#yogasutrachallenge: The yamas are nonviolence, truthfulness, refrainment from stealing, moderation and renunciation of unnecessary possessions – Patanjali Book II Sutra 30
Here we go, we’re now 81 sutras in and we’re getting to the real meat and bones of what Patanjali suggests yoga practice should comprise. Most fundamentally, not perfecting your downward dog, but good old fashioned ethical values. Theses #yamas are kind of the yogic version of the 10 commandments, although they’re entirely optional – Patanjali just suggests the more we follow these the more peacefully and happily we’ll be able to live out our lives.
The levels we can take these extend well beyond the mat and beyond the obvious: Gandhi’s legacy is a famous example of the application of nonviolence (ahimsa) to full effect. Truthfulness (satya) to the self and others can have life-changing implications. Similarly, not stealing applies not simply to possessions but also people’s time and energy.
I’ve noticed in my own practice it’s well worth thinking these yamas through regularly, and actively searching out ways practicing these further might simplify your life or lead to more contentment.
Still, moderation is required and you should still be able to live your life to fulfill your life’s purpose (or dharma). Extreme examples such as not using paper as it harms trees go too far but cutting out/down on meat might be a simple way to introduce more nonviolence to your life, for example