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A yama (Sanskrit), literally a "restraint", is a rule or code of conduct for living virtuously. The yamas comprise the "shall-nots" in our dealings with the external world.

Ten Yamas are codified as "the restraints" in numerous scriptures including the Shandilya and Varaha Upanishads, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Gorakshanatha, and the Tirumantiram of Tirumular. Patañjali lists only five yamas in his Yoga Sutras.

Ten Traditional yamasEdit

The ten traditional yamas are:[How to reference and link to summary or text]

  1. Ahimsa: abstinence from injury, harmlessness, the not causing of pain to any living creature in thought, word, or deed at any time. This is the "main" yama. The other nine are there in support of its accomplishment.
  2. Satya: truthfulness, word and thought in conformity with the facts.
  3. Asteya: non-stealing, non-coveting, non-entering into debt.
  4. Brahmacharya: divine conduct, continence, celibate when single, faithful when married.
  5. Kshama: patience, releasing time, functioning in the now.
  6. Dhriti: steadfastness, overcoming non-perseverance, fear, and indecision; seeing each task through to completion.
  7. Daya: compassion; conquering callous, cruel and insensitive feelings toward all beings.
  8. Arjava: honesty, straightforwardness, renouncing deception and wrongdoing.
  9. Mitahara: moderate appetite, neither eating too much nor to little; nor consuming meat, fish, shellfish, fowl or eggs.
  10. Shaucha: purity, avoidance of impurity in body, mind and speech. (Note: Patanjali's Yoga Sutras list Shaucha as the first of the Niyamas.)

Five yamas of PatañjaliEdit

In the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, the yamas are the first limb of the eight limbs of Raja Yoga.
They are found in the Sadhana Pada Verse 30 as:

  1. Ahimsa
  2. Satya
  3. Asteya
  4. Brahmacharya
  5. Aparigraha: absence of avariciousness, non-appropriation of things not one's own.
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