There are five Yama’s that relate to ethical standards and characteristics that apply to both our yoga practice and everyday life.
Ahisma – Translates to non-violence, this relates not only to others but non-violence toward ourselves. Self-acceptance is one of the goals, which include being able to recognise and change the way we interact with unhelpful, destructive and judgemental thoughts and comments we might have toward ourselves or others. Understanding that we are all part of the same energy and part of all things we can then understand how our actions and thoughts effect all things, including ourselves. To check in with our Ahisma we can ask our self if our thoughts and actions support the well-being of all.
Satya – Translates to truthfulness, this relates to honest, authentic communication and action forming the bedrock of interaction, relationship and way of being. If we achieve honest communication, there will likely be a lot less said in our day to day lives as much of what is said isn’t our truth. It can often be challenging to be truthful in all situations, sometimes we need to consider the timeliness of being truthful and the impact that it may have on others. Being in awareness of our truth and recognising when we are or not are reflecting it can be useful to our development as we progress.
Asteya – Translates to not stealing, the desire to steal relates to or comes from a feeling of ‘lack of’. This in turn relates to the need and desire for external stimuli or possessions. In modern ways of living we look outside ourselves for something that will give us what we believe will make us happy, looking inwards for fulfilment and experience and expressing gratitude is often not a part of our daily practices. Not stealing is to not take something that has not been freely given, this includes possessions but somebody else’s time, not assuming that somebody is available to talk to you when you want them to.
Brahmacharya – Translates to merging with the one or commonly referred to a celibacy. It is intended that we use our sexual energy to regenerate our connection to our spiritual self, in addition to this we shouldn’t use our sexual energy to harm another. The containment of sexual energy should be done at a time that doesn’t cause frustration, the lack of joyful engagement will result with intension backfiring or causing other negative thought patterns and behaviours.
Aparigraha – Translates to Not grasping. In life we desire to hold on to experiences, possessions, being young etc. Clinging to any of these things will not bring us peace, if we are to awaken to the fullness of being we must learn to let go. It is common place for people to have a mass of items that they collect and take through their life, often costing money and lots of time to move and store, these items often remind us of a time that once was, from this we can generate limiting beliefs and are restricting our ability to grow and evolve.