Yoga, Meditation, & Wisdom

The Eight Limbs of Yoga

The column last month discussed the YAMA’s. This month we will continue with the NIYAMA’s.

NIYAMA means rules or laws. Here it becomes the way to fully live your yoga practice through “personal observances”.


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The NIYAMA are much more personal than the NAMA’s. These become our personal rules for living with our spirit, our kindness and compassion.


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Sauca/Saucha Purity

Sauca, or Saucha, means cleanliness and purity. Outwardly, we practice proper hygiene. Inner cleanliness is the way we think and behave. We can use pranayama (breathwork), which cleanses our lungs, bloodstream and nervous system. Practicing asana (postures) and meditation strengthen us in our mind and body. We keep our surroundings pure, as well as our bodies, ingesting no stimulants. We do our best to remove hatred and intolerance, practicing kindness and compassion to all.


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Santosa/Santosha Contentment

This is to feel content with whatever we have in our lives; being at peace even when life feels as if it were pulling you down and down. The difficult things are when the lessons are learned, and we grow spiritually. We learn, hopefully, that there is a purpose to all things. It means not wanting what you don’t, or can’t, have and still finding a way to true happiness.

Tapas – Self-Discipline

This is where we use our energy wisely. We bring our willpower to bear to eat well, breathe correctly, We direct our energies to attain enlightenment and, ultimately, connect with the Divine.


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Svadhyaya – Self-Study

Sva = Self Adhyaya = Inquiry


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Svadhyaya is doing that which causes self-reflection; having self-awareness in all that we do. We accept our limitations and work to eliminate our self-destructive behaviors, whatever they may be.

We have learned through the lessons of life; we have learned through our mistakes. We thoroughly examine our own thoughts and, using truth, find our own true self.

Isvara – Devotion


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Isvara means “lay your actions at the feet of God” (Or Goddess). Celebrate the spiritual. Spend time contemplating the will of the Divine. Bring your spirituality into all that you do, every day. Take time each day to connect, and surrender to your higher power. Dedicate yourself to finding that sacred connection.