The first limb of Yoga – Yama

In yoga, the term Yama stands for the disappearance of all suppressions. It may also be interpreted as to have discipline, to restraint, to have self-control and ethics and it relates to how you should deal and interact with those around you, how you treat others and the environment around you.

There are five yamas, and by following them we can create a stable and supportive environment.

1. ahimsa: non-harming or non-violence, which transforms to love of all. Ahimsa is not only about how we should not be violent to others but also to ourselves. One should take note to respect and be kind others, and also pay attention to be loving towards oneself.

2. satya: truthfulness, living the truth. On a basic level, satya is to know what your truth is, sharing it with others and living in a genuine way.

3. asteya: non-stealing, non-covetedness, freeing oneself of jealous instincts. Many things can be stolen, not only physical or material things, but the intangibles as well, such as time, attention, knowledge, thoughts, ideas and etc. To attain asteya, one can start by appreciating one’s own capabilities and possession, and knowing that one does not need to take from others.

4. brahmacharya: living like a God/teacher/guru. This means the transformation of one’s sexual energy, establishing oneself such that all possible pervertions are released and gain vitality and energy.

5. aparigraha: non-possession or non-attachment. One way to practice aparigraha is to not want more than what one needs. One can learn to let go of some of our wants and needs as well as learn when to let go and accept things as they are.

To summarize, yama deals with our sense of integrity, behavior and how we conduct ourselves in life. Yamas best relate to the golden saying: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

– Rachel

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