Yama and Niyama are the first two steps in the 8 part yoga system of Patanjali.
Yama dharmaraja is the controller. The son of Surya and Sandhya. The brother of Yami. The father of dharmaraja, yudhisThira.
He is the dEva of dharma, that which is to be borne, ethics, rightness, fairness and all that is lawful and good.
Sometimes he is also regarded as death, mRtyu and time, kAla. Sometimes they are regarded separately. In the popular folklore, he is the one who metes out reward and punishments based on what you have done in your life, as per record maintained in citragupta’s magic book.
He is quoted in the vEdAs and dharmas’AstrAs on many points of law and ethics.
Your first step in yOga is Yama or Control or Restraint.
If you think, I will not watch tv today. Or I will not eat animals today. Or I will not drink coco-cola today – then you are practicing yama.
Pick a bad habit you have and practice control on that issue.
You can also pick something like – I will not give or accept bribes. I will not lie on my time-sheet. Or I will not tell a lie. Or I will not eat after sunset. Or I will not criticise my friends.
Give up a bad thing. That is yama.
Niyama is a principle. A thing you will do.
I will tell the truth. Or I will keep the kitchen clean. Or I will eat once a day. Or I will speak only sanskrit for 5 days. Or I will chant Rama’s name. I will wake before dawn. I will walk everyday.
Live by a good rule. That is niyama.
Satya Sarada Kandula.
What yama and niyama do you practice?