The 2nd Limb of Yoga Niyama
The 2nd limb of yoga Niyama, and there are five of them. The five Niyamas and five Yamas make up the “10 commandments” in the Yoga Sutras. They are not religion, they are a yoga philosophy that outline a way to live. The ethical, inner observances keep you on a journey to the self. Let’s explore the 2nd limb of yoga niyama.
5 Practices of the 2nd Limb of Yoga Niyama
Shaucha– Purity of body and mind. This is the first of the 2nd limb of yoga niyama. We scrub within! We clear ourselves of toxins so that we can make the journey to yoga clearer. This creates positive energy around us- cleanliness means that we will not repel others.
Shaucha practice from The Yoga Mind by Rina Jakubowicz: How can you make your space more clear and pure? Are you able you downsize your needs? Can clear away the clutter around you? Think of bringing into your space only what you need.
“One must be a sea, to receive a polluted stream without becoming impure.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Santosh– Contentment. When we are content, we do not desire anything more or less. We feel satisfaction and peace because we are happy with what we have. Joy and gratitude are felt even through pain and loss. Embrace this 2nd limb of yoga niyama.
“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be content with what he would like to have.” -Socrates
Tapas– Self-discipline. Tapas requires our intellect to keep us on track. Sometimes, things that are pleasurable in the beginning, are not so at the end. Like overeating, we feel great at the start, but we are left with a heavy and uncomfortable body. It can be painful to start this self evaluation, but self-discipline is worth it in the end as you practice this 2nd limb of yoga niyama.
“Self-respect is the root of discipline: the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel
Swadhyaya- Self-study or self-reflection. When we practice Swadhyaya, we become less impulsive and learn to look for answers from within, not from the outside world. Sometimes we have to unlearn things in order to relearn the truth. It is a good practice to 1) question everything we have learned, and 2) never take anything for granted.
Swadhyaya practice from The Yoga Mind: Take out a pen and paper and think about who you are. Write down the first things that come to mind like eye color, age, height, emotional personality, etc. Next, reflect deeper within yourself. The process is self study and when we can look within ourselves, the truth reveals itself.
Ishwar Pranidhan- Surrender to the Self. When we practice yoga, we show humility and this surrender can lead us to a higher place of knowledge. Being humble and surrendering will bring us peace and contentment. We can see divinity in everything and that leads us to a deep love for everyone.
“The greatness of the man’s power is the measure of his surrender.” -William Booth
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