sometimes these Yamas are described as “restraints” but when we use the word restraint it sounds forceful, right? Rather, imagine how nice it would be when these behaviours come right from the heart .Geeta

The Yamas the first limb of yoga. They are beautiful and basic rules which help you live your life.

The Yamas are social practices. We sometimes refer to them as "social restraints." But as Geeta mentions above, that just sounds harsh. Instead, we can look at each Yama as a perspective. We can then weave these perspective into the way that treat others and our environment.

Don't be intimidated by the word "Yamas" - these boil down to a few simple facts that you were probably taught as a young kid: don't lie! don't steal! don't over-exert yourself! don't be selfish! But our yoga practice helps us get these into our daily living. We have to take what we learned as kids and integrate it into the messy situations we find ourselves in as we get older. Does not telling your boss they have spinach in their teeth count as lying?

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Follow along as we briefly describe these 5 basic rules for living, the 5 Yamas.


This is doing your best to lead with kindness. This includes observing your treatment of others. Are you being kind or judgmental? It's also your environment. Are you taking good care of where you live?


Satya is the Sanskrit word for Truth. But not just not lying - being truthful so that you can find your true self. ⠀It means truthfully observing how you feel and understanding what your limitations are. For example, maybe you hang out in a modified version of a yoga pose before doing the full expression. This is Satya.


Asteya is the Sanskrit word for basically "do not steal." But not just material things - also mentally and physically from others AND yourself. Think of your time - do you often overcommit and "steal" time from yourself for things like self-care?


Brahmacharya is the maintenance of vitality through moderation. Moderation in words thought, and actions. It's a balance between pleasure and restraint. In a world overfilled with stimuli, making wise choices about what we read, hear, do, eat, and buy helps us live a full life rather than one of excess.


Part of our yoga practice is finding the natural state of the mind, in which you can truly enjoy and be satisfied with life. This is where greed gets sticky. You start wanting more than you need. Then what you have is never enough. And how can you be at peace with your life if you feel this way?

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Get 2 free private yoga sessions and 2 weeks of unlimited group classes with authentic yoga teachers. No credit card required when you sign up today!

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