The Niyamas: The Second Limb of Yoga

Continuing our journey through the Eight Limbs of Yoga into the Niyamas. You can think of the Niyamas as the practices around the self.

Yamas are concerned with the outside world and how we interact with it, and Niyamas can be thought of as our inside world and how we interact with our inner selfs.

The Niyamas are quite nuanced. Each person's practice and experience is multifaceted, and there are many different ways to practice each of these Niyamas. This is because we are working with our own internal worlds and each person's inner world and experience is different.

There are 5 Niyamas:

Saucha (cleanliness)

Santosha (contentment)

Tapas (discipline)

Svadhyaya (self study)

Isvara Pranidhana (surrender)


Sanskrit often has literal and metaphorical translations, and Saucha is a really good example of this. It's pretty self explanatory that cleanliness is important as a human to keep healthy and well.

Cleanliness also has a bit of a ritualised element and many yoga practitioners use cleanliness and bathing as part of their pre and post practice ritual. Personally, I clean my hands before and after teaching, I shower after teaching a class (if I have time) and put clean clothes on before I teach each and every class, never teaching in the same clothes all day.

Sascha also refers to cleanliness of mind - noticing habits or things in your life that don't serve you, the things that don't make you feel great and making moves to remove those things, and lessen their impact.