Yoga – Yama

Yoga – Yama

Yoga - Yama

Yoga is universal. It can be practiced by anyone seeking spiritual realization. Western culture would be very skeptical about the concept of realizing and experiencing God. However, in India, yogis for generations have become enlightened, and their experience proves the power of yoga.

If achieving even small targets in our daily life is enormously challenging, finding God Himself is not a cakewalk. It requires one to be pure of mind and heart. Such purity is attained by years of discipline and meditation. 

Yama refers to the most basic principles that one should follow. Yama, therefore, refers to the foundation of yoga. Adhering to these principles at all times is a must. 

If you are spiritually advanced, Yama would most likely be a part of your life already. But for beginners, even though these principles seem to be very basic, these are not easy to adhere to. 

Let us see what these five principles are:


Ahimsa or not hurting any creature, including oneself, intentionally. One should not hurt another physically, verbally, emotionally, or even by using thoughts. There is no way to attain peace by hurting others or even oneself. It is impossible to ensure that we do not hurt any living creature. For example, we might kill many small creatures while walking over grass, but that is almost always unintentional.

Therefore, one ought to be pragmatic. Ahimsa includes avoiding any verbal assault as well. The wounds caused by harsh words are hard to heal. And, one can observe complete Ahimsa by avoiding even the thoughts of hurting. 


Satya or truthfulness. One should be truthful from the bottom of one’s heart. It is better to avoid even thinking of lying. If you are on the path of finding the Ultimate Truth, God, you cannot afford to harbor an iota of lies within yourself. 

We lie about so many things and lie even to ourselves many times in modern life. If speaking the truth can be hurtful, it is better to avoid speaking at all rather than being untruthful. 


Asteya means not stealing. That means not taking anything that does not belong to or is given to oneself. If you are truthful to yourself, you would not be complicit or enabler in stealing anything of any value. Using someone else to steal for you is bad too.

Now, most people do not steal things. However, Asteya refers to not stealing anything, like even someone else’s time, for your benefit.


Brahmacharya is the complete abstinence of sensual pleasures or maintaining purity and moderation in a marital relationship. The aim here is to conserve and channel the energy towards attaining calmness of mind. Abstinence is not easy. Therefore yogis encourage moderation and complete fidelity instead of complete abstinence, at least for beginners.


Aparigraha means not desiring any worldly material or pleasures. Instead, a yogi retains only the necessities for survival. Aparigraha does not mean giving up the world, but it means not being desirous. Desires can make one steal or be dishonest and sometimes even hurtful.

One might think Yama would complicate living even more than it is already today. But, on the contrary, adopting Yama simplifies life and makes it joyful as the mind and heart become purer.