Niyama is the Sanskrit term that literally means “positive observance” or “practices.” We're deep diving into the Niyama's - the second limb of yoga this week and there are five areas the Niyama's focus on. Like the Kosha's I found this to be a good reference point or reminder for me. Sometimes we get so consumed with taking care of others and making sure they have everything they need, that we forget that we cannot drink from an empty cup. I hope you enjoy this point of reference or sacred pause for yourself too.
1.) saucha (purity) - having a personal practice of keeping the body, heart, and mind clean.
2.) santosha (contentment) means being grateful for what we have, and being satisfied with who we are and where we are in life.
3.) tapas (traditionally means “discipline") the root of the word tapas is “tap,” which means “to burn” or “to heat.” Heat can arise as a form of exercise or in the practice of yoga postures, or in having the discipline to break an old habit. Essentially, the tapas are about trying to bring about positive change.
4.) svadhyaya (self-study or self-reflection) means to intentionally find self-awareness in all our activities and efforts with honesty and objectivity and to be accepting of our limitations. Being aware of who we are, how we are, and how significant the world around us is. Observe the way you talk to your family and friends or the way you react to circumstances or situations. I discovered this in my yoga teacher training and sometime call it the sacred pause. When you're able to observe yourself without judgment it gives you the power to turn old harmful behaviors into new and useful actions.
5.) isvarapranidaha (means surrender to a higher power or “true self,” and pranidhana is “to render.” This Niyama recommends we have faith in a higher power, letting go of our attachments and expectations to free ourselves from disappointment and suffering. If you've ever tried doing this with success you then understand the benefits.
Perhaps now is the perfect time to dedicate effort to keeping our body, breath, heart, and mind healthy. Taking care of ourselves also helps us avoid a lot of pain. A healthy body, mind, and heart are what we need to keep that inner and outer energetic glow. By treating ourselves carefully, we can choose what will bring us happiness and satisfaction in our lives.
"May we live like the lotus at home in the muddy waters."
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