Yama is the first of eight limbs of yogic practice which means the MORAL CODE OF CONDUCT or SELF CONTROL that a practitioner of yoga has to follow to attain the yogic climax in the practice. Yama is a group of five external disciplines that a yogi practices to keep him/herself under self-control while walking the yogic path. These five yamas are: Satya (truthfulness), Ahimsa (non-violence), Asteya (honesty), Aparigraha (non-possessiveness), and Brahmacharya (celibacy).
SATYA translates as the truth and the first of the five yamas is Satya which is very important requirement for yogis to practice. Speaking the truth and staying always in the state of truthfulness keeps one’s mind pure form which brings harmony in our inner expressions and experiences. As Satya is the manifest from within, it means the awareness of what is correct and true and the ability to express it.
AHIMSA translates as non-violence. And the Ahimsa in the Yamas talks about eliminating all the violent nature in our personality. Violence doesn’t only mean the harm to others in manifest form but violence can be done to oneself in many forms. Getting rid of all these violent nature from our personality and walking on the path of non-violence is Ahimsa and it is another important act of self-controlling in yoga practice.
ASTEYA translates as honesty and is the third yama that a yogi has to follow. Being honest to oneself and to others is the main aim of practicing Asteya. Because of many distracting strings attached to our mind, we may not always be able to stay honest with ourselves and others but the practice of Asteya gives us the ability to stay honest, simple and sincere.
APARIGRAHA translates as non-possessiveness or non-attachment. The sense of attachment or possessiveness is a big hindrance to one’s satisfaction and happiness. If the sense of possessiveness creates the ego in us, it makes us selfish and selfishness leads to many other unwanted directions. So, Aparigraha teaches us to rise above all the things that hold us down.
BRAHMACHARYA translates as celibacy and is the fifth yama. Although it translates as celibacy, it means the ‘awareness of higher consciousness’ and higher consciousness is definitely not sensual. So, this yama does not essentially talk only about abstaining from sensual reality rather it talks about establishing connection with the higher awareness.
These five yamas as the first limb yoga teach a yogi to have self-control and move ahead in the path of yogic journey spreading yogic vibes around.