Yama Niyama

Yama and Niyama – An Ethical Base for Meditators

It is said that without a firm base, progress in meditation is impossible. Yama and Niyama, as a base, is more than 7500 years old and still provides meditators with a framework of how best to conduct oneself internally and externally. As a part of learning the practise meditation, you are asked to read and try to adhere to these principles as far as you can.

Five Yama (Introversial Conduct)

(i) Causing as little harm by thought, word or action to others as possible (Ahim’sa’).

(ii) Benevolent truthfulness of both words and thinking (Satya).

(iii) Non-stealing – giving up the desire to acquire or retain thepossesions or wealth of others (Asteya).

(iv) Keeping the mind absorbed in the infinite – seeing the oneness in everything (Brahmacarya).

(v) Living according to your needs – giving up non-essential luxuries (Aparigraha).

Five Niyama (Extroversial Conduct)

(i) Maintaining cleanliness of both body and mind – mental cleanliness involves kindliness towards all creatures, charity, working for the welfare of others and being dutiful (Shaoca).

(ii)  Being content with what one has and trying to stay cheerful (Santosha)

(iii) Doing regular service – undergoing some hardship or sacrifice to help others (Tapah).

(iv) Keeping good company of both people and books/media – studying/watching good media and literature with proper reflective understanding (Sva’dhya’ya). Sva’dhya’ya is also done by attending group meditation regularly and keeping spiritual company.

(v) Maintaining faith in the guidance of the Infinite Consciousness (Iishvara) in pleasure and pain, prosperity and adversity. Considering oneself as the instrument, and not the wielder of the instrument. (Iishvara pran’idha’na)