The 5 Niyamas

As part of the 8 limbs of yoga, there are two sets of yogic principals, suggestions to guide us in living a happy, healthy life; the 5 Yamas, and the 5 Niyamas. Below, I have included the basic definition of each Niyama, then added the translation according to Nischala Joy Devi from her book The Secret Power of Yoga. She defines the Yamas and Niyamas as inspired offerings, not commandments, given to us gently and respectfully. Click on the words below and get more detailed information on each of the Niyamas.

The 5 Niyamas are suggestions to be satisfied and content with ourselves:

Niyamas1) Saucha (cleanliness, purity) Live life with simplicity purity and refinement.
2) Santosha (contentment) Be content and at peace with ones self and others.
3) Tapas (austerity) Igniting the purifying flame through various disciplines.
4) Svadhyaya (study) Sacred study of the divine through scriptures, nature, and introspection.
5) Isvara pranidhana (Surrender to the will of the divine) ‘Thy will, (not my will) be done’. Release yourself into a wholehearted dedication to the divine.

The Niyamas are the second “limb” of Patanjali’s eight-limbed yoga system. In Sanskrit, “Niyama” means “observance”. The five Niyamas are personal observances to bring freedom from the attachments which cause suffering and the illusion of separation from the Whole. The Niyamas are more intimate and personal than the Yamas. They refer to the attitude we adopt toward ourselves as we free ourselves to live more soulfully.