Niyamas & Yamas

Niyama (Practices, Observances)

Cleanliness (saucha)
Obvious: Purity of body and environment.
Subtle: Purity of consciousness/vibration.
Upon Mastery: Indifference to things of the body; no longer seeking pleasure physically.

Contentment (santosha)
Obvious and Subtle: Ability to embrace things just as they are.
Upon Mastery: Unceasing inner happiness, arid realization of bliss in every atom of creation and beyond creation.

Austerity (tapasya)
Obvious: Self-discipline, simplicity; removal of distractions.
Subtle: Mastery over likes and dislikes, attained in large part by not giving in to them.
Upon Mastery: Attainment of various psychic powers (siddh is).

Self-Study (swadhyaya)
Obvious and Subtle: Introspect objectively about our behavior, motivations, desires, etc.
Upon Mastery: Ability to commune with beings on higher spheres of existence and to receive their help.

Surrender (Isvara pranidhana)
Obvious and Subtle: Surrender of the self to God. Acknowledgement that there is a higher principle in the
universe than one’s own small self. Modesty. Humility.

Yama (Restrictions, Moral Restraints)

Non-Violence (ahimsa)
Obvious Sense: Never to harm or demean any living thing.
Subtle Sense: Overcome tendency to wish harm in any way, e.g., judging others.
Upon Mastery: All creatures become harmless in your presence.

Truthfulness (satya, which also means “truth”)
Obvious: Always be truthful; never say what isn’t so with intent to deceive.
Subtle: Never wish things were different from what they are; absolute self-honesty; cling to highest truths.
Upon Mastery: Whatever one says will come true.

Non-Stealing (ashteya)
Obvious: Don’t take that which is not yours; material things.
Subtle: Never desire that which isn’t yours, even praise or status or love; never gossip (i.e., try to steal another’s good name); see everything as a part of your greater Self.
Upon Mastery: Whatever you need comes to you when you need it.

Non-Sensuality (brahmacharya, lit. “flowing with Brahma”)
Obvious: Overindulgence in sense pleasures of all types.
Subtle: Interiorizing the senses; learning to enjoy God in everything.
Upon Mastery: Mental clarity and great physical strength; good health on all levels.

Non-Greed (aparigraha)
Obvious: Letting go of all attachments, even to things that are yours by right.
Subtle: Non-attachment even to your own body and identity.
Upon Mastery: Ability to remember former incarnations.