top of page

5 Yama - Universal morality

Namaste Dear Visitor, Before we start to disscuss the 5 YAMA, I`d like to remind you to the eight limbs of yoga that form the backbone of Patanjali`s Yoga Sutras, listed below, describe a path toward awakening.


YAMA - Rules of Social Conduct / Macrocosmic practice

NIYAMA - Rules of Personal Conduct / Microcosmic practice

ASANA - Physical Posture: Right Orientation of the physical body

PRANAYAMA - Breath Control : Right use of the Vital Force

PRATYAHARA - Control of the Mind & Senses

DHARANA - Concentration : Control of Attention

DHYANA- Meditation : Right Reflection

SAMADHI - Absorption : Right Union

The first two steps (Yama & Niyama) make up the ethical foundation of human life, the principles of social and personal conduct. Without these we will not have the right foundation for wholesome growth. They constitute the basic rules of `Dharma` or right way of living.

THE YAMAS are the five main attitudes necessary to establish a right relationship with the external world.

They are guidelines ( Moral disciplines) how to behave towards others. The yamas advice us to refrain from violance, lying, stealing, greed and unmoderated sexuality.

They are also called : The `5 Nons`

`` Avoid unrighteous behaviour. ``

1. Non- harming/ non- violence (Ahimsa)

2. Non- lying/ Truthfulness (Satya)

3. Non -stealing (Asteya)

4. Non- lust / Control of sexual energy (Brahmacharya)

5. Non- possessiveness (Aparigraha)


1. Non -violence (Ahimsa)

Non -violence of thought, words and acts.

Ahimsa is the root of any other moral norms. The basis of truly wise or healing lifestyle is to wish no harm to any living creature, not only humans, but all creation, including the rocks! Harming others- whether through thought,words or action - always harms us as well!

Ahimsa ↔ Himsa ( violence,harm)

Ahimsa in diet ; being vegetarian or vegan

Ahimsa in Yoga practice; without ego, respecting the body, listening/ being aware of the signs of the body, not pushing ourselves

2. Truthfulness (Satya)

Truthfulness, non- telling lies. It means doing what we say and saying what we do.

Think about what you say, how to say and how it affects others.

First we have to practice to stay true to ourselves!

Truthfulness is the strongest weapon to attain victory and freedom. It gives mental peace and allows us to discover what is real.

It is the most powerful and purifying energy.

Truth brings peace!

Non- violence and truthfulness must go together. Truthfulness should not be harsh or violent and non -violence should not be apart from truth. We should speak the truth but in a way that it is as pleasant as possible.

Truthfulness in yoga your practice - stay true to yourself, respect your body, your limits.

3. Non -stealing (Asteya)

It means; not taking what does not belong to us; on mental and object level!!

Freedom from the feeling of comparison and jealousy and even the thought of stealing anything physically.

On a mental level for example; taking someone`s reputation away from them by speaking ill of them.

So as you see Asteya is closely related to Ahimsa (non -harming).

Asteya includes the diet as well, because with overeating we steal from nature and from others.

Asteya in yoga practice:

IDAM NA MAMA → as every inspiration is borrowed from the Universe

This is not mine.

4. Control/ right use of sexual energy ( Brahmacharya)

Non - lust.

Sexual continence.

This is not a call to celibacy! (Many yogis of old were married and had families.)

The person who practice brahmacharya avoids meaningless sexual encounters.

Wrong use of sexual energy is the main factor of social and psychological suffering.

Sexual energy used rightly is the basis for both healing and spiritual energies and it builds up the internal power necessary to bring the mind to a higher level of awareness.

So brahmacharya means: controlled enjoyment of desires!

We should control our desires and not the desires control us.

Once our desires start ruling us; we lose our freedom.

5. Non - possessiveness (Aparigraha)

It means not hoarding or storing anything. We don`t desire and don`t accept more than is absolutely necessary for active life.

This principle stands for material simplicity/ minimalism. It gives us freedom from the world. It is a very important observance for the modern wealthy world, where we have so many possession and such a seeking of wealth and prosperity.

What we think we own actually owns us!

Big wealth disturb the mind. Having to many things creates many worries, suspicion and attachment, which make the mind heavy and self - protective.

Non - possessiveness encompasses non -coveting and non -greed.

(We should not think that we really own things, but considering that we are custodians of resources that belong to everyone.)

Aparigraha in your yoga practice: for example when somebody buys the most expensive or fancy new yoga clothes and the most expensive yoga mat, so her practice seems to be important…… but in reality is absolutely not necessary.

So just keep everything simple !


If we do not have an honest, truthful and detached relationship with the world and with other people, we can not have harmony of body or mind. Wrong social conduct is the basis of most psychological and many physical disease. Right social conduct is an important tool for treating all disease.

Before we look within to treat the mind or develop our consciousness, we must create the foundation of a right relationship with the world around us , not only in our thoughts but in our actions.


My next blog post will be about The 5 NIYAMA - Personal observances or the Inner Life of a Yogi

32 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page