Known as the “self disciplines” in a yoga practice, the niyamas and their philosophical counterparts, the yamas, are often talked about in yoga circles. But, when it comes to applying them in your personal life, that’s where the real practice of yoga comes in. Just like learning new poses on the mat or new ways to breathe, incorporating the niyamas in your day-to-day life isn’t always easy, but the reward that comes with discipline and dedication is huge.
Below are some ideas for getting started using the niyamas as you navigate life. While it can be tempting to tackle everything at once, I’ve found that choosing one thing at a time can be helpful.
Saucha (Self-Purification). You can also think of saucha as “cleanliness,” which can give you inspiration to keep both where you live and your body clean. No, you won’t be perfect, but it’s a good reminder of the importance of eating clean and taking care of your space.
Santosha (Contentment). It’s super easy to get ahead of yourself, but it’s also just as detrimental to your life to get too caught up in the past. Practicing santosha in your day-to-day life is learning how to live in the present and accepting where you are right now.
Tapas (Self-Discipline). Your yoga practice is a great place to work on this niyama. Can you show up even when you don’t want to? Can you get out of bed even when it feels too early? And, once your practicing, can you commit to staying in poses and challenging yourself when it’s appropriate?
Svadhyaya (Self-Study). Journaling and meditation are two powerful ways to bring more of this niyama into your daily life. Practicing svadhyaya requires you to make space to observe. It’s intensified when you add your practice of santosha and tapas to it, too.
Ishvara Pranidhana (Surrender). Whether you believe in God, the universe, or another higher being or power, Ishvara Pranidhana asks you to “let go” and trust. Practicing devotion every day, in the form of your thoughts, actions, etc., is a great way to incorporate this more and more into your life.
Are you working on any of the niyamas in your life right now? What are you finding effective or helpful in order to stay focused? Share below!