top of page

5 Niyama - The Inner Life of a Yogi

This is part 3 of a series of exploring each of the 8 limbs of Yoga.

2nd limb of Yoga : NIYAMAS - Rules of personal conduct

The Niyamas are the five Yogic rules of personal conduct refer to our daily life- style practices both for self - healing and self -development. These are the main disciplines that we must follow in order to evolve in consciousness. We call them to the `` Five Observances``.

Or we just simply can say that the Niyamas are the principles of the Inner Life of a Yogi.

`` Follow correct moral precepts.``

  1. Cleanliness and purity ( Shaucha)

  2. Contentment (Santosha)

  3. Perform austerities/ Self -discipline (Tapas)

  4. Self -study (Svadhyaya)

  5. Surrender to the Universal Spirit/ to the Divine Will (Ishwara Pranidhana)


  1. Cleanliness and purity (Saucha)

Maintain cleanliness in body, mind, heart and speech.

Physical purity: Keep yourself, your clothing and your surrounding clean. Eat fresh and health food. A vegetarian diet is considered to be one of the most powerful aids for meditation. Treating your body like a temple.

Mental purity: Keep anger, greed, resentment, jealousy, fear and ego away from your mind

Oral purity: Not to talk to much

We must be free of mental and physical toxins in order to function with full vitality and capacity.

In yogic practice: KRIYAS

2. Contentment ( Santosha)

Be content with what you have.

Contentment means to maintain a balanced attitude whatever we do.

Cultivate contentment and tranquility by finding happiness with what you have and who you are. Seek happiness in the moment. Take responsibility for where you are and choose to grow from there.

Find happiness inside yourself rather than in outer involvement.

In your yoga practice:

`` Yoga is not a movement of the disturbed mind seeking entertainment, but a movement of the calm mind seeking inner truth. ``

There are no likes / dislikes, you are satisfied with your level of progress.

3. Self discipline/Perform austerities (Tapas)

Tapas means transformation through fire or effort and incorporates self discipline for the process of growth and change.

Tapas also means; ENDURANCE & SELF - DISCIPLINE referring to a steady application( = no matter what !!) of the WILL to achieve a meaningful goal, which implies being able to sacrifice lesser pursuits along the way. So we must learn to coordinate and direct our actions & energies in a meaningful manner towards a higher goal. This means we must sacrifice (perform austerities) what is not useful to our goal, like superficial involvement and distraction.

Self - discipline is necessary to accomplish anything significant, in any field in life, whether in creative arts, sports, businesses or spiritual practice.


In your yoga practice:

Tapas is necessary to control the mind. Yoga, like all great endeavors, requires effort and dedication or we can not go far in it.

Tapas can be:

PHYSICAL, by practicing fasting

MENTAL, by performing rituals, japa, ahimsa etc

SPIRITUAL, by performing ceremonies, Homas

It includes practices such as persistence, sitting or standing motionless, formal silence, fasting.

But do not confuse it with harmful and unhealthy asceticism!

Tapas brings balance of mind,body and heart.

4. Self - study & Holy- study (Swadhyaya)

Study sacred texts, which are whatever books are relevant to you and inspire and teach you.

Reading, learning and accepting wisdom by Your Heart ( it`s not intellectual knowledge/ study !!)

Study of spiritual teachings means examining teachings that help us understand who we are and the nature of the universe in which we live.

Each one of us has a unique nature and potential that we must uncover. What is good for one person may not be good for another. Therefore, following this principle, Yoga is always adapted on an individual basis. All yogic practices are a means of self - development, not an external system imposed upon us.

5. Surrender to the Divine Will / Universal Spirit (Ishwara Pranidhana)

This is the FAITH.

Surrendering all the experiences and ego at the lotus feet of God. (It can be called to Lord, God, Nature, Universe or whatever you consider divine. The point is to feel it deep inside you.)

With the ego integrated it is possible to experience the `Whole` rather than remain trapped in the small `I`.

So never forget to Honor the greater power of the universe. We must acknowledge and surrender inwardly to the intelligence that guides this vast cosmos. This is to honor God, the Universal Life, and the friends and teachers who guide and help us.

Follow my next posts and learn about how we can integrate these principles in our daily life experiences both on and off the mat for a deeper, richer, and more fulfilling life.



21 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page