Re the note to self. This is the practice that has worked for me for the last few years but that I've allowed to slip somewhat over the 9 months. It's a reminder to myself than anything else.
Not everyone will feel they have time to practice in the evening as well as a little pranayama at noon or before bed, however a gesture can be enough, taking a few minutes to bring attention to the breath and if alone perhaps to formally raise and lower the arms with the breath....
Here are a few different treatments of the Yama and Niyama's first Ramaswami's overview from his book Yoga Beneath the Surface, then his teacher of over thirty years Krishnamacharya's ( Yoga makaranda 1934 and Yogasanagalu 1941)who has ten of each rather than five and finally Pattabhi Jois from Yoga Mala who goes into more detail quoteing from Patanjali throughout.
It's unlikely many will have time to read all of this in one go so I've turned this and an earlier post with flashcards into a stand alone page at the top of the blog.
from Yoga beneath the Surface
Yama comes from the root yam, meaning "to control." Control
of what? Control of one's relationship with the extemal world.
The yamas are:
Ahimsa (nonviolence) - don't harm others. Your rela tionship with ali beings in the universe is governed by ahimsa. You should practice nonviolence in your rela tionship with ali beings, without exception. According to the texts, you should not harbor violent thoughts, nor speak in a way that hurts or physically harms others.
Satya (truthfulness)- don't lie. Truthfulness should gov ern your communication with others.
Asteya (noncovetousness)- don't steal or covet others' possessions.
Brahmacharya (celibacy/faithfulness)- don't transgress the institution of marriage.
Aparigraha (nonaccumulation) - do not pursue wealth and power.
Why are these controls necessary? Because without them, you will constantly be distracted by the elements of the externa! world and all of your time is going to be consumed by fights, deception, and other corrupting thought processes, the very mental activities the yogi wants to eschew to begin with. These are not far ordinary people, but a serious yogi can make little progress without them.
The yamas are the "don'ts," whereas the...
are the "dos:' They are:
Saucha (cleanliness) - cleanliness of the body and purity of rnind.
Santosha (contentment) - contentment all the time, irrespective of the situation.
Tapas (austerity) - restraining the senses. My teacher would say that moderation in food and speech are the hallmarks of this yogic trait.
Swadhyaya (study of scriptures) - study of all relevant yogic and other spiritual texts, which helps the yogi to understand yoga better.
Ishvarapranidhana (worship of the Lord) - doing one's duties diligently as an offering to God.
There is no violent yogi. Nor is there one who utters falsehood. Bandit yogis are nonexistent. Philandering and yoga do not mix. Avarice also is not a yogic trait. Yogis have clean minds and bodies. Contentment is the hallmark of a yogi. Moderation is a yogic virtue. A yogi is a scholar as well. All that the yogi does, he does so with a sense of loving offering to God.
All the yarma niyamas are to be practiced, or may I say adopted, by the yogi. They are necessary prerequisites and required to be developed as a habit.
|Link to Amazon|
2.1 Yama and Niyama from Krishnamacharya's Yoga makaranda
Ahimsa, satya, asteya, brahmacharya, kshama, dhrthi, daya, arjavam, mitahara and sauca — these ten are called yama.
1. To never harm anybody through mind, speech or action is ahimsa.
2. To always speak the truth with good intentions and through that be of use
to all living beings is satya.
3. To not usurp other people’s wealth through mind, speech or action is called
4. To not waste your viryam by any means is called brahmacharyam.
5. To not change the state of your mind irrespective of whether you get the expected benefits of your actions or not is kshama (equanimity).
6. Whatever hurdles arise to your happiness or welfare, to continue to undertake with mental steadfastness and courage whatever work that has to be done is dhrthi.
7. Be it enemy, friend, stranger (an alien or somebody you are unconnected to or indifferent to) or relative, to behave towards all with the same good intentions without differentiation is daya.
8. To keep the state of mind honest (on the straight path) is arjavam.
9. To use half the stomach for food and to keep the other half in equal parts
for water and for air flow (vayu sancharam) is mitahara.
10. To maintain cleanliness internally and externally is sauca.
To not hoard money is called asanchayam and this is also a yama. To perform good deeds without fear is a yama.
Tapas, santosha, asthikya, daana, isvara puja, siddhanta vakya sravana, hri, mathi, japa, homam — these ten are called niyama.
1. Cold and hot, joy and sorrow, adoration and aversion — to maintain a steady state of mind when encountering these and to follow the dharma of your caste is tapas.
2. The sorrows and pleasure that result from any occurrences due to variations of time and place — to accept these with a peaceful, contented mind is santosha.
3. To have definite belief that for all the fourteen worlds, there is one para- matma who protects these worlds and to be sure that without him, this diverse universe could not have come into existence, and to make up your mind to find and know (realize) this paramatma is asthikya.
4. To give away your earnings (earned honestly) to good causes without any reason and without expecting any returns is daana.
5. To worship one’s chosen deity in the proper manner according to the vedas is isvara puja.
6. For the purpose of establishing sanatana dharma, to study the vedas, the vedanta, smrti, the puranas and ithihasas, to do vedic study and recitation of these, to understand the functioning of various dharmas, and to listen to the discourses of great sages is siddhanta vakya sravana.
7. If you have strayed with one of the three — your body, possessions or spirit — out of ignorance, to inform the elders about this without hiding it, to feel remorse and promise never to repeat it, and to be humble in one’s mind is hri (modesty).
8. Following one’s path as specified by the sastras and while doing this to visualize with one-pointed mind the divine auspicious form of one’s chosen deity and to perform dhyana on this deity is mathi.
9. To properly chant the great mantras learned under the guidance of one’s guru with correct intonation, metre and rhythm and with understanding of their meaning is japa.
10. Nitya naimitika kaamya are the three types of srouta smarta karmas (pre- scribed or recorded vedic rites and rituals). Leaving aside the kaamya karma (action or rite performed with a self-interested motive or with a view to- wards desired results), to perform the nitya naimitika karmas (nitya karma is a constant or continuous rite or action, naimitika is a regularly recur- ring or periodic rite or action) at the proper time in order to please the devatas, and after reciting all the mantras to put the havis (rice) in the fire as described in the sastras is homam.
These ten yama and niyama should be carefully practised as far as possible. This will have many benefits. The third part of yoga is asana.
But if you prefer to stick with just five for now here's Pattabhi Jois fromYoga mala
HOW CAN WE MAKE THE MIND ONE-POINTED SO THAT WE MAY SEE THE Universal Self?
This is what ashtanga yoga teaches.
The word ashtanga means eight limbs, or steps, and these comprise: yama; niyama; asana; pranayama; pratyahara; dharana; dhyana; and samadhi.
Ahimsa means not causing injury to anyone, including animals, in any form, at any time, or for any reason, in word, thought, or deed. If an injury has Vedic sanction, it does not constitute ahimsa. Two animals hostile to each other will forget their hostility in the vicinity of those who practice absolute ahimsa.
Ahimsa pratishthayam tat sannidhou vairatyagah.
[Upon being established in non-hurtfulness, there is
a relinquishing of hostility in the presence of that (ahimsa).]
—Patanjali Yoga Sutras ii : 35
What is satya? Satya is truthfulness. One should always tell the truth in thought, word, and deed. The truth must be pleasant to others; an unpleasant truth should not be uttered. If one follows the truth in this manner, all one’s words will become true and all one’s desires will be fulfilled.
Satya pratishthayam kriya phala shrayatvam.
[Upon being established in truth, there is surety in the result of actions.]
—Patanjali Yoga Sutras ii : 36
Asteya means not stealing the property or possessions of others. Being envious of or begrudging another; cheating someone with sweet words; gaining selfish ends under the guise of truthfulness: all are to be abandoned. Heaps of gems fall before the yogi who practices asteya, and he becomes the abode of all gems.
Asteya pratishthayam sarvaratna upasthanam.
[Upon being established in non-stealing, there occurs the attainment of all prosperity.]
—Patanjali Yoga Sutras ii : 37
Now, let us discuss brahmacharya. What is its meaning? Is it
merely the retaining of vital fluid? Does it signify unmarried student life? Brahmacharya is not possible by means of the mere retention of vital fluid. Becoming one with the supreme Brahman alone is brahmacharya. Were the holding of vital fluid itself brahmacharya, it would be a thing impossible to do. There are currently many obstacles to the easy
practice of this limb of yoga, and our Shrutis and Smritis, too, speak of eight types of obstacles:
Smaranam kirtanam kelih Prekshanam muhyabhashanam Sankalpah adhyavasayascha Kriya nishpattireva cha
Etam maithunam ashtangam pravadanti manishinah.
[Remembering; celebrating; amorous play;
viewing; infatuated discussion; planning; determination; and the effort of one who has no partner: the wise declare these to be the eight limbs of romantic activity.]
(NOTE: WHAT FOLLOWS IS A LONG PRESENTATION BY PATTABHI JOIS ON BRAMACHARYA, YOU AMY WANT TO JUMP AHEAD TO THE NEXT YAMA, APARIGRAHA AND COME BACK LATER)
Maintaining brahmacharya nowadays is difficult because there are so many things that attract the mind in different directions, such as theaters, pleasure houses, restaurants, and the like. The preservation of brahmacharya is thus an uphill task.
Now, a question arises. If we cannot maintain brahmacharya, does it not amount to saying that yoga is impossible for us? No, a man can achieve some degree of brahmacharya. If he is to achieve it, however, he must avoid the following as much as possible: mixing with vulgar people; going to crowded areas for recreation; reading vulgar books which disturb the mind; going to theaters and restaurants; and conversing secretly with strangers of the opposite sex. If these are avoided, brahmacharya can be preserved in part. For it is by brahmacharya alone that we are able to achieve impossible tasks: to live longer; to conquer death; and, above all, to know the true Self. This is the substance of Patanjali’s sutra:
“Brahmacharya pratishtayam virya labhah [Upon being established in brahmacharya, vital energy is obtained].”
We should thus first seek to preserve this yogic limb.
As Patanjali’s sutra clearly states, a gain in vitality is brahmacharya’s fruit. If a gain in vitality is the fruit and, in the case of householders, there is occasion for a loss of vital fluid, does it mean that a householder cannot attain brahmacharya? This, of course, is true: householders lose brahmacharya owing to seminal loss. With the loss, they lose the strength of their bodies, minds, and sense organs; in addition, moksha [spiritual liberation] and the capacity to perceive the soul or realize the true Self become impossible. In the absence of the knowledge of one’s own Self, one remains in the cycle of birth and death, and thus must continue to suffer in this sapless and despicable world. However, understanding properly the meanings of the words brahmacharya and virya labhah, and then putting them into practice, leads us to the supreme goal.
Tasmat shastram pramanam te karyakarya vyavasthitou Jnatva shastra vidhanoktam karma kartumiharhasi [Therefore, the sacred teaching (shastra) is your measure in deter- mining what is to be done and what is not to be done. Knowing what is said in the shastra, you should act, here in this world.]
—Bhagavad Gita xvi : 24
In accordance with these divine words, it is important for us to study the scriptures perfectly, to understand their import properly, and to bring them into practice. The scriptures should never be neglected, for they have been given to us for our upliftment. If we denounce them, and behave like animals instead of following their path, then there will be nothing but ruin in store for us. Hence, the righteous path of the scriptures is vital.
Among the stages of life, the second is that of the householder. If we take only seminal loss into account, then a householder cannot attain mukti [spiritual liberation]. However, when we consult the scriptures, we find it said that, for householders, seminal loss by itself does not endanger brahmacharya and that, in the truest sense of the word, the householder alone can attain brahmacharya. In the words of the mantra:
Ye diva ratya samyujyante pranameva praskandante Tatryrudrarau rathya samyujyante brahmacharyam eva [Those who daily engage their energy through romantic activity truly dissipate (their energy). Those who take delight when the enemy of Shiva (Kama/Cupid) is in decline indeed engage in brahmacharya.]
By examining this scriptural statement, we come to know that if a man has sexual intercourse with his wife during the daytime, his power of vitality will be lost and, in a very short time, death will conquer him. To counter this, the young men of today offer a different argument. They say, “If a man has sexual intercourse with his lawful wife during the day, his power of vitality is, of course, decreased. Agreed! But what about sex with other women? Where is the fault in that?!” This is only the question of perverted rationalists. Intercourse with other women is always forbidden and, as has been said before, it is, even mentally, harmful to brahmacharya.
Leaving that aside, the shastrakaras state that if sexual intercourse is engaged in only at night and in accordance with the menstrual periods, then even householders and the like can be regarded as
brahmacharis. But the matter of day and night, as well as of the appropriate time for copulation, have to be taken into consideration. Normally, we consider day as the period from sunrise to sunset. Similarly, we consider night as the period from sunset until the time of the sun’s rising again. However, the way of determining day and night for yogis is different. Of the nostrils of the nose through which we breathe, the
right one is known as surya nadi, and the left one, as chandra nadi. For yogis, day and night are determined on the basis of these two nadis. During the day, meaning from sunrise to sunset, the two nadis are not to be heeded. However, during the nighttime, their transformation should be considered. If, during the night, the breath is felt to be moving through the surya nadi, that is, if the wind is coming and going through the right nostril, then that is to be regarded as the daytime and, during that period, copulation and the like are not to occur. If, during the night, on the other hand, the breath is moving only through the chandra nadi, then that is the occasion for sexual activities. (Should the chandra nadi become active during the daytime, however, it must not be taken as an occasion for engaging in sexual activities.) In this way should householders who are righteous—whether they be yogis or not—ascertain day and night.
In addition to the matter of day and night, the menstrual cycle must also be considered. The interval between the fourth and sixteenth day of a woman’s cycle is regarded as the correct time for intercourse by scriptural experts. Beyond the sixteenth day, however, it ceases to be correct; vitality will be lost and the act will not be fruitful following intercourse after the sixteenth day. When we accept the stage of the householder, we make a promise to God, Guru, and our parents in this way. We also make a promise that we will do nothing apart from our lawful wife with respect to dharma, artha, and kama [righteousness, wealth, and desire, respectively]. Hence it is very important that we beget legal progeny. Engaged in after the sixteenth day, as well as on the days of the new and full moons, the transitory day of the sun (when the sun monthly enters a new constellation), and the eighth and fourteenth days after the full and new moons, sexual intercourse and the like are not related to brahmacharya. Union with one’s lawful wife should be undertaken for the sake of begetting good progeny, and only after determining the vitu [period between the 4th and 16th days] and kala [time], and not on any other days, not even in the mind. Thus, in view of the fact that scriptural experts inform us that a householder who follows the injunctions and rules can be regarded as a brahmacharin, then even a family man becomes highly eligible for the practice of yoga, due to his ability to preserve his brahmacharya. Thus, brahmacharya does not mean the holding of vitality, though there is still no room for its squandering.
In truth, establishing the mind in the supreme Brahman, without allowing it to wander here and there, is brahmacharya. The word veerya means vitality. The transformation of the thirty-second drop of blood is veerya, or dhatu [semen]. If the strength of the mind, as well as of the sense organs, is to be preserved, then the strength of the dhatu, which is the effect of the blood’s transformation, must also be preserved. If dhatu is lost, the strength of the mind, as well as that of the sense organs, will also be lost, and it will not be possible to perceive the nature of the Self. Therefore, to say that from brahmacharya there will be a gain in vitality is to say that if the mind turns toward the Inner Self for the sake of knowing the nature of the Self, then the strength will increase. Conversely, if the mind is interested in external objects, then the strength will be dimininished. From the scriptural statement, “Nayam atma balahinena labhyah [The Self cannot be gained by the weak],” we see that mental strength is greater than physical strength. Therefore, if the mind is to be steadied and brought to concentration, it must contemplate the Supreme Self at all times. In other words, whether working, sleeping, eating, playing, or even enjoying intercourse with one’s wife—that is, during the three states of experience, namely waking, dreaming, and deep sleep, and in all objects—one should think of the Supreme Self at all times. If the mind is thus given to the constant thought of the Supreme Self, then its strength will increase. And it is this strength that should be regarded as brahmacharya.
If brahmacharya of this kind is achieved, then the capacity to realize the Self, which is the result of a gain in vitality, will be attained. With this, the dhatu, which is the effect of the transformation of the blood, will not be lost, but will continue to nourish the body properly. Only the strong, not the weak, can perceive the Self, as the scriptural statement above tells us. Therefore, the meaning of the phrase virya labhah is indeed correct. Hence, the great importance of brahmacharya.
Brahmacharya pratishthayam virya labhah.
[Upon being established in brahmacharya, there is the attainment of vital energy.]
—Patanjali Yoga Sutras ii : 38
What is aparigraha? If the mortal body is to be sustained, things like food are essential. After all, by sustaining the body, does one not attain divinity through following the righteous path? Thus, the food we eat should be pure (sattvic), untainted (nirmala), and acquired through righteousness, and not be secured by cheating, deceit, persecution, or other unjust means. Only taking as much food as we need to maintain our bodies, and not desiring things of enjoyment which are superfluous to the physical body, is aparigraha. If the limb called aparigraha is firmly practiced, details of previous and future births are revealed to the yogi.
Aparigraha sthairye janma kathamta sambodhah.
[Upon a foundation of non-possessiveness, there arises the full understanding of the wherefore of birth.]
—Patanjali Yoga Sutras ii : 39
EACH OF THE FIVE SUB-LIMBS ABOVE IS ASSOCIATED WITH YAMA, THE FIRST limb, and only the actions of previous lives will lead us to practice them. Thus, the mind will turn itself to the practice of yoga only when a samskara or vasana is present. Yet even where a samskara exists, aspirants must expect to practice the yogic steps with effort.
We come now to a discussion of niyama,
the second step, which has five sub-limbs: shaucha; santosha; tapas; swadhyaya; and ishwarapranidhana.
There are two types of shaucha, or purification: bahir shaucha [external purification] and antah shaucha [internal purification].
Bahir shaucha, the first, involves washing the outer part of the body with red clay and water. By rubbing the body with clay, sweat and dirt are removed, and the body becomes soft and shiny.
The second, antah shaucha, means viewing everything and every being as a friend, and treating all with affection (maitri). This means engaging the mind with the supreme feeling that all are our friends, and considering everything to be a reflection of God. Such focusing of our attention on the Supreme Being is antah shaucha.
From this twofold shaucha, a loathing is developed for the body, which is seen as abominable, essenceless, and perishable, and a disgust is felt when touching the body of another. It is then that one feels the body’s purity and thus hesitates to indulge in sin.
Shauchat swanga jugupsa parair asamsargah.
[Owing to purity, there is a desire to protect one’s own body, being the non-contact with whatever is adverse (to that).]
—Patanjali Yoga Sutras ii : 40
Santosha, or contentment, is a notion we are all quite familiar with. Ordinarily, human beings experience elation when their incomes unexpectedly rise or they experience a windfall of some type. Yet happiness of this kind is momentary and short- lived. Whether one is rich or poor, whether the Goddess of Fortune smiles on one or not, or whether honor or dishonor comes to one, one should never feel dejected. Keeping the mind focused in a single direction, always being happy, and never feeling regret for any reason, this is the contentment known as santosha. If santosha is practiced, unsurpassed joy comes.
Santoshad anuttama sukha labhah.
[Owing to contentment, there is an unexcelled attainment of happiness.]
—Patanjali Yoga Sutras ii : 42
Tapas means observances performed to discipline the body and sense organs. According to the Yoga
Yagnavalkya: “Vidhinoktena margena Krchra Chandrayanadibih, Sharira Shoshanam prahuh tapasastapa uttamam [Sages well- versed in austerity say that performing penances such as krchra and chandrayana (food regulation in accordance with the lunar cycles), which discipline the body in accordance with the scriptures, is the greatest of all the tapas).”
Thus, tapas that follow the injunctions of the shastras should be regarded as great. By means of them, impurities are destroyed, the antah karana [the inner instrument, made up of mind, intellect, ego, and the faculty of discrimination] becomes purified, and the body and sense organs are perfected.
[The perfection of the body and sense organs is due to intensity in spiritual practice, being the elimination of impurities.]
—Patanjali Yoga Sutras ii : 43
Swadhyaya is the recital of Vedic verses and prayers in accordance with strict rules of recitation. Vedic hymns must be recited without damaging the artha [meaning] and Devata [deity] of a mantra through the use of a wrong swara [pitch] or the improper articulation of akshara [letter], pada [word], or varna [sentence].
The Gayatri mantra forms the basis for the study of all Vedic verses, or mantras, which fall into two
categories: the Vedic and Tantric. Vedic mantras consist of two types, namely the pragita and apragita, and Tantric mantras, of three types: the strilinga; pullinga; and napumsakalinga. To learn their nature, a text known as the Mantra Rahasya must be studied. However, as mantras such as these are not very helpful to raja yoga, we shall put off discussing them for the time being.
Gods related to the mantras give siddhis [powers] to those who chant them and ponder their meanings, and a Satguru [true or supreme Guru] should be consulted to learn their secrets.
Swadhyayad ishtadevata samprayogah.
[Owing to the learning and application of personal mantras, there is union with (one’s) desired deity.]
—Patanjali Yoga Sutras ii : 44
Ishwarapranidhana, or surrender to God, means carrying out all our actions, spoken or unspoken, without desiring their fruit, and offering their fruit to the Lord. This is the message of the great sages:
Kamatah akamatovapi yat karomi shubhashubham tat sarvam tvayi vinyasya tvat prayuktah karomyaham. [Whatever I do, whether out of desire or not, good or bad, having surrendered all that to you, I act as directed by you.]
Such an offering is known as ishwarapranidhana. Through ishwarapranidhana , samadhi [union with the Supreme] is attained, which in turn leads to the attainment of perfection and fulfillment.
Samadhi Siddih Ishwarapranidhanat.
[The perfection of samadhi is due to the perfect alignment of attention with the omniscient seer within.]
—Patanjali Yoga Sutras ii : 45
|Link to Amazon.com|
Beware the kindle edition
Krishnamacharya on Yama Niyama in Yogasanagalu (1941)
See page at top of blog with ongoing translation ( the translation of the original book is complete but still an additional chapter included in later editions to come).