Niyama Description and how to Follow Niyamas practically in Daily Life
Niyama is the second anga of Ashtanga Yoga. These are the Internal Disciplines as defined in Patanjali's 8 Limbs of Yoga. The English translation of the Sanskrit word Niyama is a set of Rules. Niyama in 8 Limbs of Yoga impart Internal Strength to the Practitioner. Thus these are the ways to get a healthy mind as it is very important to have one because your mind creates a world around you. Yama and Niyama are the very useful tools for successful practice of popular Limbs of Yoga i.e. Meditation, Asana and Pranayama.
The five pillars on which Niyama are based includes Shaucha, Santosha, Tapa, Swadhyaya and Ishwerpranidhana. These pillars check any impurities, may it be thoughts or behavior, to enter inside and thus keep Mind, Body and Soul clean and pure. These five limbs thus improve internal self and potential of practitioners.
Shaucha suggests to have Cleanliness and Purity in Life. It not only means a pure and clean body but also to have cleanliness in thoughts, speech and conduct. In Hinduism a Pure Heart heart is considered as a Temple or God's Home. To achieve this Purity there must be a harmony in what you think, what you say and what you do.
Maharshi Manu in his Manu Smriti said that the body is purified by water, Mind by Truth and the Soul is purified by Knowledge and Tapa. Thus the first pillar of Niyama in 8 Limbs of Yoga concentrates on Purity of Body, Mind and Soul. This cleanliness also helps to get the Body, Mind and Soul in Harmony.
It is a bit difficult to control thoughts as the frequency of thoughts is very high. Researches tell that we get several thousand thoughts in a day. But with proper conduct we can redirect our mind to purity and positivity. Checking thoughts is impossible but redirecting is achievable as well as easy with practice.
Santosha refers to an eternal feeling of Satisfaction within. It demands to break the feelings of Greed. This greed brings violence, anger, and lots of unwanted stress in life. A Yogi therefore is recommended to have sheer feeling of satisfaction in order to avoid these evils and have a peaceful mind.
In Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta Yogesh Shri Krishna said to do Karma and leave the outcome to God Himself. When you do Karma for fruit of it you get attachments. But when you do Karma without greed your Karma becomes pure and an act of worship. When Karma is pure one attains satisfaction easily and effortlessly.
It must be noted here that foregoing of Karma is not Santosha. Karma is necessity of Life and one cannot relinquish Karma. But attachment to the Karma is an enemy and it should be avoided.
Tapa is an extreme type of Karma. It means to perform Karma with full Capability and develop unbreakable Tolerance. Tapa tells us to face, fight and defeat all the difficulties in Life with full Potential. It doesn't essentially mean to go to some mountain range and do extreme sadhana. Performing Karma with purity in heart is a Sadhana in itself.
Tapa demands one to become a Sthitpragya. Shri Krishna in Shrimad Bhagwad Geeta mentions Sthitpragya as the one who's similar in happiness and sorrow. He controlls his senses. Success and Failure can't affect him. He performs Karma as Sadhana or Yajna.
Tapa is an act when the Yogi refuses to get distracted by the surroundings. As researches say a common man spends his life with 10% action and 90% reactions. By practicing Tapa the practitioner can improve this action to reaction ratio by several folds. Thus he can increase his efficiency and improve the quality of Life.
The Sanskrit word Swadhyaya translates to Self Study in English. In Hinduism it is considered as the Study of Vedas. Vedas are the knowledge base for Humanity. The broader meaning of Swadhyaya is to have knowledge of self or self inspection. Being aware of own pro's and con's is also Swadhyaya.
Though Gyan is a versatile different people interpret it differently. Several Gurus see and teach the same thing differently. As in English Dictionary a single word 'Set' has 430 different meanings. It is the condition that defines it's true meaning. Similarly Gyan can be interpreted in an ample number of ways, thus Maharshi Patanjali has emphasized on Swadhyaya and get the Gyan by Self Study.
Your Karma gives you experience and this is the most practical way to get Knowledge. Analyzing your Karma your capabilities, strength and weakness is another aspect of Swadhyaya. It is also referred to as Enlightment as in case of Gautama Buddha sitting under a peepal tree. It is an extreme of Swadhyaya not recommended and not practical for the common people.
Ishwerpranidhana literally means to render everything to God. The practice is to Perform Karma in order to serve God. Helping the needy, poor, disabled is also equivalent to serving God. It must be remebered that Happiness has it's most beautiful taste in Giving. Sharing of your Resources with others is another aspect of Ishwerpranidhana.
The Crux of Ishwerpranidhana is in knowing that this World is created by God. Everything we possess is God's entity. It demands not be discouraged of losing something or not to have vainglory on anything you achieve. Both success and failure must be accepted as God's Prasada.
Ishwerpranidhana brings Gratitude in Life. Gratitude is the best practice to achieve the biggest of the Goals in the world. It also makes you humble and eradicates egoism. The eradication of Ego is another step closer towards the Almighty God.
The Niyama in 8 Limbs of Yoga are the Internal Discipline or the set of protocols for a Yogi. The practice of Niyama is very important for Purity of Mind, Body and Soul. It makes the practitioner internally strong. This is an important practice as the world manifests Inside Out. Shaucha brings Cleanliness of thoughts. Santosha checks the feeling of Greed. Tapa improves internal capability and efficiency. Swadhyaya gets you Knowledge. Ishwerpranidhana introduces Gratitude in Life.
This second Limb of Panjali's 8 Limbs of Yoga prepares you for the mighty Limb of Ashtanga Yoga, Meditation. It becomes easier to meditate when you are strong internally. When you are internally strong the strength and frequency of disturbing thoughts decreases thereby making Ashtanga Yoga or Meditation successful.