Yamas (Moral Restraints) and Niyamas (Disciplines) represent the guiding principles of Yoga. They are not a prescription for how you ought to be, but a description of how you are when you are being your true self. Use them to help you see yourself more clearly and consciously. Reflecting without self-criticism, guilt, or shame can open you to the power of Divine energy to transform your daily living.
Ahimsa encompasses seeing through all things with love and compassion, creating and affirming peace everywhere, knowing that which manifests as violence only comes out of fear. If we can see through the fear and just love then we in our hearts are practicing ahimsa, non-violence.
Affirmation: I nurture and cherish myself. I am kind and compassionate to others.
Satya means truth. Truthfulness of speech, thought, and deed. Honesty. Owning feelings. Clear, loving communication. Opening to the truth of the divinity in all.
Affirmation: I have the courage to see the truth. I am willing to move beyond my limited view of the world. I speak the truth with compassion.
Not coveting, not being jealous, proper time management. Realizing the abundant nature of the universe. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude, completeness and wholeness.
Affirmation: All the abundance of the universe flows through me. All my needs are abundantly fulfilled.
BRAHMACHARYA (Moderation, Reverence for the creative life-force within)
Neither obsessing nor repressing, make peace with sensual cravings or any interest that pulls you off-center from your Source. Avoid overindulgence of mind, intellect, speech, or body. Conscious sexuality. Ecological sensitivity. Everything in moderation, including moderation itself.
Affirmation: I am moderate, centered and complete. I use my energy in ways that lead me closer to my Source. I treat myself and others with respect. I recognize the inherent divinity in all.
Clinging, grasping and hoarding indicate poverty of Spirit. Recognize the abundant nature of your life as it is now. Release attachments to others, to ideas and plans, possessions, expectations, dreams. Reduce clutter. Let go of the fear that you won’t have enough.
Affirmation: I am perfectly safe and taken care of. I am a divine child of the universe. I am one with all creation.
Releasing the obstacles that prevent us from recognizing our inherent Divinity. By practicing cleanliness of body and orderliness of surroundings, we become predisposed toward inner cleanliness, simplicity of mind, and eventual identity with our Source.
Affirmation: I am pure. I am innocent. I am divine.
Accept what is. Make the best out of everything. Deep inner contentment comes from having faith in God, faith in our own Higher Self, faith in our life. Cultivate gratitude and joyfulness. Remain calm with success or failure. This state of mind does not depend on any external circumstances.
Affirmation: I am content in myself, in God. I am at peace with myself, my life, and the world.
Tapas means “to blaze”. Connection with the inner fire that urges us on to develop, to love life and all that we do. The heat or fire of asana, pranayama, and other spiritual practices (sadhana) which burn away impurities. Once we are in touch with that inner desire, sadhana no longer becomes an effort, something we have to force ourselves to do. We really want to do it, from a deep inner knowing of its true effect and true meaning.
Affirmation: I touch the source of divine fire within me and let it work in my life.
Honestly, clearly looking at oneself. A yogi “reads her own book of life, at the same time she writes and revises it” –BKS Iyengar. Studying scriptures, meditating, and self-reflecting in order to realize your divine nature. Attuning to, and trusting in your intuition.
Affirmation: I am divine knowledge. All knowing is within me. I trust my inner knowing and my intuition to guide me.
ISHVARA-PRANDIDHANA (Dedicating one’s actions to God – the Life Force)
Dedicating all actions to a higher source, a higher purpose. This idea of a higher source expands our vision to encompass the whole earth, the universe itself; and brings the awareness of the oneness of all life. Cultivate faith, dedication, and generous service.
Affirmation: I am absorbed in loving my Source. I see God in everyone. I see the divine in all.