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Have You Heard Of The Yamas?

These Are The Guidelines You Should Be Following

If you have been practicing yoga for a while, you may think you have hit a ceiling in your practice. The truth is that yoga is made up of many layers. Each layer focuses on an aspect of yoga designed to help properly understand yoga and become more enlightened as you grow in your practice. The first layer on this journey is the Yamas.

Yamas are ethical rules that we should apply to ourselves in our practice. Yamas act like a moral compass that teaches us guidelines to use both on and off the mat. The following article breaks down the 5 Yamas and their meaning.

The next time you practice, try to keep these yamas in mind. See the article below and be sure to spread this article to your yogi friends in need of some enlightenment.


1. Ahimsa- Non-violence

Look at everything and everyone with love. This can appear intimidating and somewhat impossible, but you’ve got this.

Applying Ahimsa:

  • Freedom from fear
  • Freedom from anger
  • Freedom from anything that steals your peace (powerlessness, anxiety, depression, envy, hatred, etc.)

How to practice Ahisma:

On the mat:

Start to tune into your inner voice and the patterns of conversation. Is the conversation mostly negative, positive or somewhere in-between?

I challenge you – the next time you step on the mat, give yourself love and kindness. Take your time, remember it’s a journey!

Off the mat:

Maybe it’s a coworker, neighbor, or family member that steals your peace.

Take a moment, inhale patience, and exhale love.

You can’t fight darkness with darkness, but you can fight it with love & light. This concept might be challenging, weird, and so damn hard to do, but over time – your thoughts will reshape and reform. You’ll literally become a ray of light, and how cool is that?

2. Asteya- Non stealing

The physical act of stealing should be a dead giveaway, but you guessed it, there’s a deeper layer to unveil.

“The yogi should live with as little as possible.”-Light on Yoga

Applying Asteya:

  • Greed, envy, cultural appropriation, mistrust and misuse are all forms of non-stealing to
  • Wanting and craving what others have
  • Your focus should be on wanting “Oneness”.

On the mat:

Stay focused on you and only you, especially on the yoga mat.

If your focus is on a specific yogi, the one who’s killing it every damn class, you are cheating yourself. By allowing the focus to drain outwards, you forget the needs and wants of your body, movements, mind and soul.

Remember – while we practice yoga in a group type setting, its purpose is very intimate and independent. Keep your eyes on you, period.

Off the mat:

Just like on your mat, cut the fantasizing, dreaming, and wishing out.

Yes, it’d be great to have this much money, this type of body, this many social media followers, and so on and so on. But bring it back, focus on your reality.
Live in the moment, trusting that hard work and dedication will create the life you manifest.

3. Aparigraha- Non-Hoarding

Aparigraha focuses on simplicity.

Following Aparigraha:

  • Free from feeling loss of material gains
  • Trusting the timing of your life
  • Obtaining peace
  • Earning what you need/want
  • Letting go of useless things, be they material or spiritual.

On the mat:

Personally, this rings true for letting go and trusting the process, especially in my yoga practice.

When you step on the mat, allow your movements &breathing to let prana (life force) move through you. As the prana circulates through your body, it will burn through stored emotions, false-beliefs and fears/

This will happen naturally, so don’t try too hard or fret over the release or letting go of. Let yoga do you, literally and figuratively.

Off the mat:

What do you hold on to that causes suffering? What can you let go of in order to gain something new?

Physically – take inventory of extra stuff you’re holding onto and let it go. Donate it, give it to a friend, and just let it go.

You’ll start to notice that as you let go, life becomes simpler, easier and lighter. The same goes for our emotions too – take inventory, journal it down, and allow it to release.

See the remaining Yamas from The Journey Junkie here.

To Your Health And Wellness!

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