This is confusing ‘step’ number two, or the second limb of yoga, which is really another five steps. Our last post on the yamas had the first five moral principles and now the niyamas will be shared, and these are five living principles.
- Saucha is purity. This is all about taking care of yourself on the inside and out. Eating well, cleaning well, dressing well. Keeping your environment healthy, with clean air, clean rooms and uncluttered state. Exercising to detox the body and mind so you are strong, clear and clean.
- Santosha is contentment. A lovely thought, right? Contentment is something we think comes after we get what we want. True contentment is a form of gratitude, where you are content whether you have what you want or not. If you can be content with or without, you are much more likely to make peace with yourself and your life… but before you get too lazy, read the next sutra.
- Tapas is enthusiasm. This is a powerful niyama, especially following contentment. Often contentment can go hand-in-hand with laziness. If you are content, what is the need to grow or change, right? Well tapas balances that out, it is regarded as a fiery energy within us that burns off our old karma and drives us forward in our truth. Although it is good to be content with what we have, it is also good to not become stagnant where we are, and have goals to move us ahead in life for the betterment of all.
- Svadhyaya is to study one-self. Very important. So few of us know ourselves. Why we feel the way we do, or why we do what we do. To study ourself can bring some very big insights to our lives, and help us get in touch with who we really are and what we want in life. Oddly we spend more time judging, criticizing and observing others- what if we took that same energy and put it towards our own inner growth? Magic would happen 😉
- Isvarapranidhama is surrender to all. This final step of the niyamas is a tricky one. It is basically saying despite everything you know or learn, you reach a point where you let it all go, and just live in trust. In the flow of ‘what shall be, shall be.’ You surrender your life to the bigger picture.
So we have now concluded the first to steps of the eight-fold path of yoga. From here on in, it is much less confusing, so stay tuned for the next six posts!