Over the last term, I’ve introduced the Yoga Sutras, a collection of ancients texts written around 2000 years ago. Yogic philosophers outlined the principal of Ashtanga or eight limbs, a step-by-step path for purifying the body and mind. The ultimate goal: to help practitioners cultivate a steady mind, leading to calm bliss.

The first two stops on the path, listed before asana, are the ethical principles that are supposed to guide how we relate to other people and how we take care of ourselves. They’re called the yamas (social restraints) and the niyamas (self-disciplines).

The five yamas ask us to avoid violence, lying, stealing, wasting energy, and possessiveness,

The fourth yama Brahmacharya translates as the concept of celibacy but can be applied to a more modern lifestyle as sustaining energy, and not depleting your vitality. The fifth, Aparigraha, translates to “non-possessiveness” or “non-grasping” and helps us detach from strong feelings such as jealousy.

We can think about them when we practice yoga: by not pushing ourselves too hard on the mat, by not envying what others do or how they look, and by being honest and true to ourselves.

You can read more about them on the Yoga Journal websitehttps://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/live-your-yoga-discover-yamas-niyamas