To continue our yoga lessons, let’s explore the niyamas – those ever-so-important personal ethics.
Niyamas are personal ethics necessary for taking care of and developing ourselves in order to live more balanced lives. Cleanliness and purity of body, mind and environment is outermost, followed by an outer and inner contentment.
When we seek personal growth and freedom, it is paramount that we develop our bodies, minds and spirits. The niyamas teach us how.
Developing the body, mind and spirit while living the five niyamas:
sauca – purity, cleanliness – keeping all the energies around us clean and smooth. This isn’t just about bodily cleanliness (although that does play a part), this is about everything around us and all the energy being orderly and distinct from one another.
santosa – contentment – being okay with what we have and what we have obtained. Knowing that we are in the right place at the right time. Knowing that what will happen will happen in it’s own time…and that time will be right. Knowing that what we have right now is what we need right now.
tapas – practice causing change, “heat” – There’s a time for contentment and a time to work a little harder and push a little more. Being content doesn’t mean being lazy. Learn to balance the two so that you know when to move and when to be still.
svadhyaya – self-study/observation (especially mantra) – Look within. Feel what is going on in your body, in your heart, with your spirit. Know where you are and know where you are going. Know yourself. And the only way to know yourself is to get to know yourself. And the only way to get to know yourself is to look inside. Spend as much time studying yourself as you would studying anything else. Spend more time doing it. You are the most important study. Take that time. You owe it to yourself. Be in a constant state of inner reflection and inner study. With that comes wisdom. Why are you here? What are you doing with your life? What should you be doing with your life? Why are you here?
isvarapranidhana – devotion, surrender to a higher force – Your life is truly in the hands of the Divine. There is a bigger purpose. God, as the name for the universal life force, is worshipped in different forms by every religion and faith. The name we use doesn’t matter-the dedication does.
If we want to change the world, we must change ourselves. We must work on ourselves. We must notice ourselves. Live the niyamas. Practice them. Get familiar and in touch with them. Go out into this world knowing that today and every single day, you are working on you and you are thus changing the world through your own heart and your own internal reflections.
Brigett (and everyone at Kahanu Yoga & Meditation Spa)