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The Ethical Foundation of Yoga

While a physical yoga practice might get more attention on Instagram or YouTube, it is the inner-work of yoga that truly gives us a path to growth, inner-peace, and connection. Beyond postures, the practice of yoga provides a path for your life’s journey through the Yamas and Niyams as described in the Yoga Sutras. The Yamas focus on interactions with other people and the Niyamas discuss our relationship with our self.
Ahimsa means non-harm. Ahimsa means always behaving in a way to reduce injustice, violence, and cruelty.
Satya means to speak the truth. It means to be authentic and open.
Asteya translates to non-stealing and to not taking more than you need. Asteya goes beyond material possessions – it also includes stealing/wasting time, stealing someone’s voice or position, and being aware of our own consumer choices.
Aparigraha invites us to believe in abundance. It means non-possessiveness and letting go of attachment.
Brahmacharya asks us to manage our energy and cravings. It is the movement towards the most essential truth.
Saucha means cleanliness in body, mind, and emotions. Practicing saucha is the ultimate self-care.
Santosha is contentment and the practice of acceptance. We cultivate this through mindfulness practices.
Tapas translates to fiery discipline. This can refer to the work of your physical yoga practice, following your passions even through difficulties, or being persistent in your own beliefs.
Svadhyaya is about self-reflection and seeing yourself clearly and connecting with your own divinity (and thereby able to connect with others’ divine spark).
Ishvara Pranidhana means offering your actions to something bigger than yourself (God, nature, community service, etc).
Regardless of your religious or spiritual background, Yoga’s Yamas and Niyamas offer a simple but powerful guide for your life’s journey and moves us beyond our individual minds, bodies, and spirits.
Explore more about wellness, the physiology of yoga, the science behind the practice, and the peaceful power that yoga cultivates in our studio classes, Y4A’s unique workshops, and on our Facebook page.