Posted: October 30, 2009 in Discipline, Yamas and Niyamas
Yamas and Niyamas
Yamas (Cardinal Vows) and Niyamas (Casual Vow: Observances) are often called “the Ten Commandments of Yoga.” They are the supporting and liberating pillars of any spiritual practice. Yamas means self-restraint in the sense of self-mastery, or abstention, and consists of five elements. Niyama means observances, of which there are also five.
Here is the complete list of these ten pillars as given in Yoga Sutras 2:30,32:
Yamas
1) Ahimsa: Non-violence, non-killing, non-injury, freedom from ill-will, harmlessness.
2) Satya: Truthfulness (of thought), word and deed.
3) Asteya: Non-stealing, non-misappropriation. This includes abandonment of of thought even in thought. 
4) Brahmacharya: Sexual continence in thought, word and deed as well as control of all the senses.
5) Aparigraha: Non-possessiveness, Absence of greed, unselfishness, non-acquisitiveness. Freedom from covetousness or self-importance.
Niyamas
6) Shaucha: Physical and mental purity, Physical and mental cleanliness.
7) Santosha: Contentment, peacefulness.
8) Tapas: Austerity, practical (i.e., result-producing) spiritual discipline.
9) Svadhyaya: introspective self-study, spiritual study.
10) Ishvara-pranidhana: Complete Surrender to God, Offering of one’s life to God
The above were taken from Shri Prabhu Ashrit Swamiji (the author of Gayatri Rahasya), Swami Sivananda (Divine Life Society), Swami Chidananda (Divine Life Soceity), Swami Nirmalananda Giri (who comes in the disciplic tradition of Jagdguru Bharat Krishna Tirtha of the Govardhan Math in Puri).
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