Yamas are the five ethical principles on which traditional yoga teachings are based. You can help us to develop a peaceful relationship with our fellow human beings and the environment.
The so-called Ashtanga yoga is a traditional form of yoga that describes its practical philosophy of life as an eight-limb path (ashta = eight, anga = limb). One of these eight limbs is asana practice, the physical exercises that are the focus of Western culture. The first link, however, are the so-called “Yamas” – this is what it says in the “Yoga Sutras”, one of the oldest yoga scriptures from the 3rd century. The sutras were written in Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language. The Yamas are named accordingly in that language.
The Yamas consist of five basic principles and can be used as Moral code towards the environment be understood. You make that Basis for a peaceful atmospherein which the practitioner can follow his teaching.
It doesn’t matter whether you are on the Yoga mat stand or the physical exercises are nothing for you: The Yamas can also serve as a guide in modern times to find fair and peaceful dealings with our fellow human beings, animals, plants and all other parts of the world around us.
1. Yama: Ahimsa, non-violence
The term “Ahimsa” can be used with Nonviolence or translate not violating. According to the Yoga Sutras, hostility cannot flourish around you if you embody ahimsa.
Violence here refers not only to physical violence, but also to being hurt by words – for example by insulting other people. But even thoughts are included here: those who really live Ahimsa stop judging or blaspheming other people.
Incidentally, this also includes dealing with yourself: we often harm ourselves by having thoughts like “I’m too bad for that anyway” or “I’m not worth it …”. Instead we want Learn to love yourself and with Self care deal better with us.
Ahimsa in modern life:
If you want to incorporate the Yamas into your life, introspection is the basic requirement.
- Become aware of how you behave towards other living beings and yourself.
- Pay attention to when and how you use violence of any kind. Alone Mindfulness this will lead to you developing a more peaceful being.
- One possible step could be less meat to eat and so save countless animals physical violence.
- But any form of non-violence towards our planet is also ahimsa, for example Climate protection.
- Nonviolent communication is just as important. You can learn these by Active listening train and yours increase emotional intelligence.
The goal of Ahimsa is for Peace on all levels to care and develop compassion for our fellow human beings and the environment. He also emphasizes how important more love of the heart is in today’s times Interview with the Dalai Lama.
2. Yama: Satya, the truthfulness
The principle of Satya is also the foundation of many social and religious teachings: You should do not lie. In yoga, however, it is recognized that the truth on a human level is always relative and subjective.
This yama is about to be authentic and to speakto express your inner self and your own truth and not to fool yourself or others.
Satya in modern life:
In order to live Satya consciously, too, you have to watch yourself, your words and thoughts carefully.
- Realize this whenever you are not telling the truth.
- Also pay attention to when you are fooling yourself – for example, if you allow an exception to your established rules.
- Get out of your comfort zone and comes into direct, honest contact with yourself.
When dealing with other people, it is important to tell the truth. But always keep the principle of Ahimsa: feel into your counterpart and find words that do honest but also friendly are. Express your thoughts and feelings without blaming or hurting the other person. In some cases this may mean keeping silent instead of speaking.
3. Yama: Asteya, not stealing and rejecting greed
Asteya is the third of the Yamas in the Yoga Sutra and can be literally translated as “Don’t steal” translate. But this principle goes far beyond material belongings.
Those who live in Asteya not only rob others of their material possessions, but also do not adorn themselves with foreign feathers, for example by selling someone else’s idea as their own. But it is also about not abusing the trust of others or robbing them of their time or freedom. Ultimately, Asteya aims to to cancel greed and desire and finding satisfaction in what you already have.
Asteya in modern life:
It should be clear that we are not allowed to appropriate other people’s belongings.
- However, see if you want to enrich yourself with other people’s fame and ideas. Ultimately, any form of desire is a contradiction to Asteya.
- We can do this yama too extend to the environment and ask ourselves: To what extent are we stealing through Rainforest deforestation our planet? To what extent do we rob through them Overfishing of the seas or in the Factory farming Animals of their freedom and their life?
By consuming more consciously and less, you can renounce greed and act with respect to your planet. Be aware of how often you eat meat or fish.
4. Yama: Brahmacharya, self-control
The fourth yama of the Yoga Sutras is Brahmacharya, which can be translated figuratively as “to move towards the essentials“Or” act in the consciousness of the All-Soul “. This is about the moderation of the senses and passions.
Originally the focus was on celibacy, but Brahmacharya can use any form of Abstinence or moderation be understood. It’s about avoiding extremes and not letting your lusts control you.
Bramacharya in modern life:
There are many forms of asceticismthat can contribute to a happier life.
- For example, a Smartphone diet, minimalist life or dropping an addiction (tobacco, chocolate, television, etc.) count.
- You do not have to forego everything completely, but aim for moderation in your behavior. For example, use your bike or walk more often instead of taking the car for short trips or shopping.
- Train your mental strength and get rid of bad habits.
5. Yama: Aparigraha, the non-hoarding
Aparigraha can literally be translated as “Not hoarding”Or“ not collecting ”translate and is closely related to Asteya, the principle of not stealing. This is about the recognition of how little it takes for a content life and about yourself renounce excessive possessions and consumption.
Aparigraha in modern life:
What used to be called Aparigraha in ancient India is the principle of in modern Western society Minimalism.
- In times of abundance and mass consumption, simplicity is being rediscovered. More and more people are realizing that having more possessions doesn’t make them happier – and getting rid of unnecessary belongings.
- You can do it in many ways living minimalist and use various methods to free your household, your head and your life from unnecessary ballast. For example, the Swedish way of “Death cleaning“Or Marie Kondo’s method from the”Magic cleaning” help with.
- That too Zero waste-Principle can become part of the modern aparigraha. You can help prevent more garbage from being generated and accumulated in the world.
Yamas – where should I start?
As you can see, the Yamas are not an outdated theoretical teaching, but offer a lot Potential for today’s life in modern societies. If we all lived by these five tenets of traditional yoga, belong environmental pollution, Overexploitation, injury and violence among humans, animals and plants are a thing of the past.
We are now quite a long way from this utopia, but we should not let it discourage us: every step in the right direction is important. But don’t put yourself under pressure and don’t try to turn your entire life upside down overnight. Go it Step by step and appreciate the small successes on your life path.
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