The 2nd Limb of Yoga Niyama- 5 Ways to Purify Life

2nd Limb of Yoga Niyama

The 2nd Limb of Yoga Niyama

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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.

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

2nd Limb of Yoga Niyama
Come to forearm plank and push the floor away and engage the whole body. Hold strong for 20 breaths. If you feel shaky, accept it! It is the effort that matters, not the result.

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

2nd Limb of Yoga Niyama
Lay in svanasana with palms up for 10 min (set a timer).  As you inhale, think “I”, as you exhale think “surrender.”  You are surrendering your ego, your desires and attachments.

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Published by Yoga Traveler

Yoga is my passion, teaching is my life. I started teaching yoga when my husband entered the US Air Force and now my career travels with me. Every time I move, I look for places to teach and a community of caring yogis who I grow to love and then one day, leave behind. This is a place where we can reconnect and create our yoga together. This site can travel with you. Welcome!

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