Three thousand years ago it was realized by Buddha that the mind was the real cause of all our problems. In a collection of his sayings, known as Dhammapada, he said:
“We create our world with our thoughts, since we act and speak with an impure mind which later causes various troubles. Our thoughts create what we are and make our world. If your mind is pure the happiness will become inseparable part of your life”.
The same discovery was made two centuries ago, by Patanjali, a spiritual teacher from India. He set up a systematic process which could help people to overcome the mental distress. This is known as Yoga.
Most of the people believe that Yoga represents only a set of exercises or postures which improve the overall health. However, it is more than that. It is actually a complex philosophical system which leads towards thorough enlightenment.
Only few people are fully aware of its importance, since it is a kind of complex techniques which prepare the mind. Even if your are not seeking for liberation, Yoga exercises will make your life more joyful, your thinking more clear and it will bring serenity to your spirit.
In the following text we are going to present you the five principles of Yoga which according to Patanjali, they are known as Yamas and are part of the first Yoga limb.
1. Non-violence – Ahimsa
It does not only mean to refrain from hurting people and animals physically but it includes not causing any kind of suffering to other earthly beings as well. It also means you should stop making annoying comments and gossiping other people.
You should carefully and consciously think of the words you are going to say, the actions you are going to do and their impact on the people you are interacting with. The point is to choose words and actions that will not cause suffering.
You may not succeed every time, but your attempt and effort will also count.
2. Truthfulness – Satya
There are many instances when your words did not match your thoughts. For example, when your partner asks you how he/she looks in the new clothes which do not actually suit them, but instead of the truth you say something more comforting. Many times you have promised to call a person or to do something but you have easily forgotten about it or you just did not stick to the plan.
You always tell yourself that little lies make our lives better and do not hurt anyone. However, you must be aware that each lie you tell whatever harmless it seems to be, it actually negatively affects your whole being.
Every time you make a commitment stay truthful. If you are not able to obey what you have promised then be honest and tell the other person what is the real reason for that. In that way you will be considered more reliable and the powerful intent you are going to generate through this action will bring you many benefits.
3. Do not Steal – Asteya
This does not refer only to taking other people’s property. It means more than that. For instance, taking credits for the work done by someone else or stealing other people’s reputation. Many people return the extra change to a street vendor but they fail to return the extra $10 that the cash machine has dispensed.
The Universe will give you what does belong to you. That is why you should never take what is not yours.
4. Self-restraint – Brahmacharya
Most people relate this principle to celibacy. However, the point is not refraining from sexual activities at all. It actually refers to the ability to sublimate your drives.
It is impossible to restrain all your senses by force. Instead, you can direct them towards more productive activities. The creative achievements of all sculptors, artists and poets are result of the very same energy which they were able to harness pretty wisely.
5. Do not be mentally attached to anything – Aparigraha
Many people cling onto various things. For example, they always go to the very same restaurant since they had once tried a nice meal there or if someone comments on their neat handwriting they never miss an opportunity to show off.
This mental attachment is only a memory, something which has already gone. It prevents you from enjoying the present moment and the future ones as well.
If you examine your life and thoughts more carefully you will notice that you have so many mental attachments which are degrading your life to some extent. Bring this technique into practice in order to abandon the clinging. Your success does not have to be big to make a significant difference in your life.
Learning about Yoga Yamas principles and integrating them into your life will not only help you better understand what does Yoga really mean, but it will also make you spiritually more enlightened.