Niyama – Self control – Overview

School of Yoga explains niyamaself control – Overview

Niyama is the process of increasing our internal discipline and self-control. While yama is the process of harmonising our relationship with our environment, niyama is the practice of assimilating impact of stimulus with self-worth (asmita). So, niyama and yama increase harmony between our sense of self-worth (asmita) and awareness of the Self (jnana) within the stimuli-response cycle.

Consequently, awareness (pragnya) increases, which improves discrimination capability (vivekam) and dispassion (vairagyam) in decision making.


Niyama – awareness harmonising

School of Yoga explains Introduction to niyama:

Stimulus is first received through our senses (indriya) and collated by cognition (manas). Depending on the sensitivity of awareness (vijnana), the information is then compared with conditioning (dharma) by the intellect (buddhi) and a response is formulated by our sense of doer-ship (ahamkaara). 

The stimuli-response cycle impacts our sense of identity (asmita) which changes awareness of our Self (jnana). 

So, while yama is the process of harmonising our relationship with our environment, niyama is the practice of harmonising the stimulus with our Self.

School of Yoga explains niyama concept:

To achieve an integrated personality svatantra (sva = self + tantra = weave), one’s behaviour must be integrated with one’s conditioning. Moreover, this ability comprises of 2 parts – a harmonic relationship with the environment and harmony within.

Niyama means rules or laws for personal well-being and is the ability to achieve a harmony within the Self. Consequently, there is an increase in internal awareness, better assessment of impact of stimuli on one’s conditioning, leading to improved calmness in various situations and lower stress in both, the person and the environment. Consequently, this concept is the base of yama (our ability to transact with our environment).

Finally, the inward focus increases jnana (awareness of one’s identity), resulting in a harmonic integration of one’s conditioning with behaviour and an independent personality or svatantra.

School of Yoga – elements of niyama:

Hatha Yoga Pradeepika (Chapter 1)

(Ch1 v17) The 10 rules of Yama are – ahimsa (non-violence), satya (Truth), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharyam (sexual continence), kshama (forgiveness), drithi (self-control), daya (compassion), arjavam (frankness or being straightforward), mitahara (controlled diet), shoucham (cleanliness).

The 10 rules of Niyama are tapas (austerity), santosham (contentment),  aasthikyam (belief in the Vedas), danam (charity),  eeshwara-poojanam (prayer to God), siddhanta-vakyam (listening to spiritual teachings),  hrimathi (modesty), japo (japa), hutam (yagna or sacrifice) has been stated by Yoga shastra experts

Patanjali Yoga Sutra Chapter 2:

Ch2 v32 – Cleanliness, contentment, austerity, self study/ reflection, surrender to a God comprises niyama.

School of Yoga recommends:

Niyama has 6 elements: soucham (hygiene), santhosham (contentment), svadhyeyam (introspection), tapas (austerity),  shraddha (dedication), and daana (charity).

Points to ponder:

Internal Tags: Dharma (conditioning)Stress and Situational AwarenessStress and pranaAwareness measures, Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, Patanjali Yoga Sutra, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga.

External TagsConsciousness

  • How often do you reflect on your actions?
  • How does one exhibit the values espoused by niyama?
  • What is the difference between faith and surrender?
  • How does one experience contentment when not receiving just due?
Editor at School Of Yoga
School Of Yoga is a single point resource for all aspects of Classical Yoga practise. We try to achieve this by placing Yoga's traditional methodology in front of the reader and eliciting his or her experience. We value everyone's Yoga experience and would like you to share and enrich other practitioners so that everyone benefits.
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