Discover some tips to practice the ethical values of Yoga (Yamas) in your daily life.
Although popularly known for its acrobatic postures, Yoga is a philosophy of life that goes beyond asanas . The ancient sages of India created a series of steps to follow in order to connect with the pristine and real dimension of "being". This is known as "the eight steps of Ashtanga Yoga", stipulated by the sage Patanjali.
The yamas are the first link. They define a series of principles of conduct, at an ethical and moral level, that every yogi must respect.
These principles are essential to advance on the spiritual path . They are universal, timeless and pragmatic.
They are also a good basis for creating a humane, supportive, tolerant and respectable society . They refine the behavior of the human being with the intention of elevating and ennobling it.
How can we use these precious values in our busy day to day?
It is no coincidence that the practice of Yoga has become popular in recent years. The stress and anxiety generated by a society of "doing without stopping" have caused it. Western education prioritizes production over cooperation, working over thinking, doing over being. This has generated a society devoid of human values, with an ego obsessed with work.
The ethical values of Yoga (yamas) come to recover the noble qualities that every human being possesses at birth. To awaken your heart again and live, like this, in union.
Ahimsa is the first principle that every yogi must follow. It means "non-violence" : living from unconditional love, practicing compassion and rejecting any type of aggression. This doesn't just apply to the actions we take; it should also be used in the thoughts we have or words we profess. The yogi must be very attentive and respond to any external stimulus from love and understanding . What does this mean? That one must avoid reacting impulsively, meditate on life, respond with kindness and not encourage criticism... When a grumpy boss speaks badly to us, we must be able to respond with kindness. Put ourselves in their role and understand that maybe something external to us has happened that has made them angry. When a person criticizes us or speaks out of anger, we must be able to breathe, calm down and speak neutrally. Another important factor of nonviolence lies in the internal dialogue of our lives. How do we talk to each other? Why do we punish ourselves? Will criticism make us change? Isn't it better to treat yourself with kindness? Making mistakes and rectifying is the first step to take . Practicing unconditional love is for eternity.
Satya is the second principle that one must respect. It means "truthfulness" : live honestly, without lying, or fleeing from reality. One must show himself as he is and learn to respect what another is. Manipulation is not used to dominate; it is spoken from the honesty to improve. You no longer hide your feelings and emotions; talk about them and seek to understand them. In everything one does, the truth must shine. And this can go against society. But one must persevere and be honest and transparent in everything one does . Many companies, like those of Slow Fashion , make this principle their most important pillar. NGOs also apply it. More and more young people are rebelling against their parents, out of love and respect for what they feel and do. In social networks, people with influence who no longer use filters are more common, who acclaim naturalness and spontaneity and live without pretending. Everything is a process: and one must be honest to know that being honest requires a long process .
Asteya is the third principle and means “ do not steal ”. This also means "not to covet the good of others". This value is very important, since it teaches us not to envy the other, also avoiding comparison and competition. When we talk about stealing, we are not only referring to material goods . It also applies to other areas: not stealing a person's reputation by criticizing them on the sly with another; not steal other's time with personal matters; not steal our partner's achievements and build our success on them. To practice asteya , the yogi should not consider himself superior to anyone, he should not feel that he has the right to dominate anyone and, above all, to possess someone. Partners, jobs or seconds of existence are not stolen: life is respected and cooperates with it.
Aparigraha is the fourth principle and means “ not to desire unnecessary goods ”. It is intimately linked with detachment . How can we apply it to a consumer society? Learning to discern what is necessary from what is unnecessary; what is vital from what is superficial. Do we really need that many pairs of shoes? Is it really necessary to suffer when we cannot acquire the latest Iphone? Is it really necessary to complain when a photograph does not reach the "likes" that my ego wants? Aparigraha teaches us to gradually detach ourselves from all the whims that imprison us: if I can't travel for a year, nothing happens. If one year I can't go outside normally, nothing happens. If one year I can't celebrate an important holiday, nothing happens. The yogi learns to adapt: accept and respect every moment .
Bramacharya is the fifth yama and means “ sexual mastery ”. Learning to manage sexual energy is essential: it helps us develop creativity in order to build beauty and be purity. This value must be delicately transmitted to the new generation: elevate the meaning of the sexual act and show it as an opportunity to awaken. Stop considering it as a source of pleasure; show it as a moment to be. To connect unconditionally and presently with the other. To create life and respect life . Bramacharya is very important: it teaches us to create art. On a practical level, one can take great care in preparing for the moment. Stop having sex to “be and make love”. Avoid automatism and celebrate it as something divine. There are no longer merely sensual games, but an exchange between two sensational souls.
The practice of the Yamas requires patience and perseverance . Re-educating the mind to behave differently takes time: values must be applied from the beginning. Only from love, honesty, detachment, respect for the rhythms of time and creativity can one grow and evolve. One can practice the Yamas for real.