The second limb of Ashtang Yoga ‘Niyam’ usually refers to a set of rules, regulations or guidelines to follow for the betterment of life quality and to build character. Niyamas started with taking proper care of body which denotes outer world and ended up with devotion of inner self for Almighty . In ‘Yoga-Sutra’,sage Patanjali described the five different niyamas that are
- Shauch (cleanliness)
- Tapas (self-discipline)
- Svadhyay (self-study )
- Ishvarapranidhan (surrender to a higher power)
Practicing Shauch is a stepwise process. It started with a clean body, a clean mind, clean environment and clean thoughts which tend practitioner to be a pure soul.Time to time, it’s essential to clean up your company as well. Be cautious in choosing books , papers from where you enhance your knowledge & information.To uplift your spirit inspire yourself and people around you to do their best.Set clear boundaries with zero tolerance for toxic thoughts, actions and people in your purposeful life.
‘Whatever I have is enough’ is the key for true happiness. Santosh also means being satisfied rather than wishing.Accept and appreciate the beauty and reality of everything around.One can be happy only when he chooses to be happy . Practice Santosha by making gratitude a routine thing. Feel that you are happier at the momemt when you share something.Count your blessings and keep thanking Almighty.
Tapas (burning of desire, self-discipline )
Tapas denotes heat that is energy. it’s always difficult to change your behavioural and habitual patterns for positive transformation.So get up and convert this heat of inconvenience and discomfort in the positive wave of required changes. Tapas is all about challenging yourself , push your boundaries to break the trail of bad habits; often accompanied by physical pain,few mental botherations but have faith this happens for good only.
Svadhyay (self-study )
Not only the study of Vedas, books, yoga texts, magazines, scriptures but also study of spiritual-self, learn to be focused on the signs giving by body or senses which would be proven the best guide for enlightening path of Yoga.
As Mr. B.K.S. Iyengar stated “The person practicing svadhyay reads his own book of life at the same time that he writes and revises it.” so time is the best educator and what one learned from this is reflects in one’s actions. Use your learning and reflections to make positive changes in the future. Svadhyay is a continuous process in which we learn from people, nature, books and everything around us.
Ishvarapranidhan (surrender to a higher power)
the last Niyam is to learn how to surrender without thinking and keeping all kind of ego aside.When you start practicing meditation it’s difficult to concentrate and your desires, fear, random thoughts may limit the positive results. At such times you have to surrender to the supreme power who is regulating universe . By practicing ishvarpranidhan you understand that we all are small entities meant for higher purpose and anybody can fulfill this only by having faith in Supreme power that is the power of discipline.
See interestingly, the Niyamas , from Shauch to Ishvarapranidhan , you’ll notice, when we work with the Niyamas, we are guided from outer to inner, body to soul, from ourselves to the truth deep within.