#yogasutrachallenge: The yamas (ethical considerations) are a great vow, universal irrespective of one’s place in society, location, time or circumstances – Patanjali Book II Sutra 31
Here Patanjali says very clearly that the great vow a yogi makes is to uphold the yamas of non-violence, truthfulness, refrainment from stealing, moderation and renunciation of unnecessary possessions at all times. In his view, these are not optional on the yogic path.
It’s interesting to think of the challenges this must have brought in times of war as yogis must have refrained from physical violence to defend themselves, or how a person born into a caste of, say, fishermen may have needed to renounce his family, occupation and place in society in order to pursue the yogic path. It’s interesting also how much smaller sacrifices than these such as practicing non-violence by becoming vegan seem such a challenge. For Patanjali, actively applying the yamas, no excuses, marks out someone who is actively seeking many of the more profound benefits of yoga, which ultimately offer greater reward than even a killer pair of leather boots 👢 (hard to believe but must be amazing!).