This post is the second in my Yoga Philosophy 101 series. Make sure you catch my first post on the Yamas too.
The Niyamas are the second limb of Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga. Niyama is a Sanskrit word which translates as ‘observances’, and they are primarily our attitudes to our inner world, to ourselves. Through the niyamas, we are seeking internal and personal harmony.
The niyamas aren’t difficult to understand, but they can be challenging to put into practice. I have given you a personal challenge for each niyama below. You might try one a day, one a week or, maybe, one a month.
Saucha – Cleanliness/Purity
Keeping our mind spick and span is just as important (maybe more so!) as keeping our physical surroundings tidy and clean. One of the ways we can do this is by editing what information we have coming in: What we watch, read, listen to. And who we talk to, follow or like on social media.
Your challenge is to do a big clean up of your daily habits of consuming impure content as it has a compounding negative effect on your mind. You’ll feel SO good afterwards!
Santosha – Contentment
A great way to be present and find happiness in the now is to turn to gratitude.
Turn to a blank page in your journal or open up a new document on your computer. Write down every little and big thing you are thankful for today. Be specific and write down why you’re feeling grateful – this will amplify your gratitude! Another meaningful practice is the moment your feet touch the earth each morning let it be a gentle reminder to think of three things you are grateful for. What a beautiful start to the day!
Tapas – Self-Discipline/Devotion
It’s easy to do the things we love or enjoy. It’s not so easy to do the things we know are good for us, but don’t enjoy.
Your challenge is to tick off an item on your #higherself list. It might be booking a dentist appointment, getting to bed before 10 pm (so you’re ready and raring to go for 6am yoga!), following up overdue invoices or sticking to your daily meditation goal.
Syadhyaya – Self Awareness/Study of Scripture
In a world where we give the ‘outer’ greater importance than the ‘inner’, we can often forget to look within. But within us, we have innate, built-in wisdom!
If you find it difficult to tap into your internal intelligence, I challenge you to slow down and simply watch your breath. Notice the energy in your body, start to become aware of the fluctuations in your energy andmood in different situations and times of day. You’ll start to notice what resonates and what doesn’t. You could also pick up a yoga philosophy book or read another post just like this one to get the ball rolling within.
Isvara Pranidhana – Surrender/Offer
Sometimes translated as faith, Isvara Pranidhana can be about belief in a god, goddess or the Universe. It can also be faith in oneself.
Your challenge is to surrender an outcome to the Universe/Source, let go of your expectations of ‘how’ and focus on co-creation (it’s not all up to you!).
“Change is inevitable, progress is optional.”
I want to know if you take up any of my yogic challenges? Let me know over on Instagram.