The word “Niyama” means observance

 A Niyama yoga practice can help you develop inner strength and self-discipline. It also helps you maintain a positive environment in which to expand and nurture yourself in your yoga practice.

In order to cultivate more self-confidence and happiness, you can use the five niyamas in your practice every day. RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU

Take a look at the brief definitions of the five niyamas that will help you accomplish a deeper and more tranquil state of meditation and stronger yoga practice:

i) Shaucha or Self-Purification

The foundation of bodily health and is really the purpose or intention of the entire system of yoga. Of course, it is important to eat healthy foods, however as the body becomes healthier, the mind becomes increasingly unblocked, free and strong.

ii) Santosha or Contentment

One of the best benefits from doing a regular yoga practice.  You become more accepting of life and feel simply more content.  As a result of feeling more content, happiness is achieved and joy is more easily experienced.

How do you feel more content?  Let go of the past and free your mind of expectations.

Enjoy the present moment and know that it is enough.  When you do this, you will find that happiness is in that present moment and whatever you desire for your future will simply add more joy to your life.  You can create whatever you desire and will be able to handle the imbalances that happen in life with calmness and composure.  Find alternatives to unhealthy habits.

Niyama_2iii) Tapas or Self-Discipline

The word tapas means ‘heat’ and that goes together with any discipline that brings about change whether it is a different direction, better health, a new habit or improved concentration.

Tapas help you increase strength through the asanas (yoga poses), ignite your passion and focus your energy on purifying the mind through meditation.  Take small steps in finding healthy habits that are for your highest good.

iv) Svadhyaya or Self-Study

Means to meditate, contemplate and remember the ‘self.’  It means knowing the deepest core of your being.

Spend some quiet time each day reading material that inspires your spirit.   

Then apply your self-study to your daily life through breath awareness, meditation and asanas in your yoga practice.  You will begin to recognize when you are in harmony with your goals.

v) Ishvara or Self-Surrender

For some, this is the most difficult part of the process – to surrender to God and give ourselves to a higher purpose, however keep in mind, it is not about surrendering to another person’s will or being defeated in any way.

At the end of your practice, focus your attention on your center of being. Notice and soften any tension, thoughts or feelings that distract you from concentrating.  Instead, enjoy the presence of inner stillness and rest in that stillness. By focusing on these five niyamas, you will be able to create a strong foundation for deeper stages of yoga. A yoga practice is a process and a journey that is unique to each and every one of us.  Do not worry about perfection and take it one step at a time.  Enjoy the process.   Namaste. Connect with Expert Sherry L. Granader.  

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