Yama: the first of the eight limbs of yoga
The first two of the eight limbs of yoga are based on morality. Yama being universal morality and Niyama being more focused on the inner workings of our soul and our ethics. In this article however, we will be exploring the first of the eight limbs;Yama. Yama is intended to purify the human nature and bring about a healthy society as well as health and happiness in the individual when it becomes part of their daily way of living. Keep in mind though that the eight limbs of yoga are not in hierarchal order, each limb is equally important. They are all in some way intertwined creating harmonic balance with the individual and the way they perceive life.
There are five parts to Yama:
Ahimsa – meaning nonviolence to every living creature.
Satya – this is referred to truth of being. To practice truthfulness.
Asteya – to practise non-stealing
Brahmacharya – meaning the ultimate reality where one seeks and adapts a lifestyle to Brahman
Aparigraha – refers to the concept of non-greediness, non-possessiveness and non-grasping all leading to the notion of detachment.
This may seem so simple but in my experience I have found that this has required a lot of self-work. Have you ever thought about how many ants you may have violently killed in your life? Well, now you have to observe every foot taken forward. And that is life in many ways. Every decision you make will determine which directions in life you go. This is why mastering non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, non-attachment and leading a spiritual life like the Brahman will bring about a healthy, fruitful life.
I will leave you with a beautiful mantra for compassion to practice on this journey:
Om mani padme hum