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70Yoga Sutra 2.32: Five Niyamas or observances, practices of self-training

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Aug 2, 2006
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      Yoga Sutra 2.32
      FIVE YAMAS NIYAMAS OR OBSERVANCES, PRACTICES OF SELF-TRAINING
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23034.htm#2.32

      YOGA SUTRA 2.32:

      Cleanliness and purity of body and mind (shaucha), an attitude of
      contentment (santosha), ascesis or training of the senses (tapas),
      self-study and reflection on sacred words (svadhyaya), and an
      attitude of letting go into one's source (ishvarapranidhana) are the
      observances or practices of self-training (niyamas), and are the
      second rung on the ladder of Yoga.
      (shaucha santosha tapah svadhyaya ishvarapranidhana niyamah)

      shaucha = purity of body and mind
      santosha = contentment
      tapah = training the senses, austerities, ascesis
      svadhyaya = self-study, reflection on sacred words
      ishvara = creative source, causal field, God, supreme Guru or teacher
      pranidhana = practicing the presence, dedication, devotion, surrender
      of fruits of practice
      niyamah = observances or practices of self-training

      THE FIVE NIYAMAS:

      The five Niyamas are the observances or practices of self-training,
      and deal with our personal, inner world:

      SHAUCHA: purity of body and mind (2.40, 2.41)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.40

      SANTOSHA: contentment (2.42)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.42

      TAPAH: training the senses, austerities, ascesis (2.43)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.43

      SVADHYAYA: self-study, reflection on sacred words (2.44)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.44

      ISHVARA PRANIDHANA: surrender; (ishvara = creative source, causal
      field, God, supreme Guru or teacher; pranidhana = practicing the
      presence, dedication, devotion, surrender of fruits of practice)
      (2.45)
      http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-23545.htm#2.45

      TRAINING BODY, MIND AND SENSES:

      It should be self evident that having a healthy body, clear mind, and
      regulated senses is necessary if we wish to sit for meditation and
      experience the depths of Self-realization. The five Niyamas are a
      means for self-training in relation to body, senses, and mind.

      ACTIONS, SPEECH, AND THOUGHTS:

      It is easy to mistakenly lump these three together, as if they are
      one concept. Actually, they are three separate practices, which work
      together intimately. To cultivate self-awareness or mindfulness of
      actions, speech, and thoughts as separate entities is very important.
      Witness your actions as an independent practice, though related to
      the others. Witness your speech as an independent practice, though
      related to the others. Witness your thoughts as an independent
      practice, though related to the others.

      ACTIONS:

      At the same time that one is aware of actions in the external world
      through practicing the Yamas, he or she also becomes aware of the
      personal, inner processes related to body, senses, and mind, by
      practice awareness of the Niyamas. By mindfulness and self-awareness,
      you see when your actions are contrary to the Niyamas (as well as the
      Yamas), and you can counter that by noting that the action is not
      useful (2.33, 2.34), and acting more in line with the Niyamas.

      SPEECH:

      Through similar mindfulness and self-awareness of speech in relation
      to the Niyamas, you see when your speech is contrary to the Niyamas.
      This can also be countered that by noting that the speech is not
      useful (2.33, 2.34), and speaking more in line with the goals of the
      Niyamas.

      THOUGHTS:

      The subtlest level of self-awareness and self-regulation is that of
      thought in the inner world. Each of the Niyamas are consciously
      practiced at the level of thought. By mindfulness and self-awareness,
      you see when your thoughts are contrary to the Niyamas, and you can
      counter that by noting that the thought is not useful (2.33, 2.34),
      and promoting positive thoughts that are more in line with the
      Niyamas. See the sections of the article Seven Skills to Cultivate
      for Meditation, which deal with the witnessing and training the
      thinking process.
      http://www.swamij.com/sevenskills.htm

      COLORING OR KLISHTA:

      It is extremely important to understand the subtler context of the
      coloring (klishta, 2.3, 2.4) involved with the Niyamas. What is
      ultimately most important is the coloring or klishta qualities of the
      subtle mental traces, or samskaras in the karmashaya (2.12), as these
      form the veil (1.4) that blocks the direct experience of the center
      of consciousness (1.3). It is not that "I am" an impure body,
      cluttered mind, or a sensory addict, etc. Rather, it is the thought
      patterns deep in the basement of the mind (chitta), which have been
      colored in some way (2.4), which in turn affect the body, mental
      processing, and the sensory attractions and aversions. These
      colorings are dealt with in their gross (2.1-2.9) and subtle (2.10-
      2.11) levels.
      http://www.swamij.com/koshas.htm
      http://www.swamij.com/fourfunctionsmind.htm
      http://www.swamij.com/klishta-aklishta.htm

      SENSES AND MIND:

      To understand not only the gross, but also the subtle aspects of self-
      training through the Niyamas, it is necessary to also understand the
      nature of the senses and mind in Yoga:

      1) SENSES: The senses (indriyas) are of 10 kinds, five of which are
      means of expression (karmendriyas), and five of which are means of
      cognition (jnanendriyas). These are explained in the article on
      Training the Ten Senses or Indriyas.
      http://www.swamij.com/indriyas.htm

      2) MIND: The mind (manas) as thinking instrument is one of the four
      aspects of the inner mental instrument (antakarana). This is
      described in the article on Coordinating the Four Functions of Mind.
      http://www.swamij.com/fourfunctionsmind.htm

      WITNESSING YOUR THOUGHTS: A separate article describes in greater
      detail the process of Witnessing Your Thoughts. It may seem
      complicated at first, but there is a basic simplicity that will
      reveal itself with practice. The benefits for advancing in meditation
      are tremendous.
      http://www.swamij.com/witnessing.htm

      FOUNDATION FOR MEDITATION: The more you have lovingly trained
      yourself through the Niyamas, then the more naturally will come the
      other steps to meditation and higher experience. The meditation can
      then, in turn, enhance the way you relate with the world and with
      yourself. In this way, all of the rungs, or limbs of Yoga work
      together.