Our hope in providing a studio theme at Kula each month is to deepen your understanding of the philosophy behind yoga, so you can start living yoga both on and off the mat. The practice of yoga is an art and science dedicated to creating union between the body, mind and spirit. Our November focus is Niyamas, or ethical rules.
What are Niyamas?
At the beginning of classical yoga, Patanjali has 8 different “limbs”, creating a structural framework for yoga practice. The second limb is the 5 Niyamas or internal practices. These practices extend the ethical codes provided by the first limb, Yamas, to the practicing yogi’s internal environment of body, mind and spirit. The practice of Niyamas provide us with a positive environment, giving us self-discipline and inner strength.
The Niyamas are broken into 5 practices or observances.
The Niyamas constitute a code for living that fosters the soulfulness of the individual. ~ Donna Farhi
The 5 Niyamas are:
- Saucha ~ purity
- Santosha ~ contentment
- Tapas ~ self discipline
- Svadhyaya ~ self study
- Ishvara Pranidhana ~ surrender
Niyamas on the mat
Niyamas are an extension to the yamas, previously explored. They are the ethical principles and codes of conduct that anyone truly serious about their yoga practice should give some focus to. Yamas are often thought to be more of external practice, whereas Niyamas are very much an internal practice – both have elements of internal exploration.
Yoga allows us to find an inner peace that is not ruffled or riled by the endless stresses and struggles of life. ~ B.K.S. Iyengar
On the mat the Yamas and Niyamas are an internal exploration of ourselves, leaving our egos at the door, allowing us to practice from a place of authenticity.
To practice Saucha be clear with your intention, asking yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing when faced with challenges and novelties. Learn how to accept yourself, being able to conquer your fears and progress in your practice with self-awareness in Santosha. Tapas requires us to establish a regular practice and stick to it. Yoga is a science of wellbeing through self-study or svadhyaya, where we learn a lot about our physical bodies, mind and states of consciousness. Ishvara Pranidhana calls on us to let go of our desire to navigate and instead accept and surrender to the journey without knowing where the path takes us.
Niyamas in life
The practice of Niyamas are arguably more important off the mat than on.
Niyamas are our commitment to ourselves, behaviours that we aim to practice in order to cultivate greater self love and greater kindness to ourselves and others.
The eight limbs are a collection of threads of yogic wisdom that Master Patanjali, known as the father of yoga, documented and explain how we show up in our lives and in the world. All the elements that you explore on the mat can be equally applied to your daily lives. They are not a quick fix by any means and take a lifetime to cultivate, because you are always working, progressing and considering them.
For more tips on how to explore the yamas on and off the mat, read our past blogs on each ~ Saucha, Santosha, Tapas, Svadhyaya, Ishvara Pranidhana.
About the author: Andy Broadbear is a qualified yoga teacher & therapist, who specialises in pre + postnatal yoga, and studio manager at Kula. She is also a mum of two, health & wellness blogger and hobby photographer.
Kula Yoga has a beautiful hot yoga studio on Camberwell Rd, Hawthorn, Melbourne. Kula offers ‘Hot Yoga’ classes for detoxification, dynamic poweryoga ‘Flow Yoga’ as well as a gentle ‘Light Yin Yoga’ option. Beginners through to advanced students are welcome to all classes. Kula also provides prenatal & postnatal yoga classes, and provides Melbourne workplaces with group corporate yoga programs to build employee health, fitness and wellbeing, and school yoga programs. Kula also runs an annual ‘Kula Cruise’ yoga retreat sailing from Bali to Lombok & the Gili Islands. Find out more on our website www.kulayoga.com.au. Or follow us:
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