The Ethics of Yoga

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– from the archives of the Yoga Teacher Training program-
If you are a YTT attendee, this is to be memorized.

This writing below has been taken and translated from the Ancient Yoga Text called the Yoga Sutra and has been written by the Sage Patanjli. Read on, as this has changed countless seekers lives, it may help guide you along as well.

“When a yogin becomes qualified by practicing Yama and Niyama, then the yogin can proceed to asana and the other means.”
– Yoga Bhashya Vivarana (II.29)

patanjali sutras

The Yama’s and Niyama’s are the ethical precepts set forth in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras as the first and second of the eight limbs of yoga.   They are the foundation of our practice without which no spiritual progress along the path of yoga can be made.


YAMA: Precepts of Social Discipline


Ahimsa — Non-violence. Ahimsa is first for we must practice it in all the other observance’s. Being non violent in our words is essential

Satya — Truthfulness. Living, thinking and speaking the truth.

Asteya — Non-stealing.   Not taking that which is not given.

Brahmacarya — Sexual responsibility. The spirit of this precept is conservation of energy for the purpose of spiritual practice.

Aparigraha — Abstention from greed. Not coveting that which is not ours.


NIYAMA: Individual internal Discipline


Sauca – Cleanliness.   Not only external cleanliness of the body, but attending to internal cleanliness such as avoiding the impurities of thought.   Moderation in diet is recommended.

Santosa – Contentment. Acceptance of the external situation we are allotted in this life. Believing all is as its meant to be.

Tapas – Austerity. Having an intense practice with religious fervor. Not giving up. Most commonly observed as taking on pain as a path to self transcendence. Pushing through the obstacles of the mind & body

Svadhyaya – Self-study.   Spiritual self-education.   Contemplation and application of the scriptures or sacred texts.

Isvara pranidhana – Surrender of the self to God. Making everything an offering to the Divine.

read more in our Yoga Teacher Training Manual