The five internal practices of Niyama (observance) are found in the second limb of the eight-limbed yoga system of Patanjali. When one practices niyamas, it makes it possible to maintain a positive environment that provides the self-discipline along with inner strength, humility, and self discipline in order to progress along the path of yoga. Here, we will have a look at the five niyamas of yoga that would provide you with a clear idea about it.
The five niyama of yoga
1. Shaucha (Purification and cleanliness)
It happens to be the first principle of the five observances of Patanjali. It was discovered by the yogis that our state of mind is adversely affected by impurities in both our internal body and the external environment. This, in turn, leads to the prevention of the spiritual liberation as well as the attainment of real wisdom. In order to clean as well as purify the mind and the body, one needs to practice pranayama, asana and meditation. This helps a lot in maintaining a pure state of being. It is also very important to make sure of not adding any sort of external impurities back into our minds and bodies and try to work with a pure environment that includes friends, drinks, food, transportation, home furnishings, etc.
2. Santosha (Contentment)
This is the second niyama that implies not to crave for what we do not have. It also means not coveting the possession of others as well. According to the yogis, it is possible to attain true joy and happiness only when we are perfectly content with our life that we get. It is not right to think that happiness can be attained only through the possession of goods and objects. The happiness proves to be only temporary when it is gained through materialism. With the practice of Santosha or contentment, one can become free from the materialistic life. It helps in filling us with joy and gratitude for all the blessings of life.
3. Tapas (Asceticism and self-discipline)
This is a yogic practice of attainment of will power and intense self discipline. This leads to a positive effect on your life as tapas means doing something which you do not want to do. This inner fire proves to be a source of spiritual energy. According to the yogis, by practicing tapas, it helps in transforming as well as purifying thereby enabling controlling your poor behaviour and enables the conscious awareness. Tapas makes it possible in building the will power as well as personal strength in the best way. It helps us in becoming more dedicated to our practice of yoga.
4. Svadhyaya (Self-study and self-reflection)
This is the abilityto see our true divine nature through the meditation on the truths that are revealed by sages and seers and also through the contemplation of our life’s lessons. In life, we get endless opportunity to learn about ourselves. It is also important to note that our weaknesses and flaws provide the opportunity to grow where we learn from our mistakes. When we examine our actions, it becomes a mirrorto see both our conscious as well as unconscious thoughts, motives including desires in a clear manner. When it comes to Svadhyava, it involves the study of spiritual and sacred texts where our true self resides.
5. Ishvara Pranidhana (Devotion and self-surrender)
This is the devotion, dedication, and surrender of the fruits of the practice to a higher power. It fuses two common aspects of yoga – the devotion and the selfless action of karma yoga. According to Patanjali, it is important to dissolve our egocentric nature and also try to let go of our constant identification with ourselves in order to reach the goal of yoga. Ishvara Pranidhana helps in reminding of our connections to our higher power
Tips for practicing the Niyamas
It is very important to know the right way to practice the niyamas. It is important to use a structured methodology where you need to take one step at a time.
- Practice on a mat: You need to make sure to start practicing on a mat. You need to make sure of using your niyama as the Sankalpa or the intention of your practice. You need to concentrate on your breath and the body when you try to flow from pose to pose. You also need to be quite patient as well as compassionate and willful.
- Try to reflect and track your progress: It is very important to keep a journal where it would be much easier for you to track your commitment and progress. By practicing the niyamas, it would help in the further integration of your yoga practice and life.
- Deepen your exploration and observation: You would notice that there have been some changes to your patterns and habits to your emotions and thoughts when you continue to focus on niyama. It is to be noted that these patterns would generate from a Samskara.
- Take Niyama off your mat: When you find that it has become easy and comfortable on your meditation practice, it is very important to practice it in your day-to-day life. There might be times when you feel like you are regressing in your progress. You should try to make sure to apply your Niyama when you succeed in the other aspects of life.
- Try to commit to the next niyama: At one time, you would find that it has been possible to get rid of your challenges of your personal observance. So, in this case, you might feel that you can take more than one Niyama at a time nut you should not try to do so. You should never try to rush the practice of the Niyamas.
The different niyama in yoga plays a very important role. Thus getting the right idea on how to practice it in the right way can help you to enjoy the ultimate benefits out of it. You can find that it has been possible to get lots of positive results in the best way.