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Eight Limbs (Ashtanga) for Goal of YOGA (2) Niyama

We are discussing the Eight Limbs of Yoga, the eight approaches to the goal of yoga where you will be able to restrain the mind modification and be free from pains and sufferings.


The second limb is niyama in Sanskrit which means “observance” in English, that is, what you must observe, hold by or practice in your daily life. David Frawley, a well-recognized Vedic teacher, explained the Eight Limbs of Yoga as “an integral eightfold approach or eight limbs (ashtanga) for the development of consciousness.” He regarded Yama as Rules of Social Conduct, and Niyama as “Roles of Personal Behavior.” (David Frawley, Yoga Ayurveda—Self-Healing and Self-Realization,” Lotus Press in 2012)

Here are the five rules of Niyama in Sanskrit (Each English translation is in the following parentheses).


- sauca (purity)

- samtosa (contentment)

- tapah (self-discipline)

- swadhyaya (study for understanding Self)

- isvarapranidhana (surrender to God)


Among the five rules, samtosa which teaches us to be content with and appreciate what we already have, is related to aparigraha (non-greed, not accumulating things beyond your capacity to use) of Yama that we learned last week. Both tells us to be humble, not to be selfish, but be thankful for and learn from what you have.

Humans desires can be increasing forever if they are out of control. If many people could restrain them in each country, it won’t stay as just a dream that we could solve today’s problems on the globe including disputes over territories, food, energy, water, and deterioration of the environment.


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