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Niyama

Niyama

[nee-yuh-muh]
Niyama (Sanskrit: नियम) is a set of behaviors codified as "the observances" in numerous scriptures including the Shandilya and Varuha Upanishads, Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Gorakshanatha, the Tirumantiram of Tirumular and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. All the above texts list ten Niyamas, with the exception of Patanjali's work, which lists only five. They comprise the "shall-do" in our dealings with the inner world, and Swami Vivekananda describes them as the second step of Raja yoga (Sanskrit: राज योग).

The ten traditional Niyamas are:

  1. Hri: remorse, being modest and showing shame for misdeeds;
  2. Santosha: contentment; being satisfied with the resources at hand - therefore not desiring more;
  3. Dana: giving, without thought of reward;
  4. Astikya: faith, believing firmly in the teacher, the teachings and the path to enlightenment;
  5. Ishvarapujana: worship of the Lord, the cultivation of devotion through daily worship and meditation, the return to the source;
  6. Siddhanta shravana: scriptural listening, studying the teachings and listening to the wise of one's lineage;
  7. Mati: cognition, developing a spiritual will and intellect with the guru's guidance;
  8. Vrata: sacred vows, fulfilling religious vows, rules and observances faithfully;
  9. Japa: recitation, chanting mantras daily;
  10. Tapas: the endurance of the opposites; hunger and thirst, heat and cold, standing and sitting etc.

In Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, the Niyamas are the second limb of the eight limbs of Raja Yoga.
They are found in the Sadhana Pada Verse 32 as:

  1. Shaucha: in the traditional codification, this item is listed under Yamas; this word means purity.
  2. Santosha: contentment.
  3. Tapas: austerity.
  4. Svadhyaya: self-study or study of spiritual scriptures.
  5. Ishvarapranidhana: self-surrender.

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