The Yamas are the foundation of the Yoga practice. If Yoga was a tree, you could think of the Yamas as the roots that keep the tree solid, stable, and grounded in the earth.
The sanskrit word “Yama” translates to restraint. This limb outlines the moral disciplines of the practice, the social ethics of Yoga. They are guidelines that intend to support us in relationships – our relationship with ourselves, with others, and with our environment.
The intention of the yamas is to bring our instinctual habitual reactionary impulses into our conscious awareness. It helps us to maintain a healthy ego, one that recognizes the connection of all things and operates from the principle of love, instead of acting from fear (unhealthy ego).
Yama is considered an “outer limb”, as it is often practiced (and tested) in our interactions with the outside world. It is arguably the most important of the eight limbs of Yoga.
The yamas consist of five facets:
1. Non-Violence (ahimsa)
2. Truthfulness (satya)
3. Non-Coveting (asteya)
4. Non-Excess (brahmacharya)
5. Non-possessiveness (aparigraha)
Over the next few months, we’ll be diving into each of these. We are looking very forward to sharing these beautiful, powerful and life enhancing teachings with you!
Mona teaches Ayurvedic Yoga at the Janati Yoga School in Kingston Ontario, where she lives with her wonderful husband, their enthusiastic dog, and ninja kitten. When she’s not teaching, practicing or talking about yoga, you might find her enjoying a good meal, kayaking, climbing a mountain in Ireland, or zip-lining over a forest in Costa Rica, Roatan, or Whistler BC.