The Five Yamas of Yoga

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In our last blog we touched on the topic of the philosophy of yoga. In this blog we want to go over the five yamas of yoga, the basic philosophy that we yogis try to live by.

What is a Yama?

A yama is the moral, ethical and societal guidelines for the practicing yogi. They simply act as guidelines for a how a practicing yogi might better relate to the world.


Ahimsa, or non-harming, is the practice of being non-violent. This includes, injuring, harming and even killing. Ahimsa is the highest ranking yama. As you go deeper into ahimsa, you start to realize that other’s inner self is the same as your own and you don’t want to see harm come to any living thing. It is good to practice being kind and accepting and most importantly, forgiving, both yourself and others.


Satya, or truthfulness, means that you see and report things as they are instead of the way we want them to be. This means that you understand your fears, thoughts, speech and actions. We practice this by not lying, speaking with kindness and compassion.


Asteya, or non-stealing, is the third yama and doesn’t only mean tangible objects. When we say stealing, we also mean intangibles like information and emotional favors. Yogis believe that stealing comes from a place of unhappiness, being incomplete or envy. We can curb that by practicing giving.


The fourth yama means to balance and supervise the senses. You want to be free from the dependencies and craving that life throws at you. By doing this you can gain inner joy. Choosing the right books and movies to see, having the right people in your life, and staying committed and faithful to one partner are all parts of brahmacharya.


The final yama is the practice of non-possessiveness. If we are holding on to things, then we have the power to be possessed. We must learn to use things as they come to us and enjoy them without becoming dependent on them. Practice this yama by examining your tendencies toward possessiveness. Look at how you acquire things and how you treat them.
To be a true yogi, practicing the five yama is a great thing. It helps you reexamine your life and what is truly necessary to be happy. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, Blue Ridge Yoga will help you get there. 

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