Observances, standards, and rules The Yoga Sutra mentions five niyamas: saucha (cleanliness), santosha (contentment), tapas (self-discipline), svadhyaya (self-reflection), and ishvarapranidhana (reflection). These are principles that guide spiritual life.
The first four of these principles are applicable to everyone who practices yoga. The last one is specific to practitioners of Hinduism and other religions that recognize a supreme being or spirit. It means surrendering control of one's life to something greater than oneself, usually for the purpose of gaining enlightenment or moksha (liberation).
These principles are absolute requirements for anyone who wishes to practice yoga in a meaningful way. Not only does practicing yoga require following these guidelines, but also not doing so can cause serious problems within one's personal development as well as one's relationship with others.
So, the five niyamas are: cleanness (saucha), contentment (santosha), self-discipline (tapas), reflection (svadhyaya), and surrender to a higher power (ishvarapranidhana).
Positive duties (Niym) are observances or positive responsibilities. The niyamas and its counterpart, the Yamas, are suggested practices and habits in Indian traditions, notably yoga, for healthy living, spiritual enlightenment, and a liberated condition of life. In Hinduism, it can have several connotations depending on the situation. Generally, it denotes an ethical code of conduct that one should follow in order to achieve inner peace and happiness.
The original list of five niyamas (observances) was given by sage Patanjali in his classic text, the Yoga Sutras. Patanjali listed them in order to reveal their hidden secrets through meditation. He believed that by observing these rituals, we come into contact with our true nature and realize our true potentials.
According to Swami Vivekananda, "the niyama means observance or self-imposed discipline. It implies purity of mind and body, which is essential for successful practice of yoga. The yogi who wishes to go beyond the stage of samadhi must observe niyama."
Self-discipline is important because not everyone is capable of achieving high levels of consciousness through meditation alone. Some people are born with a strong will power while others aren't. Those who have more strength of mind can adhere to a strict routine without falling apart while those who are stronger won't be able to stay focused for long periods of time.
Yamas and Niyamas
The yamas and niyamas are the first two limbs of the eight-limbed route, which is a step-by-step road to yogic enlightenment as detailed in Patanjali's "Yoga Sutras." They are the most tangible locations to begin since they are directly related to how you behave in the world and inwardly toward yourself.
The yamas are ethical restraints that guide your life. They include things like non-violence (ahimsa), honesty (satya), sincerity (asteya), and gratitude (dana). The niyamas are spiritual observances that bring about transformation by cleansing your mind of impurities.
Here are the four yamas:
Ahimsa - or non-violence - means not only abstaining from harming others physically but also including mental violence, such as hatred, anger, and intolerance. This rule helps remove ego from our practice so that we can get into connection with our true self, who is beyond judgmental thoughts and desires.
Satya - truth - refers to being honest with oneself and others. Being truthful with yourself will help you recognize any inconsistencies within your own system and make necessary changes. Honesty also ensures that you aren't deceiving others, which can harm their trust in your ability to lead them correctly.
Asteya - without stealing - refers to not taking anything else in life than what you have earned.
There are five Niyamas. They are: santosha, tapas, svadhyaya, Ishwara pranidhanam and aparigraha.
Santosha: Contentment or happiness with what you have; lack of greed.
Tapas: Patience; ability to endure pain.
Svadhyaya: Self-study; reading the scriptures.
Ishwara pranidhanam: Devotion to God; worshiping him regularly with prayers and rituals.
Aparigraha: Non-attachment; not holding on to anything in life.
This means that there are five qualities that constitute a holy person. If you want to be like one, then work on developing these qualities in yourself.
Now back to the question at hand.
1. Santosha - contentment or happiness with what you have
The five yamas instruct practitioners to avoid violence, lying, stealing, wasting energy, and possessiveness, whereas the five niyamas instruct us to embrace cleanliness and contentment, to purify ourselves through heat, to study and observe our habits constantly, and to surrender to something greater than ourselves. These are the guidelines for living a conscious life.
Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Jnana Yoga are the four primary streams of yoga. These four pathways are analogous to tree branches or river streams. They all lead to the same ultimate destination but travel through different routes to get there.
In Karma Yoga, or action-based yoga, one engages in activities meant to improve oneself and/or others. One performs actions of kindness to achieve spiritual goals. This type of yoga is most commonly seen in Hindu gods who will sacrifice part of themselves in order to help humans achieve moksha (liberation from death).
Bhakti Yoga, or love-based yoga, involves developing a personal relationship with God through devotion. In other words, one learns to love God and seek His blessings through prayer and meditation. This type of yoga is common among holy people such as saints and prophets. It can also be practiced by ordinary people but only if they have experienced some sort of divine intervention that has awakened their spirit.
Raja Yoga, or royal yoga, is similar to bhakti yoga in that it involves cultivating a personal relationship with God but through application rather than inspiration. In other words, one uses one's mind and intelligence to realize God. This type of yoga is popular among philosophers and seekers who want to reach enlightenment quickly.