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Gaurav teaching Yoga philosophy: yamas and niyamas

Yamas and Niyamas

Yamas en Niyams; it sounds like an Indian dish, but no it isn’t palak paneer, dal fry or thali. The bible has the ten commandments, yoga has the yamas and niyamas; the do’s and don’ts. The explanation behind it is simple: the only way we can reach enlightenment is when our soul is pure. Impure men and women will – when they walk the path of yoga – be confronted with their consciousness. Before we can start doing yoga asanas and meditation we have to purify our soul by following the yamas and niyamas.


The yamas encourage us to live in peace with ourselves and the people and animals around us. To be clear: yoga doesn’t restrict you in anything. You can do whatever you want. The yamas and niyamas are more advises you can follow, if you agree with them.

There are five advises of restraints:

  • Ahimsa: no violence; as well physical as verbal, directly and indirectly (giving an order to use violence is the same as using violence).
  • Satyam: always speak the truth and respect it when people tell you the truth.
  • Asteya: don’t steal, be honest.
  • Brahmacharya: control your senses and your sexual energy. (Yes you can have sex, but sex out of love, not with people you don’t care about but you’re looking for a way to solve your hornyness.)
  • Aparigraha: don’t look for happiness in acquiring things, in material goods, look for happiness within.


The niyamas help us to discover the true you. There are five as well:

  • Saucha: cleanness; be a pure person: as well spiritual as well physical. A pure soul lives in a clean body.
  • Santosha: be content, happy with who you are and what you have. Don’t compare yourself to others. Everybody is unique.
  • Tapas: be passionate in what you do, show compassion towards yourselves and others.
  • Swadhyaya: Study yourselves. Why do you act the way you act? Study the holy books.
  • Pranidhana: Trust the divine and act for the good of all mankind, of mother earth. We are all part of the big picture, we are not on our one. There is no ‘you’ there is just everything and you are part of everything; of the divine.

The yamas and niyamas make us human. Only when we are human, we can become a yogi.


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