Yama and Niyama: Foundations for Spiritual Life
Yama and niyama are yogic precepts to guide our actions in the world, intended to assist in spiritual development. Yama consists of actions to avoid and niyama consists of observations which aid development. These principles were first codified by Patainjali over 2000 years ago.
This text explains the inner intent of each principal and clarifies the relevance of the practice of yama and niyama. Through these writings, one comes to understand the underlying inter-relatedness of each of these principals and how they build upon each other to form a deep and compassionate way of being in the world. This discussion of right action is universal and knowledge useful to spiritual life can be gained by all readers.
" The yogic disciplines of yama and niyama are very important in the life of a spiritual aspirant. They must be practiced if one is to attain sweet and subtle states of consciousness. Otherwise the mind is not prepared for these subtle influences of supreme love. The mind is rough like rough sand paper. It cannot appreciate the smoothness of the divine flow and, due to this roughness, that flow goes unnoticed. If one wants to be able to perceive this divine flow, to practice the disciplines of yama and niyama, the dos and don'ts of yogic life, is essential. For these do and don'ts of yogic life are the very substance of your spiritual practice. They are the base. Without them the other practices are impossible."