Updated: Jan 16
The yamas and the niyamas are the first two parts of the eight components of yoga discribed in the yoga sutra's written by Patanjali. When you start looking into the yamas and niyamas more, you will start to see how they are all connected to eachother and how they influence several parts of your life.
The yamas are guidelines regarding your interaction with the outside world. They sometimes also are called the five abstinences, which as a yogastudent are things you shouldn't do. The yamas are: ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacarya (chastity) and aparigraha (non-possessiveness/non-avarice).
The yamas make the first step on the eightfold yogapath and are appicable to everyone. There is no difference in social status or culture. They are guidelines for a peaceful life and a well-working society. The yamas are there to bring harmony into our lifes. And they do so by providing the guidelines regarding our relation and attitude towards the outside world. In life you will be in contact with the world around you no matter what. Whether is is humans, animals, plants our objects. All of these things will influence you but you will also influence everything you get in contact with, whether conscious or not. Any form of contact goes both ways. The yamas are there to make that contact as smooth and positive as possible.
You will notice that when you start to implement the yamas into your life it won't matter as much if someone else will do the same. When you try to live up to the yamas your attitude toward the outside world will change. Others will notice it sooner or later. When you are open and honest in your actions, when you are considerate of the world around you, other people will be more likely to copy that behaviour.
Did you ever notice that when you are in a good mood, it is infectious? Unfortunately the opposite is true aswell.
It won't be easy all the time but it is for sure possible to choose how you stand in life. The yamas can help with that. nonviolance in word and deed, only taking what is yours to take, using your (sexual)energie in the right ways and getting rid of the need to always want more than you need.
The niyamas are guidelines regarding you inner, spiritual world. The niyamas are also called the five disciplines, the things that are beneficial to do as a yogastudent. The niyamas are: shaucha (purity), santosha (contentment/gratitude), tapah (change/inner strength), savadyaya (self-reflection), ishvara pranidhana (surrendering).
The niyamas are the second step on the eightfold yogapath of Patanjali. The niyamas concern the research into your innerworld but also your view of the world. Eventually they will help you to get a more positive and content attitude towards life through practice and self-study.
The niyamas aren't about suppressing things you want to do but aren't allowed to do. That is a big difference between the niyamas and for example the commandments. These are guidelines that through self-study will help you to understand why something is not beneficial to you. They will help you to investigate how you can live more hamonious and aware.
All thoughts going on inside your mind and all words you speak have an influence on your mental wellbeing. Even the smallest ripple in the ocean has an effect. The energy of that ripple will continue farther and farther, in bigger and bigger circles untill it isn't noticeable anymore. Thoughts work the same way. Every thought, every word, does have an influence, however small. When there are a thon of ripples going all the same way, the current they create will get bigger and bigger, you might even get waves. Thought work just like that, a lot of negative thoughts or thoughts about the same desire will influence how you feel and how you stand in life.
That was it for today. Goodluck with the next steps on your bridge. I wish you all the happiness and an amazing day.