The Five Yams

This semester, I have had the privilege of taking yoga as a course and with this I have learned a lot about myself and the practice itself. My instructor not only has physically practiced yoga with us by teaching us different poses and breathing techniques, but she has also introduced us to five Yamas that are often practiced by Yogi’s (individuals who practice yoga) both on and off the yoga mat.

What are Yamas? Yamas are often called “the five restraints” and that is because they describe what things one should avoid or consume less of in order to advance on their spiritual path/journey. It is basically a list of five suggestions on how to lead a healthier and more balanced life in all aspects such as mentally, physically, and of course, spiritually.

Read about them below:

 

1)Ahimsa: Is the practice of non-violence or harmlessness. This means practicing non-violence both physically and mentally. No harmful actions or words put onto others or yourself.

2)Satya: Is the practice of non-lying or truthfulness. This doesn’t necessarily mean never lie ever because let’s be honest, that would be hard to do. However, what it means is to always tell the highest truth. It is also the act of one restraining themselves from wishing things were different from what they are. Basically, live and speak your truth as much as possible.

3)Asteya: Is the practice of non-covetousness. Simply put, one learning to be completely satisfied with what they already have and not wishing for more or desiring what others have.

4)Brahmacharya: Is the practice of purity or celibacy. Now, this can traditionally mean restraining from any kind of sexual desire or sexual activity, but more modernly, it means sustaining energy and cleansing yourself of any excess in your life.

5)Aparigraha: Is the practice of non-possessiveness. This means one is practicing letting go of all attachments to one’s possessions. This can be external possessions but also can be internal as well.

 

Whether you practice yoga or know absolutely nothing about it, these Yamas can be quite beneficial to anyone’s life. These Yamas can be cultivated as you performw your yoga routine, or you can incorporate them into your everyday life. No matter what, I feel everyone should know and try to practice these Yamas because they are great for one’s overall health, especially during difficult times such as these.