Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Niyama - Personal Observances

The second limb of the eight-limbed path is Niyama, or personal observances. Like Yama, there are five subsets of Niyama:
1. Shaucha: cleanliness; purity of mind and body
2. Santosha: contentment
3. Tapas: vigorous self-discipline
4. Svadhyaya: self-analysis; study of spiritual scriptures
5. Ishvara Pranidhana: Devotion to God, or to a Power greater than oneself

While Yama is focusing our attention on how we conduct ourselves in the outside world and working to develop a bit more discipline morally, Niyama is how we take care of our inner-selves and continuing to develop our self-discipline with regard to our physical, mental and spiritual health. Yama and Niyama are rarely ever separated, and it is difficult to focus on only the first limb without making detours through the second limb. This will become apparent with all the limbs, as the eight-limbed path is rarely linear. As I take you through each subset of Niyama, I will attempt to make a connection to some aspect of Yama so that you can see how interwoven these principals are.

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